An Anglican Religious Community
for Women

OHP Priory and Chapel Inside OHP Chapel

Sr. Olive RIP

Sr. Olive RIP

Olive was born on 23rd June 1926 in London - Christened Jean Olive Penman

Her Father Thomas was a chartered accountant and her Mother Beatrice Mary –was a housewife and mother as was the norm in those days. Olive had one older brother also called Thomas

As a youngster, Olive remembered attending Sunday School at the local Congregational Church and Day School for Olive was the Local primary until 1936 when she then moved on to North London Collegiate School until Christmas 1939 when she was then evacuated to Dorchester in Kent

She didn’t stay long as In January 1940 returned home where her father had joined the Home Guard

In London Olive attended St. Matthias’s where she was confirmed and then taught in the Sunday School and later formed a Youth Club at the request of the vicar

Olive went back to North London Collegiate School till 1944 taking her O and A-level examinations in the school air-raid shelter - then to Goldsmiths College which was temporarily evacuated to Nottingham throughout the war –

On one occasion Olive and her friend were at the cinema watching “Gone with the Wind” when an air-raid began – folk were advised to go down to the cinema’s shelter but Olive and Doreen ignored it and stayed watching the film to the very end! T Goldsmiths Olive Trained as a Primary School Teacher

She Taught in Dudley and also back in London at her former Primary School

During Christmas holidays 1947 Olive had a strong feeling thatGod had something special in store for her – whilst saying her prayers one night she confronted God saying “Well, what do you want me to do?” and he replied, “Go and be a nun!”

Olive didn’t know that C of E had nuns so she asked her vicar if there was and could she continue as a teacher? His reply was yes to both question and that his wife had been to a convent school which turned out to be St. Hilda's here at the Castle.

Olive Joined the community on 28th March 1948 and became

novice along with 15 other sisters – Barbara Maude being one of them. When Olive was professed it was as the first triplet profession – usually twins – along with Lillian Mary and Francis Claire

Notable dates

1951-62 – Headmistress of St. Wilfred’s Village School Hickleton, near Doncaster in South Yorkshire

Passed grade 8 Piano having been taught by Sr. Edith 1963-65 – Cape Coast, Ghana

1965-70 St Michaels school Leigh on Sea in Essex 1970 returned to St Hidas to teach Maths

Olive’s mum Beatrice, moved to Whitby and Olive cared for her until she died and then Olive decided to learn new skills and began classes in Woodwork at Caedmon School and then metalwork with Bob Bennet at Whitby School (Now the Community College) Bob soon discovered that Olive was not only a talented craftsman but also really good company and she integrated quickly into the class and was soon very popular with the other members. This was the era of the SCOOTER – so many people remember and associate Olive with the scooter!

One of the things that she made was a wrought-iron candle snuffer for Westminster Abbey!

Olive made the gate leading to the Rose Garden and a sack barrow (still regularly in use)and was an amazingly useful maker and repairer of all sorts of things for her Sisters and the homes they shared both here in Whitby and anywhere else that she was sent

Some infirmary staff memories of Sr. Olive.

Sr. Olive had a really good sense of humour and shared many stories with the care staff. One of the most memorable of these stories was how on the train on her way to join the order-.-she smoked-her last cigarette and applied her-bright red lipstick knowing it would be the last time she would do these things.

She would also tell staff about the very unfortunate incident when a good little boy in her class somehow managed to get "the stick" from the headmaster.

Sr. Olive had wanted the cane to place on her desk as a deterrent. She, therefore, asked the little boy to go to the headmaster and ask him for the cane. Sadly the head had erroneously thought the boy had misbehaved and was in need of punishment, and so the poor little boy was indeed given the cane. It was the fact that the little boy was so such a good little boy that Sr. Olive found so amusing.

It should be pointed out that Sr. Olive did say that at the time she was very sorry about this unfortunate incident.

The care staff may have cared for Sr. Olive, but Sr. Olive in her

own way cared for the staff.

She was always so very interested in anything that was going on in other people's lives. She would ask after us and our families when she knew of any issues we might have. She would always remember us and those close to us in her prayers; this was greatly appreciated by me and I'm sure by other staff too.

Anything we ever did for Sr. Olive was always met by, not just 'thank you', but we were thanked over and over again. Sr.-was always so very grateful for everything that we did for her, and this was made our job so very rewarding.

It wasn't too long ago that Sr. Olive informed me that she was going to live until she was 116; I believe she had been listening to something on her radio that had given her the idea. At the time it seemed like she might just do that, but sadly it wasn't to be and she will be so greatly missed by all the Infirmary staff.

Whenever Olive found life hard – she stopped and reminded

herself of God’s words to her – “Go and be a Nun!”

← Back to News