Mission Sisters Jubilees in Napier

WelCom March 2021 Carmel Cole RNDM Srs Linley Trower and Muriel Kivell celebrated 60 years of profession as Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions on Sunday, 1 November last…

WelCom March 2021

Carmel Cole RNDM

Mission Sisters Jubilees in Napier Archdiocese of Wellington
Sr Linley Trower and Sr Muriel Kivell each celebrated 60 years of profession as Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions last November. Photo: Supplied

Srs Linley Trower and Muriel Kivell celebrated 60 years of profession as Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions on Sunday, 1 November last year.

Many Sisters from across the country gathered to celebrate with the people of the Napier Parish at St Mary’s Church in Taradale, where Muriel and Linley are faithful parishioners. 

Sr Muriel Kivell spent her early life in many places around the country but it was when she attended schools run by the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions her life’s direction became clear. She moved to the Novitiate in Christchurch and was professed as a Sister of Our Lady of the Missions on 15 August 1960. She was known as Sr Mary Benedict for a number years.

Muriel taught in primary schools in Hamilton and Ellerslie and then at Sacred Heart Colleges in Hamilton and New Plymouth where she was a deputy principal. She gained her Teacher’s Certificate, a Diploma in Teaching and a BA Degree in Mathematics and Science while teaching.

During the 1980s Muriel was a member of the Sisters’ Leadership Team and gave remarkable assistance to the Mission Colleges as they tackled the requirements of Integration and the need to be vested in Trust Boards. Her working knowledge of education, legislation, educational building-code requirements and financial matters were invaluable. From the 1980s onward she made outstanding and significant contributions to the direction of Catholic Education. 

In 1998 she was appointed as the Episcopal Vicar for Schools in the Diocese of Palmerton North and was responsible for primary and secondary schools until 2006. She was awarded a Benerementi Medal in 2004 for her dedication and contribution to Catholic Education in the diocese. Two years later her commitment to Catholic schools and education in New Zealand was acknowledged with a Laureate Award from the Catholic Education Office – a prestigious award presented to a ‘Distinguished Contributor to Catholic Education’.

In 2008 Muriel was asked to go to Rome and take on the role as General Bursar for our Congregation. At the end of her six-year term she returned to New Zealand to live in Greenmeadows. There she went back into the classroom to teach her favourite subject – maths. She has also become involved in the parish RCIA programme – preparing adults for Baptism.

Sr Linley Trower was born and grew up in Napier and attended Sacred Heart College. In 1958 she travelled to Christchurch to join the Sisters. She was given the name Sr Mary Gilbert and was professed with Muriel in 1960. 

Over a span of 23 years, Linley taught in many schools in Christchurch, Ashburton, Petone, Napier, Kaikōura, Lower Hutt and New Brighton and was a teaching principal for 17 of those years. 

In the 1980s Linley moved into pastoral work in some of New Zealand’s then-remote places, including Motueka, Kaikōura and Rangiora. She spent 11 years Kaikōura, serving the people in whatever way was needed. Kaikōura captured her heart – she loved the people, the close-knit community and the beautiful scenery. 

In 2004 Linley moved to the house on the front lawn of St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College, Greenmeadows. She is a familiar figure in the parish and the community of Taradale. Although Linley now struggles with mobility she is always ready to chat and share time with others. She is renowned for her meticulous work on her delicate tapestries. Anyone who visits Linley can see her beautiful works of art hanging on her wall and recognise her artistic gift. 

It was fitting to celebrate this milestone in these Sisters’ lives in the parish where they now spend much of their time. Mass was followed by a morning tea in the parish centre where everyone gathered to offer thanks to Sr Linley and Sr Muriel for their combined 120 years of service to the Church.

Carmel Cole RNDM is Province Leader, Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions, Aotearoa-New Zealand and Samoa.