New Zealand : a Sister is celebrating 60 years of mission

We in New Zealand, recently had the privilege and joy of sharing in the celebration of 60 years of profession of Sr Veronica

Veronica made her First Profession in Clondalkin, Dublin, Ireland on 30 April 1952 and Final Vows in the Mother House in Paris on 28 April 1958. So it was fitting that we were able to celebrate with her on 28 April 2012 in Upper Hutt - where Veronica now lives and where she is still very active in ministry. It was great that all of us in NZ were able to be there for this celebration, and Michelle Carter was also home on leave from Malawi at that time. We were able to join in the usual Saturday Mass at the Mercy Sisters’ St Joseph’s Chapel where Veronica attends daily Mass – so the Mercy Sisters and some of the residents from the Mercy Villas were able to join us for the Mass. Fr Brian Wysocki SM, chaplain to Mercy Villas, celebrated the Mass and made it a very special celebration for Veronica and spoke of the value of religious life in today’s world.

Following the Mass, we LSAs moved on to a local restaurant for a beautiful meal – the management had been made aware of the significance of the occasion and they certainly pulled out all the stops. Fiona, an LSA lay companion was able to join us for this part of the celebration. After the meal we were able to spend the afternoon together just reminiscing on life over those 60 years.
 
Veronica came to New Zealand with Patricia Dolan in 1962 - having completed her Nursing and Midwifery training in Ireland. However, after some time in Dunedin working in the field of Home Nursing with families, Veronica moved to Petone and did Social Work training and was then asked to work with the Tokelauan people in Porirua, and she was instrumental in setting up the Polynesian Centre in Porirua. Returning to Dunedin in 1976, Veronica was again asked to set up a new initiative, this time in the field of Mental Health – setting up and working with GROW groups.
When Dunedin closed in 1990, she was asked to work in Pastoral Ministry in the Palmerston North diocese – running parishes that had no resident priest.
 
In Oct 2001, she chose to ‘retire’ to a flat owned by the Home of Compassion Sisters in Upper Hutt, but as Veronica says, she’s as busy as ever!! Since moving to Upper Hutt, she has been involved with Scripture and Meditation groups, and is in demand as a spiritual director and mentor, and also supports the young Mums group by cooking scones for their meeting each week.
 
Definitely a very full life in the service of God and of God’s people and worthy of celebrating 60 years of such service.

Sister Barbara, Petone
13/07/2012
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