Waterford, Ireland is my home, but I spent most of my life in Auckland, New Zealand. It all started in 1954. One January evening, the Mercy Sisters in Waterford invited me to meet two visiting sisters from Auckland. I went along and greeted them. The sisters invited me to return to Auckland and to spend my life there in God’s service. I thought about it a lot and felt that God was calling me and asking me to go. Even before those sisters left Waterford, I accepted their invitation and promised to leave my home and family and go.
The following months were very difficult for me as my mother died suddenly and my father was upset at the idea of me leaving home. I felt that religious life was the only life for me and was delighted when my father gave me his blessing and wished me well. July 1st 1954 was the day I left Ireland forever. I knew that I would never return and felt dreadfully lonely.
The six week voyage on the ‘Rangatiki’ was an unusual time. I cried a lot and suffered severe seasickness, but also felt a sense of adventure and the excitement of going out into the unknown. It was a good feeling to be sacrificing my life for God.
On arrival in Auckland, I experienced a great sense of peace and of being ‘at home’. I never looked back and really enjoyed my life and work there. Primary school teaching and parish work were my main ministries. 1973 was a wonderful year as I came home for the first time to visit my family in Waterford. In 1998, I returned to live in Ireland after 44 years in New Zealand. God has blessed me abundantly and it was well worth taking the risk.