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Sisters of Today

Sister Marie Hawkins

Profiled in March 2005 (Updated March 2013)Marie_Hawkins

I was born in Wanganui and baptised Marie, the eldest daughter of a family of four children, 3 girls and 1 boy.  I was educated at Holy Infancy School, Aramoho and later at St Mary's School, Grey Street.  My secondary education was at Sacred Heart College, Wanganui.  I count this as a great blessing to have been educated by the Sisters of St Joseph - women I came to love and admire.

On the 24 May, 1951, at the age of eighteen, I entered the Sisters of St Joseph of Nazareth, Wanganui, and took the name Sister Aquinas.  During the 4 years of formation at Mt. St. Joseph Novitiate, together with 16 other novices, I was thoroughly grounded in the ways of the spiritual life, participation in the liturgy of the Church, community prayer and ministry.  In those days the government did not permit Catholic Sisters entrance into Teachers' Training Colleges, therefore in order to obtain our Teachers' Certificate we studied all the required subjects through the Correspondence School and sat public examinations each August.

I taught in many of our primary schools throughout the North Island - Whanganui, Hastings, Waverley, Feilding, Otaki, Levin, Mairangi Bay and Waipawa.  I was principal at Plimmerton for three years.

In 1978 I became the principal's secretary at Sacred Heart College, Wanganui, a position I held for 9 years, and one which I loved.  I was then given the opportunity for spiritual renewal and further study in Sydney for 14 months.  This time away not only renewed me spiritually but also physically as well.  I returned to Wanganui and helped set up Josophia Craft Centre.

In 1992 I was asked to assist with the work of hospitality at 'Quiet Waters' in Mairangi Bay, Auckland.  These years taught me a great deal about the hardships being endured by many people.  We provided respite for people such as solo mothers, men and women who had recently lost their partner either through death or separation, and elderly women who were suffering from elder abuse.  There were also carers of chronically ill people who desperately needed time to relax and recoup their energies.

I moved back to Wanganui living in semi-retirement as well as acting as caregiver for one of our sisters.  I derive much pleasure in being a homemaker and in being able to pursue hobbies such as embroidery, reading and gardening.  Now I carry on these interests as a resident of Quinlan Court.  I am also one of a team of volunteers who work in the Sisters’ Archives each week.

Each day I thank God for calling me to religious life as a Sister of St Joseph and to be able to walk alongside women of great wisdom, who are not afraid to live justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with our God.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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