VICKERS, TERESA (SISTER MARY CHARLES)
Teresa Vickers was born in Hastings in 1880, the eldest daughter of William and Teresa Vickers nee Tayler. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth at Wanganui in 1899.
The possessor of a contralto voice of exceptional quality, Sister Charles could, had she chosen, have earned for herself an outstanding career on the music stage. However, it was as a teacher in the convent schools of Hastings, Feilding, Wanganui and Hawera (where she spent 29 years of her teaching life), that she will be best remembered.
Besides teaching in the schools, Sister Charles found time to teach singing and music as well and there are many singers whose musical gifts she was able to develop. Her Christian charity expressed itself in all spheres of work, and her influence was very much wider than the confines of her own classrooms and congregation. Much of her spare time was spent in visiting the poor and sick of the parish, and her services were lovingly given wherever comfort or assistance were needed.
Of boundless energy, she was teaching Forms 1 and 2 in the Hawera convent until a few weeks before her death. Some idea of her talent as a teacher is shown in the fact that many of her students won boarding school scholarships. When the Polish boys were brought to Hawera after World War Two, Sister Charles was one of their English language teachers.
Sister Charles died on the 15 December 1958 at Hawera and is buried in the Hawera cemetery. St Joseph's Church was crowded for the Requiem Mass, led by Monsignor P F Cullen while two of her old pupils, the Rev B Cudby and Rev Owen Dolan were deacon and sub-deacon, and two of her Form 2 boys were altar boys.
Obituary "Hawera Star" 15 Dec 1958
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