NZ Catholic’s long time Christchurch correspondent Kathleen Casey has died, aged 75.
Ms Casey’s most recent contributions to NZ Catholic were photos of the Easter services at Mairehau, and earlier this year she covered the funeral in Christchurch of Bishop Charles Drennan’s father, Oliver John Drennan.
At the time of her death on May 20, she was working on a story for this newspaper about the Christchurch diocese youth team.
NZ Catholic founding editor Pat McCarthy recalled that Ms Casey was Christchurch correspondent for the newspaper from its early years.
She also contributed feature articles, including some from an overseas visit to Ireland and a 2015 pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Mr McCarthy said.
“Following the pilgrimage she took the initiative in instigating a reunion of pilgrims.”
Mr McCarthy added that Ms Casey lived in central Christchurch until her home was severely damaged in the February, 2011 earthquake.
In 2001, she produced an illustrated history of the first 50 years of St Paul’s parish, Dallington.
In 2012 she edited another parish history called Seismic Upheaval, which included the destruction of St Paul’s church and the loss of the parish and school site as much of the local area was turned into a red zone.
At a requiem Mass at St Gregory’s church in Mairehau on May 26, Ms Casey’s brother Noel Casey recalled that she was born in Oamaru and was dux of St Thomas High School.
She also topped New Zealand in Pitmans shorthand exams.
She entered the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary and, after completing teacher training in Wellington, she taught in Auckland before spending 5 years teaching in Tonga.
Ms Casey left the sisters, resumed her commercial practice in Auckland and later moved to Christchurch.
“After completion of a university course in journalism, Kathleen became a prolific writer offering a range of reporting, life stories and historic reports,” Mr Casey said.
He also noted his sister’s love of the outdoors, swimming, tramping, and music.
“Kathleen loved Irish music and regularly played her Irish drum she had brought from Ireland at the local Irish pub in the city,” he said.
“Kathleen was a very devout Catholic, she was kind and had great empathy for relatives and people. She was proactive visiting her friends and arranging regular lunch groups. She liked to keep in touch with her nieces and nephews, often travelling to visit them within New Zealand.
“Kathleen had difficulties, but she remained a very motivated and ordered person who is now able to travel free from the burdens of her life.”
Sr Bertha, who knew Ms Casey from her time in the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, also spoke briefly at the funeral.
Ms Casey’s niece Jane Casey spoke about her aunt’s love of travel and mentioned the various countries she had visited.
“Heaven now has another gentle, kind, loving soul,” Jane Casey said. “Hopefully it’s a heaven with some good Irish pubs that play drums and music. Hopefully it’s a heaven that lets her write happy stories to her heart’s content.”