Maher, Mary Cecilia (1799–1878)

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Maher, Mary Cecilia (1799–1878)

New Zealand nun, teacher, and social worker. Name variations: Ellen Maher. Born Ellen Maher, Sept 13, 1799, in Co. Kilkenny, Ireland; died Oct 10, 1878, in Auckland, New Zealand; dau. of John Maher (farmer) and Adelaide Maher; St. Leo's Convent, Carlow, Ireland.

Took vows (1840); was among 1st group of women religious to arrive in New Zealand (1850); administered existing schools, later founded a boarding school for girls from affluent families, and school for Maori girls; tended to social needs of community during goldrush period in Auckland; established new convent for Auckland Sisters of Mercy (1862).

See also Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (Vol. 1).