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Sisters of the Past

Sister Alberta - Marie Fischer

Profiled in April 2007  

10 April 1921 28 November 1958

 Marie Emma Fischer’s parents, Joseph Fischer and Josephine Odermatt, were Swiss hard working farming people. The father spoke English but the wife rarely went out and spoke very little English as German was the language of home. Marie was born on 10 April 1921 in Kaponga, Taranaki. An unfortunate incident of forgetfulness by the Parish priest meant Marie was not baptised until a few years later.

Marie used to help her father milk cows then don an oilskin coat and heavy shoes and make her way to Mass almost running. Sister Francesca Bourke, who lived locally, remembers her family picking up Marie and taking her to Mass. Every second Sunday, Mass was at 11am and Marie would be fasting from midnight. The Bourkes were never late and the parish priest often gave Marie communion when she arrived and the Mission Sisters next door had a cup of tea for her.

Marie confided in her Parish Priest the desire to become a religious. She approached the Mission Sisters and was turned down much to her disappointment. However, Marie kept religious life in her sights and later approached the Josephite Sisters. Mother Xavier contacted people who knew her. Mrs Bourke was one of them, and she assisted Marie in preparing to enter.

Marie entered the Sisters of St Joseph on 7 October 1944. She was professed on 20 January 1948. Taking the religious name of Alberta, she was recognised as a very prayerful person, as well as being intelligent and well-read. She worked in the kitchen at Sacred Heart Convent initially, and with two other young sisters cooked for about 80 boarders and 40 sisters.

Within 10 years of her entering religious life, Marie developed cancer. She remained in Feilding while undergoing treatment daily at Palmerston North hospital. However she deteriorated rapidly when the cancer went to the brain, and when it was finally discovered, she was close to death. She died on 28 November 1958 and was buried from Sacred Heart Chapel Whanganui. She is buried at Aramoho Cemetery.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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