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News > School news > Remembering the inspirational life of Sister Christopher

Remembering the inspirational life of Sister Christopher

Sr. Christopher, a beacon of light and optimism, has completed her earthly journey. As we reflect and celebrate her, we share key moments in her remarkable life.
21 Sep 2023
School news
17 December 1916 – 28 July 2023 (aged 106)
17 December 1916 – 28 July 2023 (aged 106)

Memorial Service

Sister Christopher was such a valued member of our history and our community and we are honoured to have been invited to host a Memorial Service in the School Chapel for her on Friday 3 November at 4:30 pm followed by a celebratory afternoon tea in the Headmistress’ study. 

If you would like to come to this service, please contact Emma Hanbury


Sr. Christopher, a beacon of light and optimism, has completed her earthly journey. Her life was marked by a deep longing for God, and she frequently expressed her care and compassion for humanity. Even in her moments of solitude and physical decline, her love for those around her never dwindled. As we at St Mary’s reflect and celebrate Sr. Christopher, we share key moments in her remarkable life.

Born in England in 1916, her journey began with her conversion to the Catholic faith at the age of 12 in 1928. This path eventually led her to a Catholic school in Cambridge, which was under the guidance of the Mary Ward sisters.

Despite facing personal tragedy with the loss of her elder brother in an awful accident at the age of 21, Sr. Christopher remained steadfast in her faith and began contemplating religious life. In 1934, after completing her schooling, she joined the convent at Ascot. Three years later, she pursued a degree in science at Reading University, and successfully completed her studies just as the Second World War unfolded. Her teaching career began in St Mary’s School Cambridge, where she had once been a student herself. Her dedication led her to become the Headmistress, a role she held for 32 years.

This period of 56 years marked the first chapter of her extraordinary life.

A Glimpse into Sr. Christopher's Impact:

Sr. Christopher had a remarkable impact on former students. Students recall the warmth and affection with which Sr. Christopher welcomed them and that her influence extended far beyond the classroom: she continued to support her students even into adulthood. She was referred to as a great woman, a faithful Christian, and a skilled scientist. Her ability to ignite a passion for learning in her students left a lasting impression.

A Second Chapter in Zimbabwe:

When Sr. Christopher moved on from St Mary’s her journey was far from over. In 1972, she embarked on a new adventure, leaving behind her life of over five decades in England to start anew in Zimbabwe. There, she joined the growing community of Mary Ward sisters, alongside Sr. Joanna Dessain. This transition was not without its challenges, as Sr. Christopher had to leave behind the familiar and embrace the unknown but her bravery, determination and passion is still an inspiration for young women today.

In Zimbabwe, she enthusiastically embraced her role as a teacher, focusing on Chemistry and Maths.

In 1975, she became a Novice Director, introducing novices to the congregation and leaving a legacy of warmth and affection. Her approach to formation work was characterised by her welcoming spirit and the moments of light-heartedness she created.

Throughout her life, Sr. Christopher was a teacher, a formator, and a librarian. She had a passion for building libraries in various places, emphasising the importance of reading and expanding horizons for young women and boys alike - her dedication to books and learning remains a valuable lesson.

Her Grateful Heart:

Sr. Christopher's gratitude was a hallmark of her life. She lived an honourable life, filled with gratitude for others and for all she had received.

In 2021, she wrote: 

"I am now spending most of my time in prayer. I find joy and consolation in my prayers. I am praying for good strong vocations and for all the young ones to continue the work. I pray for each member of the Region every day..."

Her dedication to prayer and her devotion to the congregation remained unwavering.

As she entered her final chapter, Sr. Christopher taught us how to pursue our passions, make an impact and show compassion to others. She leaves behind a legacy of joy, gratitude, and unwavering faith.

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