Queenstown loses its last Dominican sister

Queenstown’s only Dominican sister is leaving, 133 years after members of the religious order first arrived in the town.

Sr Mary Anna Beard, OP, leaves for new pastures on Saturday, reported the Otago Daily Times.

“There is a sadness in our presence not being here, but the people will carry this charism on,” Sr Mary Anna said.

“That’s the way God works through communities. Our spirit will be carried on through the lives of these people.”

Twelve members of the Dominican order attended Mass at St Patrick’s in Arrowtown on April 3.

This was followed by a luncheon at the town’s bowling club.

“I looked at the children at the service this morning and thought ‘Who’s educating who?”’ Sr Mary Anna said.

“They are so lovely, local kids whose parents want their faith nurtured.

“They might step away from it, then perhaps come back, who knows? But you plant the seeds. That’s what’s important.”

Sr Mary Anna, originally from Invercargill, has lived in the resort for 10 years, living in Arrowtown, after serving in Asia.

“I simply devoured this place; the scenery, the people, just God’s presence here.”

Sr Mary Anna said she had not yet been told where her next posting would be.

“A neighbour said to me: ‘Isn’t there a certain age where you don’t have to move around?’

“But I said life is not about that. It is important to live fully, rather than think, now I’m 75 I better just sit down and start knitting.”

St Joseph’s Primary School principal Trisch Inder said Sr Mary Anna would be greatly missed.

“Her attitude about change is amazing.

“She says there’s a reason for it and God knows what he’s doing. We’re all really sad that she’s leaving, but it’s part of her journey, too.”


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News category: New Zealand.

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