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Sister Rose Philippine McAloon

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 26/06/2023

 Born:                  25 February 1934 

 Professed:          31 May 1959

 Died:                  26 June 2023

Rose Philippine was born to Mary Anne and James Joseph McAloon in Christchurch, New Zealand. She was the ninth of ten children and is survived today by her younger sister, Bernadette. 1940 was a big year for the family as their mother died, 4 sons were conscripted into the army, another son went to the Marist Brothers juniorate. and their father was transferred to Wellington.

Rose’s faith was nourished in a devout Catholic family and Parish. She excelled at Catholic schools and from an early age knew that she wanted to be a teacher. Upon leaving school she studied for her Teacher’s Certificate, did some University studies and taught in various schools in Wellington. After her brother Brian’s ordination in 1955 Rose decided to enter the SMSM convent, Heretaunga, which was only about 12 kilometres from her home. At her reception as a novice she was given the name Sr Mary John Vianney.

Sr M. John Vianney took her first vows on 31 May 1959. Straight after Profession she set sail for Samoa on the M.V. Tofua, to spend the best part of the following 30 years there. These years she said were some of the happiest in her life. She taught at Vaimoso, Savalalo, Leulumoega and Moamoa Senior School, and could competently handle either Primary or Secondary level. Rose completed her BA degree at Auckland University in the 1970s. Later she was a member of the faculty at Corpus Christi Teachers’ College in Suva, Fiji (1980-1983).

Sr Rose was able to pass on her passion for the faith, poetry, plays, literature and music. Even as a novice she taught English to novices who recall her as being professional and encouraging. Several Vaimoso College Old Girls were at her funeral and remember her as a dedicated teacher with a strict and strong character who wanted her students to achieve what was best for them. 

Rose, a perfectionist, put herself under a lot of pressure and was impatient to succeed and this put a huge demand on her. Rose seriously strived to balance prayer, community and apostolate. She cooperated in her own formation with spiritual reading and opportunities such as a 30 day retreat, Marist renewal and the Marianella renewal. She loved being missionary, Marist and Religious.   

Rose answered a new call when she was about 60 years of age: to become the secretary to Bishop Robin Leamy SM in Rarotonga (1994 -1997). No longer in front of a class but quietly working behind the scenes. Dedicated, capable and willing to oblige. Then she was asked to help in Rome (1998 -2002) as an English secretary and available to do translations from French. She loved being part of the Church in Rome and storing up memories of all the art works and places of history and interest. A Marist renewal and a spiritual renewal were treasured. She loved being missionary, Marist and religious.  Her third secretarial role was when she returned to New Zealand and to the new smsm community at Snedden Village, Waikanae. There she took up the role of Parish secretary from 2004 -2009. After this she found time to volunteer with the St Vincent de Paul group, be a Eucharistic minister, and lead services in Shona MacFarlane retirement home (2010 2019).

“Thank you notes” and Christmas cards were a specialty of Rose. She reached so many people this way. Gratitude was a big thing for her. Her nieces and nephews who admired her were recipients of many notes – and Rose made sure she knew all the names of each generation.  When Rose said “I’ll pray for you” she certainly did.  She was a good friend to many people who spoke of her as “trustworthy”, “genuine”, “prayerful” and “grateful”

For the last 4 years with failing health Rose was in community in Lower Hutt until she broke her hip 23 December 2022. Rose died at St Joseph’s Lifecare Centre, Silverstream. Her health had been fragile for some time and she was repeatedly telling God that she was “ready”. She was a very determined person and I think that same determination helped her in these past few years to battle with and accept in faith and courage her many health issues.

Her requiem Mass was celebrated at SS Peter and Paul’s Church, Lower Hutt, on the 30 June 2023. The celebrant was Fr Patrick Bridgman. Her very big family gathered and remembered their ‘aunt’ with affection. Rose Philippine was laid to rest in the Taita Lawn Cemetery. 


Lord, You who are faithful,

Complete in me the work you have begun.

Constitution  61


Pauline Gresham smsm

New Zealand 2023