The Mission Work of the Aranui Sisters of Mercy in Eastern Christchurch. (2020)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Arts
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsRosevear, Emilyshow all
This thesis examines the mission work of the Aranui Sisters of Mercy in the Eastern Suburbs of Christchurch, New Zealand, placing the story of the Aranui Sisters within the broader historiographical context of women’s history, local history and the wider historiography of the Catholic Church. Central to this thesis are the voices of the sisters themselves. Major primary sources are oral history interviews, and written material left by the sisters in archives and published texts. The work of Sisters Helen Goggin, Teresa O’Connor and Pauline O’Regan, who left the convent in 1973 to live and work amongst the community in the suburb of Aranui, has not been explored in any depth outside of Sister Pauline’s own memoir. This study focuses on the sisters' work building a sense of community and breaking down the barriers of loneliness and isolation that the sisters believed existed in the suburbs. This thesis will argue that the work of the Aranui Sisters of Mercy was an example of successful community engagement that benefitted the lives of many people living in the communities they worked in. My research demonstrates that when communities are engaged and brought together social issues such as loneliness begin to fade.
As their work grew to include the North East Parish of Burwood and the surrounding suburb of Parklands, the original three sisters were later joined by Sisters Marie McCrea, Monica Stack and Colleen McBride. Part of their mission involved establishing the North East Development Scheme, which allowed further expansion and drew members of the community into their mission.