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Ready for life at 96

Dawn Gibson
Saturday, January 18, 2014

FROM the windy outlooks of Dublin to clutching rosaries during turbulent World War II air raids and finally to her peaceful home in Suva, Sister Angela has embraced some of life's greatest curveballs with determined courage.

And at the age of 96, she is ready for whatever else life has in store as she prepares to celebrate her 97th birthday next week at the St Joseph of Cluny home in Suva.

Sister Angela has dedicated over 40 years of her life to teaching in schools around the country — mathematics, religion and the occasional English lesson, and she has no doubt touched the lives of thousands of Fijians.

When she first stepped foot on Fiji soil, she was 50 years of age and "still sharp as anything" she described in an interview yesterday morning.

"I was missioned to Fiji in 1967 and I begun teaching in St Joseph's for six years," Sister Angela said.

"I must thank God for a long, healthy life and for giving me the chance to be able to help as many as I could through my teaching and my messages."

And by "many", she was not exaggerating.

Sister Angela has taught all over the world — Ireland, France, England, Sierra Leone, Cook Islands, parts of Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Fiji.

"That's the beauty of being a religious person — there are so many lives to be touched. I was six years in Fiji for a start and I was very happy here, I loved teaching the girls. They were very responsive and always very polite.

"I was then sent to the Cook Islands where I taught for five or six years then came back to Fiji in 1980 and up to the present, which makes a total of 40 years."

Sister Angela was a very keen maths teacher and thoroughly enjoyed spreading the Word of God when she travelled, saying it was what kept her going.

But after her voice began becoming weak, teaching became difficult to do, and she officially retired two years ago.

She will turn 97 years on January 25.

"And now I prepare to move onto another life.

"I am so blessed."

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