Sister M Genevieve began and finished her life in the deep south. As we look at the 95 years
of her life and reflect on the same 95 years of New Zealand and global history we can see
how much Genevieve was a woman who recognised and responded to the signs of the
times. Before she entered the convent in 1948 Genevieve was a music teacher who moved
around Southland, introducing a love of music to many young people. This love of music
endured throughout Genevieve’s 70 years of religious life, bringing beauty to many in
schools and parishes as well as to the individual pupils. Many of her ex-pupils remember the
musicals they played in, directed by this talented Sister.
After several years teaching in Dominican primary schools Genevieve and Sister M Jordan
were invited to go to Rome where they studied theology and spirituality in the early days of
life after Vatican II. Love of these areas of study and reflection never left Genevieve,
especially as she worked in the parish of St Mary, Star of the Sea Parish, Howick in the early
days of Pastoral Assistants. Late in her life, aged 80, Genevieve joined the Dominican
Preaching Team which travelled around rural parishes leading retreats. Everywhere she
went, Genevieve shared her music talents and encouraged good liturgy.
In the last five years spent at Calvary Hospital in Invercargill Genevieve continued to live and
share the Dominican spirit. She made several close friends at Calvary who, along with her
birth family and the Dominican Sisters and the staff at Calvary, helped her make the
transition back to the south.
After several months of diminishing health Genevieve died peacefully on Wednesday, 8
January 2020 surrounded by Dominicans and family. She was buried in the Eastern
- Genevieve had three communities in her last years; her birth family, the Dominican
Sisters, and the Calvary community. (Denise Smith, Pastoral Carer, Calvary Hospital.)
- The delight on her face when her nephew Stephen came to visit the day before she
- Middle-aged ex-pupils who remembered the musicals Genevieve produced many
- Parishioners in the north and in the south who knew and loved Genevieve and her
gifts of music, liturgy and compassion.
- SM Jadwiga OP shared her story as a Polish Refugee with Genevieve, who wrote it
down and safeguarded it as part of our history.
- Dominican Sisters, past and present, and members of the wider Dominican Family
who shared Genevieve’s journey through nine and a half decades.
- On her 95th birthday Genevieve sang a response to ‘Happy Birthday’, ending it with a
reminder: ‘I love you all.’
- A tui sang during the committal prayers at the cemetery.
May Sister M Genevieve rest in peace.