New Zealand 125


In 1883 Brigidines travelled from Mountrath Ireland to Coonamble NSW to begin the Brigidine Story in Australia   – and within a few years they had also established communities and schools in Cooma, Cowra and Woodstock. They had made their journey to Australia on the ship, the “Chimborazo,” on which they met a young Irish priest, Fr McKenna, who was bound for New Zealand.

Fifteen years later, when Fr McKenna was Parish Priest of Masterton, he reached out to the Brigidine Sisters,  asking that they bring their Education ministry to New Zealand.

In 1898 then, the Brigidines responded.
Sisters Gertrude Banahan*, Brigid Desmond, Joseph Flahavan, Patrick Phelan, Teresa O’ Flynn and Claver Cooke left Cooma and Coonamble and  travelled by ship from Australia to Wellington, New Zealand.
From there they travelled by train and arrived in Masterton, their first New Zealand home,  on 16th December 1898.


125 years later, we unite with our New Zealand Sisters in honouring and celebrating with gratitude, the unfolding of the Brigidine Story in New Zealand!

Read More:  Unfolding Brigidine Story in New Zealand

Schools and Communities NEW ZEALAND in brief

Never before published –  Photos from Mother Theresa Bourke’s Album, 1926  & ’29 :
When it snowed in Masterton! 1926
Arrival in Johnsonville 1929

Excerpts from One Love Many Faces, by Helena Fouhy csb: NZ 1898




In 2020, the NZ Sisters visited Chanel College Masterton. The College (amalgamation of St Bride’s and St Joseph’s)  holds a Brigidine History Display!





“ Take care so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen
nor let them slip
from your mind
all the days of your life;
make them known
from generation to generation.”
Deuteronomy 4:9 -10





*Gertrude Banahan was one of the Group who travelled
from Mountrath to Coonamble, 15 years earlier.  Coonamble 140