Tag Archives: doreen marie frandi

This page, including text and images, is Copyright To Anne Frandi-Coory
All Rights Reserved 6 August 2015
Excerpts from a letter sent  to Anne Frandi-Coory by Sister Bernadette Mary, Archivist
Home of Compassion, Island Bay Wellington, New Zealand.

February 2002

Dear Anne

In response to your enquiry about the time your mother spent as a novice with the Sisters of Compassion, the following is what I have found in the Convent’s Register:

Your mother was 19 years old when she entered the Convent at Island Bay on the 7th December 1939 as a postulant. This is a kind of probationary period to find out whether or not a person is suited to the religious life. There was a separate wing set out as the Novitiate in the red brick building which had been built in the early 1930s, and was where all the novices were trained.


Novitiate Home of Compassion

Sisters of Compassion Convent (Image and text Sister Bernadette Mary)


A note made four months later, in April 1940, reveals that the Novice Mistress found Doreen to be a very highly strung person, but her manner was always pleasant. By July, Doreen always seemed to be worried about her family at home, especially her mother. However, she wanted to become a novice and looked forward to her reception into the Novitiate, the next stage of training to be a Sister of Compassion.

In July Doreen had to write to the Superior General asking to be admitted into the Novitiate, and giving her reasons for wanting to do so; that is the usual procedure. Apparently she was formally accepted, for on 15th  September  1940 she was received as a novice, together with four other young women. She was given the name Sister Mary Martina.


Home of Compassion

Postulants wore a black dress, cape and hat, Novices in white veils as on the front left of photo.  Sisters’ habits were navy blue with  light blue piping. (Image: Sister Bernadette Mary)


We all had to go through the same kind of training that Doreen would have had during her postulancy and Novitiate days, and although looking back, things were hard, we were never unhappy or abused in any way. Most of the time we were kept very busy indeed, either working in the laundry or caring for the babies and children, which didn’t give us much free time for idleness, I can tell you from experience.


Original Home of Compassion

(Image and text: Sister Bernadette Mary)


At the age of twenty Doreen requested to go home and subsequently left the Convent on 16th November 1940. There are no further comments in the Register. Any medical records were returned to Doreen when she left and there is no record of her being sick or having a nervous breakdown during her eleven months at the Convent.

I believe that Doreen often came to visit the Sisters after she had left the Sisters of Compassion. She rode out to the Convent on her bicycle which she had named ‘Martina’.

Yours Sincerely

Sister Bernadette Mary


Doreen & friend

Anne Frandi-Coory’s mother Doreen on right of photo (Image: Parkhill Collection)


The old Home of Compassion and Convent were demolished in the 1980s.

Read More: Letters To Anne Frandi-Coory


Origins Of The Italian Surname ‘Mansi’

This page and its contents, including all images, is Copyright To Anne Frandi-Coory All Rights Reserved 23 November 2013


Manzo Coat of Arms

Original Manzo Coat of Arms

Raffaela Ishtar Arts

Raffaela Marisi Mansi Grego

… Since doing research for my book ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?‘ I have become fascinated with the origins of surnames. … … My maternal great grandmother’s maiden name is recorded on original documents as Raffaela Marisi Mansi and her father’s name as Johannis Mansi (possibly reflecting Austrian origins).  It’s likely that Raffaela’s mother’s family name was the Italian Marisi. Raffaela was raped by a Catholic Priest in Rome when she was 13 years old. She was sent to London in disgrace when she became pregnant as a result of the rape. … … creating ripples which affected the fortunes of succeeding generations.


Raffaela Marisi Mansi

Raffaela Marisi Mansi Grego

… The first Italian records showing variations of the surname Mansi were found in Venetia, northern Italy. The region of Venetia is named for the Veneti, a race related to the Illyrians who allied themselves with the ancient Romans and consequently prospered. From this famous region in Italy, the name Manzo, or Manso, emerges. Research shows that it is Germanic in origin and means ‘strength’. It is believed that the name became Italianized over time with various spellings according to dialect. For example, documents can be found in Friuli dating as far back as 1083, with such names as Patriarca di Aquileia Volserico Manzano. The history of the Venetia region begins with the invasion of the Ostrogoths and Vandals under Attila the Hun in the mid 5th Century CE.


