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Mary Kelly was born in Christchurch on the 23 August 1903, the daughter of  Francis and Maud Kelly.


Sister Matthew entered the Convent of the Little Company of Mary in November 1923, and trained as a general nurse at the order's hospital in Lewisham, Australia.  She made her vows as a nun in 1926.


At the order's hospital at Ryde, New South Wales, Sister Matthew trained to be a psychiatric nurse, and spent most of her 32 years in Australia nursing there.  In 1955 she returned to Christchurch, and the following year was transferred to Hawera where the order opened the Calvary Hospital.


The house, originally owned by the Powdrell family, had been used as a hostel for Polish refugee boys.  After alterations to make it into a hospital, Calvary was opened on the 10 June 1956. Besides Sister Matthew, Sister Majella O'Brien, Sister Cecilia Caspers, Mother Baptist Fogarty, and Mother Superior Benedicta King were the pioneer staff.  The hospital opened with 13 beds, and seven years later, the Mary Potter wing was opened, increasing the number of beds to 33.


In 1968, Sister Matthew played a large part in the establishment of the hospital's occupational therapy unit.


Sister Matthew Kelly died on the 11 December 1982 at Wellington aged 79 years, and is buried at the Hawera cemetery.



Obituary "Taranaki Herald" 13 Dec 1982

From Oak to Kowhai - the Story of the Little Company of Mary  by Father J N Pound.