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Sister Mary Aquin Maloney (Kathleen Margaret Maloney)

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 04/09/2022

        Born: 4 July 1929

        Professed: 15 August 1956

        Deceased: 4 September 2022


Kathleen Margaret Maloney was born on 4 July 1929 to Nicholas and Bridget Maloney in Invercargill, New Zealand. She was the fourth child of seven. She had three sisters and three brothers.

She grew up in a loving, Catholic family on a dairy farm in Makarewa. From an early age Kathleen always had a book with her and showed an interest in reflection, research, and recording. Her brother, Fr Pat Maloney, remembers how she had a notebook which she carried with her at all times even to Mass. She stored her gleanings and rated the homilies!

In late January 1951 she travelled to Heretaunga to begin as a postulant but it was decided that she needed to wait until she had eye surgery. She had two operations, but even so had very limited vision in one eye. She re-entered as a postulant in February 1954. As a novice she was given the name of Sr Mary Aquin.   

On 15 August 1956 she made Profession as an SMSM, in Heretaunga, her first assignment being as cook at St Anne’s Hostel in Auckland. Following teacher training at Loreto Hall, she set sail in 1961 for Samoa where she taught, and at different times was Principal at St Mary’s College, Vaimoso, and the Catholic Senior Secondary School. Open to being missioned elsewhere, Sr M. Aquin helped out at St Joseph’s Business College in Tonga in the mid-80s. Finally, she left Samoa in 1990. Fellow teachers and ex-students paid tribute to her. She was a unique, inspiring, loved and admired educator. Two young men who became teachers because of her spoke of her methodology which worked wonders for them and which they adopted.

During these years she also had periods for further studies, visits home, spiritual renewals and congregational services. She gained her BA (Hons) in History; Diplomas of Theology from Loreto Hall and later from Mater Dei, Sydney. Like St Thomas Aquinas, her patron saint, she put her studies and knowledge at the service of God’s kingdom, of God’s people and of the smsm congregation.

SM Aquin was always very proud of being a smsm. She was offered the opportunity to participate in a pilgrimage from Samoa to Wallis and Futuna. She felt very privileged, and later wrote of the highlight for her when “I stood lingeringly by the grave of Françoise Perroton, had a cup of tea where her home would have been, climbed down the slope she would have stumbled down on her poor swollen feet in her worn-out shoes, saw very much what she would have seen, breathed the air she breathed. And with her remembered Sr M. de la Pitié and Sr M. Rose who shared her latter years.”  Later on, Aquin rejoiced to be part of a Marist Family Studies programme in London.

In 1991 she was asked to set up the archives for the South Pacific Province. Here’s someone who had been in the classroom and in the tropics for so many years. Within days she was totally immersed in research, sorting, labeling and discovering, using her own unique system.  She continued this service, along with other services, until 2015. Always interested in the lives of individual sisters who make up our missionary story, she compiled 3 volumes of “SMSM who went before”. This collection of one-page summaries pays tribute to the many Sisters who have served in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and New Zealand. Aquin’s sense of history, love for our Sisters and honouring them all has inspired many of us.  She would happily research information requested, and infectiously get excited with some of the discoveries she made. She was like a “search engine”.   

Always capable and adaptable, Aquin willingly gave service three days a week for nine years in the Catholic Schools Office for the Auckland Diocese. A new education system, a whole new group of people and challenges where she gave valuable, discreet hidden service; her quiet, wry sense of humour was greatly appreciated.  This same willingness had seen her giving service in Rome at the 1980 General Chapter, secretarial service in Rome in 1992 and delegate to several Provincial Chapters. She could multi task too – listen to cricket on the radio while watching the All Blacks on TV with a newspaper in her hand or a saucepan!

Aquin lived in many communities. Wherever she went she was welcome. She was at home everywhere. She never made enemies, and we cannot remember her ever saying an unkind word about anyone.

She was faithful to personal and community prayer, humble in accepting help, uncomplicated, selfless, simple, gentle, generous, without guile, wise and eager to learn … A much-loved Marist, Missionary Religious.

By 2016 M Aquin was having difficulty remembering things, but she still read, and wanted to participate in everything in community, but by 2019 it was obvious that her dementia meant she needed more care. She moved from Auckland down to the Home of Compassion in Silverstream where she gently lived her life with a thank you and a smile for her care-givers and visitors.  She slipped away peacefully on the 4th September, with Sr Nau ‘Apikotoa at her side.

She was buried from Ss Peter and Paul’s Church, Lower Hutt, on the feast of Mary’s Nativity,

8 September 2022.  Fr Bernard Carney SM and her own brother, Fr Pat, celebrated the Requiem Mass with a small family group, several ex-students, three former co-teachers, and smsm. Many family, friends and sisters watched online. Sister Mary Aquin Maloney was laid to rest at the Taita Lawn Cemetery. A simple Marist life truly lived for the glory of God and the honour of Mary.


Pauline Gresham smsm