Sr. Francis Xavier – Pauline Knight
of Dublin, Ireland
who died at Llantarnam Abbey
on 15th December 2021
aged 82 years, 61 of Religious Profession.
Pauline was born on 14th June 1939 in Dublin. Her childhood was spent in Kildare with her parents and with her brother Frank. She completed her leaving certificate in June 1958 at the Presentation Secondary School. She proved herself to be highly intelligent. She went to the Gaeltoch to learn Irish and received the fainne.
In 1954 she did a fulltime secretarial course at the vocational School in Kildare.
Sr. Francis loved Kildare and the Curragh but she chose to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph on 12th September 1958, the feast of the Holy Name of Mary. Sr. Mary Michael was in her group and has given detailed information about these early days. Only Sr. Mary Michael and Sr. Francis Xavier remained from that first group. Five others entered later, only Sister Raymond remains of that second group.
Pauline wanted to go to the missions so the only way to do this was to go to Annecy. Hence Pauline only stayed for 9 months at the Abbey before going to France in June 1959. All the stages of the entry into religious life then took place in Annecy;
First Vows 15th September 1960 and Final Profession on 10th September 1964. While in France she looked after boarders and learnt to speak French.
Sr. Mary Michael met her briefly when Sr. Francis was on her way to India.
By 1966 she was in India where she stayed until 1995. She got to know the communities well and worked in the school office in Waltair. In 1968 she taught French in Kakinda. She was in Community in Bangalore, Cuttack, the Fort, Madras and Kakinda. She spent much of her time caring for the boarders, helping in the schools and parishes. She engaged with the various languages. Sadly her mother died while she was away. The Sisters in India remember her great kindness and enthusiasm.
So after 30 years in India, Sister she went to the Gambia for one year in 1995. After this a year off, and then to Senegal and she then returned to the English Province
In 1998 she went to Morden. She maintained her interest in the life of the Asian community in the area.
From 2000 Sr. spent time between the Abbey and Chepstow Road Community.
Sr. was so happy to be able to connect with her family in Ireland after so many years away. They helped and supported her. She was very sad when her father died and later her brother Frank. She kept in touch with Liz, Frank’s wife, and the younger family members.
In February 2003 she was missioned to help in what was the Holy Family Community, now called St. Joseph’s Wing, giving support to the older Sisters.
Sister continued her learning and did a course at Lampeter University along with Fr. Peter who celebrated the Requiem Mass.
Her health deteriorated and she needed more support. Eventually she became a full-time member of St. Joseph’s Wing. She enjoyed her 80th Birthday celebration with Liz and the family who came over from Ireland. More care was needed and Sr. was fully dependent on others. After previous times of turmoil Sr. Francis was peaceful. It came as a shock that she should die so quickly on the morning of 15th December 2021.
Sr. Francis Xavier lived out the mission she felt called to as a young person. She gave much energy to all her placements in India and Africa and in her later years the English Province. We pray that she may be at rest.