On 10 October 2007 many religious, family members and friends braved the rain and wind to gather at St Joseph’s Convent Chapel, Upper Hutt, for a Thanksgiving Liturgy to celebrate the life and death of Sister Mary Alicus. Born Molly Carrigan in 1941, she moved with her parents, Norah and Michael, her sisters Pat and Cushla and brother Neil, from Feilding to Newtown where they all became active members of St Anne’s parish.
When Mary Alicus was professed as a Sister of Mercy she chose for her motto, ‘In Mary’s Son, Jesus, I place my trust’ and she had a deep devotion to Mary Mother of God throughout her life. Sister Mary Alicus qualified as a primary school teacher and taught at St Anthony’s, Seatoun, Our Lady of Lourdes, Palmerston North, St Matthews, Marton, and St Joseph’s, Westport. A kindly and conscientious teacher, Sister was loved by her pupils and their families.
After leaving the classroom a very important part of Mary Alicus’s life was visiting families, elderly, house-bound and lonely people in Westport, Reefton and Ikamatua. She amply manifested in her life the qualities of sharing ‘the kind word, the gentle, compassionate look, and the patient hearing of sorrows’ in the manner of Venerable Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy.
Her invaluable help was much appreciated by staff and residents at the O’Conor Home in Westport. Widows were especially dear to her, and she made a point of helping them in every possible way. While living at Villa Joseph, Mary Alicus several times took elderly folk for a week’s holiday to a beach house in Paekakariki. This initiative was greatly appreciated by all those who were fortunate to get the opportunity.
Sister Mary Alicus will be sorely missed by her sister, Pat, and her family, and by the Sisters of Mercy with whom she shared Mercy life for nearly 60 years.