Eternal rest grant to her, O Lord.
May perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace.
We extend our prayerful sympathy to the Marist Sisters in Aotearoa-New Zealand and to Sr Margaret Therese’s family.The following eulogy was delivered at her funeral:
Margaret Therese was the fifth of the six children of Thomas and Esther Kerins born 1933. Her family lived on a farm near Masterton so Margaret attended the Fernbridge Primary School. She went further afield for her secondary education to the Brigidine Sisters at St Bride’s College Masterton. We hear that she was often commended there for her sewing and handcraft skills and these remained with throughout her life.
Her older sister, Noreen, entered our novitiate at Karori in 1947 and they had an aunt living in Karori so the Marist Sisters were familiar to Margaret – so much so that she decided to join them in 1954. The novitiate moved to Australia during this time so Margaret, now Sr Patrick, was professed in Sydney. A year after her profession she returned to New Zealand and in the years that followed she lived in all of our houses and even managed three short periods back in Sydney.
In Waitaruke and Herne Bay she was in charge of the boarders. Her time in Moerewa, our motor mission, provided an opportunity for parish visitation, while in Sydney and in Mt Albert she was caregiver for our elderly Sisters.
Our Congregation values ministry but realises that it needs to be supported by times of prayer and reflection, Margaret had several opportunities for such periods. The first of these included a time in Rome with a group of Marist Sisters. Margaret rejoiced especially in her visits to St Peter’s Basilica and many other historic places. From Rome she travelled to France to visit places associated with our Foundress and early Sisters. Margaret kept an account of each day to share later with the Sisters and her family. Meeting so many of our Sisters in England, France and Ireland was a real joy for her.
There was a further period of renewal that we shared several years later – this time in Sydney with religious of different Congregations. We took time to reflect on our vocation and its relevance.
Margaret’s last years were spent in Rotorua – twenty of those with Sr Mary who shared these insights on Margaret’s ministry and the person she had become. She stressed that Margaret was first and foremost a woman of prayer and it was this quality that supported all she did. She spent each morning visiting the housebound and those in rest homes and was truly devoted to each person she visited. Her ability to talk easily to everyone she met, including small children won her many friends in the community. She was a great communicator either in person or by telephone to the Sisters, her family and her friends. The garden surrounding the Rotorua house was a tribute to her untiring efforts and it was greatly admired. There were times of recreation too when she played indoor bowls or visited friends in the area.
Margaret, as we recall your life and ministry, we thank you for all you have been and done for all those whose lives you touched. May you rest now in the lord and His Mother who loved you and chose you for their own.