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Sisters of the Past

Sister Annette - Rose Frances Keen

Profiled in August 2007

10 February 1914 7 August 1989

 Rose Frances Keen’s mother, Rosie Smolenski, was born of Polish parents who settled in Hokitika in 1876.  Rose’s father, Edward Herbert Keen worked on the railways, and the family moved around a good deal.  Her birthplace was Dunedin, where she was born on 10 February 1914.   She had four sisters, Edna, Mona, Agnes and Hilda, and two brothers, George and Raymond.

Rose entered the Sisters of St Joseph on 15 August 1934, and was professed on 13 July 1937, taking the religious name of Annette.  Her profession had been delayed because of ill health.  Initially she was involved in domestic work in the various communities she lived in, and came to teaching later in her life.  It was felt by many that this was quite a burden for her.  Ill health caused her to retire to Whanganui and then Levin, and during those years she proved a talented seamstress.

Annette was very kind, had a strong sense of justice, and readily went in to battle for any person she felt may have been getting a raw deal.  She was an alert person, intelligent and an avid reader, which made her a power of information on many subjects.  She was also very clever with her hands and a good cook.   Sisters remember her often getting lost in her work and forgetting the time.

Levin was where Sister Annette died on 7 August 1989, after 55 years of religious life.   Her funeral was held in the parish church of St Josephs, Levin, followed by her burial in the Aramoho Cemetery, Whanganui.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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