Mark­ing mile­stone

Manawatu Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - By MERANIA KARAURIA

Catholic Sis­ter Joan Man­son has a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship with 80-year-old Mon­key.

He was there when she and the late Sis­ter de Sales founded St James’ Catholic School 60 years ago in 1958, and the magic of the lit­tle cloth mon­key with lots of his hair now loved off, is still alive.

Joan keeps him wrapped in a cloth and she’ll bring him out at the school’s 60th an­niver­sary ex­trav­a­ganza on Oc­to­ber 28.

“We had no equip­ment when the school started, but I had Mon­key who helped me teach the chil­dren.”

Plans for the big gala have been un­der­way for some time now and there will be plenty to eat, see and do for ev­ery­one be­tween 11am and 2pm on the day.

Joan holds fond mem­o­ries of her teach­ing days at St James when she was known as Sis­ter Pius.

“I have lovely mem­o­ries of my first stu­dents.

“St James is a very lovely place.

“It has a spe­cial spirit.”

Sis­ter de Sales, as with all Catholic sis­ters of the dif­fer­ent re­li­gious or­ders, re­verted to her birth name, Ruth Oak­ley.

The two Sis­ters who wore the habit of the Sis­ters of Mercy de­signed St James’ logo, un­der which are the Latin words for “to live the truth in love” — ver­i­tatem vi­vere.

Joan re­calls the early days of the school.

“The city and school was all pad­docks and I drove a 1928 Chrysler we called Jalopy.

“It leaked and we had to wear a shawl over our heads to keep dry.”

Jalopy did not have a petrol gauge and the sis­ters had to put a stick into the tank to see how much petrol there was.

‘I have lovely mem­o­ries of my first stu­dents. St James is a very lovely place. It has a spe­cial ’ spirit.

“The ac­cel­er­a­tor got very hot.” Jalopy was used to col­lect news­pa­pers and bot­tles and the school col­lected postage stamps and tea coupons as there was no govern­ment fund­ing to run the school.

These col­lec­tions and coupons bought the school’s first gramo­phone.

The stu­dents’ fam­i­lies were very sup­port­ive, Joan said, and it was not long be­fore the school had a com­mit­tee which helped run the school

There were 50 stu­dents in the school in the first year but the num­bers soon mul­ti­plied.

Joan said the class num­bers were big and in her sec­ond year there were 60 stu­dents in her class. “Teach­ing was dif­fer­ent in my day.” She re­mem­bers some stu­dents started to draw tele­vi­sion aeri­als on houses in their pic­tures.

“We knew then that they were the fam­i­lies that had tele­vi­sions.”


Sr Joan Man­son with 80-year old Mon­key.

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