The most famous city in the region is Venice which was created on the island of Rialto as a refuge for those fleeing from Attila and his army. The city of Venice remained a refuge for many centuries. After the Lombardi invasion of Italy in the 6th Century, more fled to its relative safety. Venice became a fully fledged city in the 8th Century when Duke Orso was elected and supported by Pope Gregory. However, it wasn’t until the Frankish invasion that Venice felt a true sense of unity, when an alliance was formed in order to retain its independence. In the 9th Century, while Charlemagne was king of Italy, the Eastern Emperor Nicephorus was lord over Venice. Thus Venice retained closer alliances with the East than with the rest of Europe. Venice became a religious rival of Rome when it received the remains of St Mark, for whom the Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco and the Piazza San Marco are so named. … ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. The famous winged lion, which is considered to be the emblem of Venice, was originally the emblem of St Mark. Venice proved itself to be an economically strong city, noteworthy for its trade overseas and as a gateway to the major trade centres of Central Europe. It also maintained diplomatic ties with the East. Various forms of the surname gradually moved down the peninsula: Manzi, Manzo, Mansi, Manzano, Manzoni, Manzonni, Manzonno, Manzina, Manzino, Manzini, Mansone, Manzolino, Manzolina, Manzone, Manzano, Manzoli, to name a few variations. Artistic prosperity was one of the most important features of Venetian history. Many of the most famous painters in the history of art come from this region. The earliest Coat of Arms for the Manzo dynasty displays a blue shield with a lion holding a bull’s head and three fleur de lis. Prominent members who share the Manzo/Manso heritage include Torpe di Federico del Manzone of Sicily, a priest in Pisa for seven years. His son acquired the position after his death. Pierangelo Manzoli (Marcello Stellato) a poet and philosopher 1500 – c.1543 Cianciano Manzano was commander of the castle of Manzano the remains of which still stand in Friuli. The Manzini family of Modeno was one of the most powerful families in the city during the medieval period. Alessandro Manzoni was born in Milan in 1785. He was a poet and novelist of noble blood and wrote the historical novel I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed)  published in 1827. It is regarded as the most famous and widely read novel in the Italian language.  In 1860, Manzoni was elected senator for the Kingdom of Italy. Pope Benedicto XlV born Prospero Lorenzo in Bologna 1675 to Marcello Lambertini. He died in Rome in 1758. He was a descendant of the Mansi family.  See more: Pope Benedict XlV Lucida Mansi was a descendent of wealthy silk merchants and her family home, the Mansi Palace, still stands today in Lucca, Italy, as a museum owned by the state since 1957.  For more about the legend of Lucida Mansi see Silhouette in Bagni Di Lucca In 1680 the marriage between Arlo Mansi and Eleonora Pepoli, from a wealthy Bolognese family, increased the riches of the Mansi family. This was the first familial Roman/Italian connection with the Germanic Mansi clan. The Mansi family’s commercial enterprises sold silks, and other fabrics throughout France, Italy and Germany. The first members of the Mansi family arrived in Italy from Saxony in the 11th Century. ….

See Here: Frandi; My Fascination With Italian Surnames Part 2

Excerpt from ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?; A Passionate Quest To Find Answers For Generations Of Defeated Mothers’ 

The following letters were written by Anne Frandi Albert to her niece, Anne Frandi-Coory, following the death of her mother, Doreen Marie Frandi.  Anne Albert died in 2001 shortly after writing the last of several letters to her niece, but if she had not met her niece at Doreen’s funeral. the two would not have known each other and there is so much about Doreen’s life that her daughter would never have discovered.


***This page is copyright to author Anne Frandi-Coory. No text or photograph can be copied or downloaded from this page without the written permission of Anne Frandi-Coory.***


Doreen Maria Betty Anne

Doreen Frandi, Maria Frandi (mother of the other 3 women) Betty Gentz, Anne Albert





Letter from Anne Albert 2


Doreen was such a beautiful child that on the ship which brought her, her brother and parents to New Zealand, a genuine childless couple offered her parents money to allow them to adopt her.  Doreen had a cloud of bright red curls that framed her pretty face.  How different Doreen’s life would have been had the adoption gone ahead.  Life within the Alfredo Frandi family was an uneasy one, so inclined was he to uncontrollable bouts of violent rage, during which he would throw furniture around the room and punch holes in doors.  Often it was his wife, Maria, a pale and nervous woman,  who felt the force of his fists.  Maria was in a perpetual state of acute anxiety and her concern about their lack of money exacerbated this state.  Alfredo was a labourer and work was hard to come by.  They had four children they could barely feed and clothe so any subsequent  pregnancies were aborted  with a knitting needle.  Unfortunately, as the oldest daughter, Doreen was needed to assist with the cleaning up after these procedures.  Maria had no conception of the trauma this was causing her daughter, and which was to haunt Doreen for the rest of her life.

When Doreen was sixteen years old, I was born, but I have never quite known why I was not aborted.  I can only suppose that my mother may have been experiencing symptoms of the menopause and may have been unaware of the pregnancy in  time.  So unexpected was my birth, that an apple crate was all that my parents had to lay me in.  Doreen was thrilled about the new baby and set about lining the crate with material and making it look pretty for me.  This was the beginning of Doreen’s devotion to me which was to last all her life.

