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Tributes made for our last Brigidine

Sister Monica Landy made a significant contribution to the welfare of older people in Wairarapa. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Sister Monica Landy 24/03/1931 – 06/09/2021

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Former St Patrick’s teacher and principal and the last Brigidine sister to live out her religious calling in Wairarapa, Sister Monica Landy has died at the age of 90.

Sister Monica passed away on Monday morning after a long battle with health issues.

The Brigidine Sisters are a global Catholic congregation that was founded by Bishop Daniel Delany in Ireland in 1807. The congregation made its way to Masterton in 1898 where six Brigidine Sisters staffed St Patricks School. They went on to establish St Bride’s College [1898], St Anthony’s School in Pahiatua [1906], St Mary’s School in Carterton [1917], and St Teresa’s School in Featherston [1954].

Sister Monica was well known not only within New Zealand’s Catholic community but also within the community of Wairarapa.

She had a long career in teaching, where she presented and directed religious broadcasts and initiated a religious studies programme for Wellington Teachers’ Training College students.

After an overseas study trip, she became a member of a volunteer research team under the guidance of Masterton Hospital which looked into the well-being of older people in Wairarapa.

She said in an interview at the time that she had always had a high regard and love for older people based on her very fond memories of her grandparents.

The experience gained from her research sparked what Sister Monica regarded as her greatest achievement – the Golden Years Expo, a celebration of the worth and value of older people in the community and a first for New Zealand.

Her significant contribution to the welfare of older people in Wairarapa in her retirement earned her great honour in 1990 when she was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for public service.

She also earned the Commonwealth Medal for Services to the Community and the Papal Medal for Services to Catholic Media.

New Zealand Brigidine co-ordinator Sister Anne Phibbs said her loss would affect many.

“She was a Brigidine to the core. She was full of energy and go and will be a great loss to us as a group but also to the Wairarapa community and the parish.”

St Patrick’s School principal Steve Wheeler said Sister Monica was an amazing lady who brought much guidance and inspiration to the school community.

“She could relate to adults and children and was someone whose presence will be sorely missed. We will miss her wisdom, sense of humour, compassion and leadership,” he said.

Good friend and fellow teacher, Claire Hills said Sister Monica played a hugely important role in the long tradition of education service.

On Wednesday, Sister Monica would have celebrated her 70th anniversary of when she became a professed Brigidine sister.

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