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Sisters of Today

Sister Marlene Dunn

Profiled in February 2008 (updated April 2013)marleen_dunn

At the end of 2005 I returned to live in Hastings, the place of my birth, childhood, education and working years.  ‘Coming Home’ has been a joyful time of reconnecting with family and friends and has evoked many significant memories.

I grew up in a ‘sporty’ environment, with racehorses and speedway bikes occupying our property which bordered on Ebbett Park.  Skating, athletics and basketball (now netball) were my interests, with Highland dancing being my ‘forte’.

My first contact with the Sisters of St Joseph began in Std 1 at St Joseph’s primary school and continued at St Joseph’s High School.  The Sisters provided thorough grounding in the basic subjects while instilling a deep sense of Catholic values.   I was an enthusiastic pupil for whom attaining academic excellence was a focus.

From 1957-1962 I worked as a stenographer at the local Department of Agriculture and for six months at Head Office in Wellington.  These were most enjoyable years, both work-wise and socially.  During this time the call to religious life became more insistent and I made the decision to ‘give it a go’, joining the Sisters of St Joseph in Whanganui in March 1963.

At First Profession of Vows in 1965 I received the religious name of Sr de Sales.   Being permitted to revert to my baptismal name in later years was a source of great joy.  My ministries over the last 40 plus years have included teaching at primary and secondary schools; formation of young women interested in religious life; pastoral work in parishes; hospice outreach to bereaved families; adult faith education; spiritual direction, retreat work; supervision, administration for the Sisters and voluntary community work.

I am presently Chaplain to the Hastings Returned Services Association, a funeral celebrant, and a member of the bereavement Group in Sacred Heart Parish.  I am still involved in spiritual direction, supervision and retreat work, and in pastoral care for the Sisters.

I am grateful for the many opportunities available to me as a Sr of St Joseph and for the love of the Sisters, my family and friends who have, and continue to do, support me on my ‘Josephite Journey’.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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