It was the end of an era for St Mary’s College in Ponsonby, Auckland when thelast Sister of Mercy on the school’s staff, Sr Priscilla Kohlhase, retired from her ministry there.
St Mary’s principal Bernadette Stockman said Sr Priscilla was farewelled on August 25, with a video tribute and prayers at an afternoon organised by the students.
The function was also held to thank the Mercy Sisters for the legacy created at the college.
“For 168 years there has been a Sister of Mercy on the staff, and this will end as we now farewell Sr Priscilla,” said Mrs Stockman. “What legacy these incredible women have created — tens of thousands of young women and even a few men — who have walked in through the doors of St Mary’s, to leave eventually with hearts of Mercy.”
Sr Priscilla joined the Sisters of Mercy at age 19 and worked as a teacher and principal in Mercy schools in Auckland and Samoa.
She became the first sister to be campus chaplain at St Mary’s College and held the role for 16 years.
Although she is leaving the college, Sr Priscilla will be taking on a new role in charge of hospitality for the sisters, who will soon be moving into new apartments being built across the driveway from the school.
“While we will miss having a Mercy sister on the staff, we are secure in the knowledge that our close connection to the Mercy Sisters will stay strong. We have such an advantage by sharing the same property as St Catherine’s Rest Home, the Mercy Hospice and the Mercy administration,” added Mrs Stockman.
She reiterated the school’s gratitude to Sr Priscilla and the Mercy Sisters.
“We owe them so very much, and their legacy lives on within us all, at St Mary’s and beyond,” she said.