Miss D's trip to Dunedin
My Great Aunt who was a nun spent all her life in NZ working as a primary school teacher. Most of her life was spent working in Dunedin so I separated from the girls for a couple of days so i could visit where she lived and worked and meet the nuns that would have known her!
I flew to Dunedin early morning and was met by St Lorraine at the airport. She took me on a tour off the suburbs around Dunedin and a tour of all the sights. we visited:
St Clair beach, look out points, the train st, the universityof Otago, ferbury race course and the habour-Port Charmers on our way into the city.
We then headed to St Josephs Church and Priory where my aunt Kathleen spent most of her time living and working. The church was pretty run of the mill except it had the separate quarters off to one side for the nuns to sit in which was quite unusual.
The priory on the other hand was amazing (see pics) the building was absolutely massive and when it was in use would have housed around 60-70 nuns. It is currently deralect so we werent sure if we would be able to get inside to have a look around, but after the nun sweet talked the Architect who is working on the regeneration project we were in! -think people find it very hard to say no to nuns!! We got inside and St Lorraine gave me a guided tour of the building. Showing me the Community room, Refectory, parlours for guests, the priests room and the little back entrance the nuns used to get to the church next door. There was beautiful marble fireplaces in each room (you would have loved it dad!) Without the Architect knowning we also sneaked upstairs for a peak at the nuns quarters (nuns break the rules too-who knew!) and i saw there pooky little bedrooms and bathrooms they used to have The amazing view out of the window sort of made up for it though, you could see right out over the city! Was really lovely to go and have a look around where she would have lived most of her life.
After we left here we had been sight seeing for a few hours and were very late for lunch with the nuns!!! So we headed to St Judith Anns house were another nun St Joan (visiting from Arrowtown) and us all had lunch. After this i was taken down to the archives were they left me to have a look through St Olivers file (Kathleen). There was loads of information about here and were she lived and taught, photos of her Sliver and Diamond Jubalees (sp!) and correspondance between her and the nuns she left behind after she returned back to Ireland.
I learnt a lot of stuff about my aunt that i didnt know like the father dying while she was on the boat on her way to NZ-and because she arrived over easter the post was not opened until easter sunday-so it was several weeks before she heard the news :( Apparently she considered leaving and going home again after she heard the news, she believed he died of a broken heart because he didnt want her to go :(. She was known as one of the softer nuns and apparently all the children loved to have St Oliver as a teacher. St Joan and St Paddy who i met said they remembered her at school and how good she was with the children especially the boys. All the other nuns would feel they had to be very hard on the boys and it was only St Oliver and one other Irish nun who would understand that they would really be missing home and treated them with more compasion than the others.
After this i went to visit two old nuns who are around the same age as what my aunt would be, and worked in some of the same places at the same time. There names were Winnifred and Louise and they were the funniest and sweetiest old ladies ive ever met! St Judith Ann dropped me off and i spent an hour chatting to them about their lives and everything they knew about my aunt. They told me how they remembered the nuns arriving from Ireland and how they looked really nervous on their first day! Louise told me that how St Oliver was a really kind and sweet natured and amazing at needlework-always making habits for the other nuns!! Kathleen went to stay for 6 weeks with them after she was sick to help her recover from an operation and they told me they believed kathleen only had one Kidney??! didnt know that! this was the most time they got to spend with her and got to know her really well in this time.
They spent their holidays together at the Teshmakers (sp!) and they told me how St Oliver was always given the job of looking after the priest as she was so softly spoken and kind. Apparently she didnt really like getting this job year after year and it became a running joke!
I left Louise and Winnie after signing in their visitors book! (they have more visitors than me!) and headed back to St Judith Anns house after visiting the tallest street in the world! by the time we made it back it was time for me to go back to the airport again. -a very tiring day but it was brilliant to meet everyone that i did that just had so much nice stuff to say about aunt Kathleen!I took loads of piccys so will upload most of them and then show you the rest when i get back
Ma and Pa apparently im a credit to you! and thats coming from a nun so it must be true ;) really glad i went though, will send a thank you note to them-dont worry!