Spanish | French
Home > Deceased Sisters > Sister Frances Marie Lagan - Date of Death 22/07/2022



Latest updates






More pictures

Sister Frances Marie Lagan

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 22/07/2022

        Born: 31 May 1921

        Professed: 11 February 1944

        Deceased: 22 July 2022

Frances Marie (Fay) was born 31 May 1921, in Christchurch, to Charles and Anastasia Lagan. Fay had a twin brother Bernard.  They had a brother and sister older and brother and sister younger.

Family stories were not shared much in the 40’s. However, in recent times we saw and heard from her just how the family were loving, Catholic, hard working and united. She was very attached and proud of them all and this extended to all the nieces and nephews, plus.  Her mother, a tailor, gave the girls good home making skills though Fay preferred to help her father who was General Manager of a brewery. She had a finely tuned business head on her shoulders so went straight into the “business” when she left school. Her youngest sister, Enid, entered the Sisters of Mercy.

1 August 1941 she became a postulant at Heretaunga. She and her 3 companions were the first group to make their novitiate in this new home in the ‘country’. At reception she was given the name Sr M Anastasia (her mother’s name). She made profession on 11 February 1944 and one year later set out for Savalalo, Samoa.

A prolific letter writer – she wrote joyfully back to family and Sisters in NZ of the very large classes. She spoke of “78 imps who are not as angelic as they look”.  School days were long and varied… working in the garden with the girls before 9am, then there was the sewing, sports, games, devotions, processions and classes.   Later, she did her teacher training and Registration. She specialized in commercial subjects and accounting and later did a journalism course. Everything was put to great use including financial administrator for smsm in NZ.

 In 1956 she was asked to return to Heretaunga to become the Mistress of Novices – she held this position for the next 14 years. Sister Judith Moore wrote: “She faced the challenge of an international novitiate during Vatican 2 with great awareness of the need to prepare the novices and postulants for a new style of mission in a rapidly changing church.” She made sure books, speakers, tapes, lecture notes came in to the Novitiate. Sr Judith sums up what was true for so many novices “I believe she gave us a solid formation. I also appreciate her ability to both support and challenge me, and her warm interest in my family”.

These years saw a lot of extensions at the Novitiate and trust in St Joseph and divine Providence was closely followed by Mother M. Anastasia’s enormous gratitude to families, benefactors and volunteers. She had great support from the people in the Valley. People seem to contribute before they knew what they were getting into. So many “volunteers”! She was enterprising, scheming and cunning. She was a grateful, loyal and faithful friend to many.

Over these many years her faith came through, she had Mary before her eyes, deeply embedded Marist roots andshe lived the paschal mystery with trust in God.  She had periods of loneliness and melancholy.  She chose the first reading at her requiem “The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Isaiah: 9:1-3.  She asked that this be read by Rosalie Nasalio, a smsm associate who has been her companion and care giver for the past 60 years.   

In 1972 she moved a short distance (1.5km) to St Patrick’s College, Silverstream where she supported and worked alongside the young Samoan women whom she had been instrumental in bringing out since the early 60’s to work at St Patrick’s. Her role here evolved over the next fifty years. She taught religious studies to years 9 and 10 from 1974 to 1990, business studies, reading and writing skills. She sewed, was responsible for the sacristy, and supported staff, priests, students and families. As “School Grandmother” she showed love, compassion and forgiveness. Her class was a regular in preparing a ‘drama’ for the Sunday Boarders’ masses. Always well done and novel!  Somewhere here she went back to using her Baptismal name – Frances Marie.

Graeme Duffy a former College rector wrote: “Sister was never short of an opinion and was quick to offer it if she felt it was warranted. Her opinion was often with the love and direction of God’s message. She will leave a legacy of hope, faith and charity in the love of Mary”.

 January 2019 she moved across the field to reside at the Home of Compassion Rest Home. There she was known for the gift of peace she brought to all who cared for her. She faithfully prayed for us all. She was so positive and grateful.  One minute she would say she was ready to go home to God but then she was also looking forward to celebrating her 100th birthday which she did in style in May 2021. After a fall she was confined to her room but she had many visitors and with them and her reading the world did not shrink.

After an illness of a few days she died peacefully. St Patrick’s College pulled out all the stops for her funeral Mass. Fr John Walls SM was the Celebrant.  The students (100) did a haka (a dance acknowledging great achievements) as her coffin was placed in the hearse and then they formed a guard of honour on the sweeping drive way.

a life wholly offered


 AND THE HONOUR OF MARY             

                                    Const 428


She was laid to rest at the Taita Lawn Cemetery. 1 August 2022.



Pauline Gresham smsm