WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Saved by the Resurrection post

On Wednesday April 21, the Autumn peace of the old convent grounds in Hiruharama on the Whanganui river, was shaken when Sister Anna Maria Shortall, 93, slipped in the garden and cut her head. Anna Maria, who has lived in Hiruharama (Jerusalem) for 23 years, had just finished chatting with two visiting friends from London/Ranana, when Jun10Anna_Maria.jpg she fell and lost a dramatic amount of blood from the cut on her head. The two other resident Sisters of Compassion, Srs Sue Cosgrove and Margaret Mary Murphy rushed to the scene with a first-aid kit. The ambulance was called, Anna Maria’s head was bandaged and she was escorted to a garden seat.
Two visiting local children, Tinapi and Dawn fetched Anna Maria a blanket and a cup of tea with her favourite fruitcake. But the treats were swiftly confiscated in case the medics might need to perform any tests that required fasting. The children, who were upset to see the blood, asked ‘if it hurt?’ She assured them that it stung only a little and that the main problem was that she felt ‘lop-sided’ – tilting her bandaged head and chuckling.
Seeing Anna Maria as her usual calm and joyous self, the children’s worry dissolved into excitement at the arrival of a rescue helicopter. The medics had decided that because of Anna Maria’s age it would be safer to fly her out quickly than send an ambulance.
Meanwhile Anna Maria was kept warm and the scene became increasingly sociable as it became clear that Anna Maria would be fine. To much amusement, Sue decided because of where Anna Maria had fallen – in the rosary way garden walk – that she must have hit her head on the resurrection post! By the time the helicopter arrived, most of the village seemed to have turned up to make sure Anna Maria was okay. Enthralled by Anna Maria’s graciousness, the medic called her ‘Reverend Mother’, before escorting her to the helicopter. The many friends on the ground waved farewell to Anna Maria and Sue as they took off for Whanganui Hospital in their first helicopter ride.
The doctor was equally amazed by Anna Maria’s quick wit, calm disposition and excellent health, gave her four stitches and discharged her, but not before she invited him to Jerusalem. Anna Maria is now able to enjoy as much fruitcake as she pleases.
Miriam Smith was a guest in April at the old convent in Hiruharama