Doreen was a very gentle girl and she was a help to her mother in caring for  the younger children, but she loathed house work of any kind.  She was adept at shopping for bargains and was a very good sewer.  Catholicism began to influence her life early on, as it brought her a peace and beauty so missing from her home environment.  Significantly, the nuns at the convent school she attended, recognized her potential for a vocation and one nun, Sister Anne, encouraged Doreen all she could to think about entering the convent.  As Doreen approached womanhood she exhibited no interest in boys or other worldly things, so firmly were her sights set of becoming a Catholic nun.  Alfredo was dead against his eldest daughter becoming a nun and turned the house upside down to show how much he detested the very idea.  This turmoil only made her more determined, and after a short time working in a department store and following her debut at the annual charity ball, for which she made her own stunning gown,  Doreen entered the convent. 


Doreen's debut

Doreen’s Debut in the dress she made herself


Initially Doreen loved her life as a nun, but after almost a year of doing nothing but housework, she asked if she could train as a nurse.  Her wish was to care for severely handicapped children.  However, her request was greeted with profound disapproval because to actually ask to be able to do what one wanted, was against the very  strict rules of the convent  as well as a denial of the vow of absolute obedience.  Doreen was severely reprimanded and as a result sunk into a deep depression.  The nuns could not understand Doreen’s depression;  they believed that if you had a true vocation faith was enough to protect you from such things.  They then put pressure on Doreen constantly questioning her commitment to her vocation.  Doreen became hysterical which appalled the nuns, and they subsequently demanded that her mother remove her from the convent.  They could not know that bi polar disorder was manifesting itself in Doreen and would consequently ruin her life.

Doreen recovered very slowly from her first breakdown but she was devastated that her vocation was at an end and that she had broken her vow to God.  Doreen did  finally find acceptance and there followed a succession of jobs, which began a pattern set for the rest of her life;  employment interspersed with breakdowns.  In the 1940’s not much was known about bi polar disorder nor were there any satisfactory drugs available at the time.  Doreen was then subjected to countless ECT treatments without anaesthetic which really amounted to torture.  Around this time Doreen’s Aunt Italia, Alfredo’s only sister who was then 70 years of age, decided to take more of an interest in her niece. Italia  regaled Doreen with stories of the privileged   life the Frandi family lived in Italy before they arrived in New Zealand [Italia was born in Pisa, Italy in 1869]. Aristodemo, Italia’s father, had to flee Italy because he was a political agitator alongside Garibaldi, and Italia showed Doreen the fine silver and linen they had brought over with them.  Italia also dazzled Doreen with stories about the family riding in a grand carriage and people bowed with respect for them. Whenever  Doreen  was in the manic phase of her illness, she had illusions of grandeur, and would repeat all that her aunt had told her about their previous  life in Italy.  In these early stages of her illness, Doreen would spend money she did not have and would charge up accounts to her Aunt Italia and sometimes even stay in expensive hotels, all charged against her aunt’s name.  Following these episodes Doreen would then sink into the depths of depression. 

Shortly before the end of the war Doreen joined the Air Force.  It was while she was in  the Force that Doreen met the father of her first child, Kevin. Phillip Coory  neglected  to mention that he was already married with a young  son, Vas, until Doreen informed him  that she was pregnant.  Phillip Coory  believed at the time that that was the end of the matter and he had rid himself of her, but then his brother Joseph came on the scene.  Joseph was a kind and simple man, who did his best to make Doreen happy.  Sadly, his family conspired  against Doreen from the outset; perhaps they did not approve of her good looks or the way the marriage came about.  The marriage ended in disaster;  Joseph was not her intellectual equal and her illness would have been extremely difficult to live with. About three years after their marriage Anne was born and eighteen months later, came Anthony.  Following a severe bout of  bi polar disorder, the children were taken from her and placed in an Orphanage for the Poor in South Dunedin.

The permanent loss of  her children caused Doreen great anguish from which she never really recovered.  In later years she had contact with her daughter Anne, but Doreen was never able to accept that the child did not blame her mother for her abandonment.  Years later, her youngest son, Anthony moved to Wellington to live, but that feeling of guilt never left her and obviously prevented her from having an emotional relationship with her son, although he did make a futile attempt at it.  Doreen and Kevin lived a life of great hardship and near poverty, with Doreen frequently suffering nervous breakdowns, which culminated in her being  admitted to Porirua Psychiatric Hospital.  Kevin had to learn to deal with his mother’s extreme mood swings from a very early age which made his young life intolerable at times.  I have no idea how she coped during those years but I am sure that sometimes  she must have prayed for death, yet through it all her faith in God  never wavered and carried her through until the day she died.

At the peak of her loneliness, Doreen met a man, Edward Stringer, and spent a night with him.  Of course, given her luck, or lack thereof, it ended in pregnancy.  During the weeks after the birth of her daughter, Florence, and suffering from depression, Doreen signed adoption papers for her daughter.  Sometime later, Edward and Doreen met up again, and with the sole intention of getting her daughter back, she married Edward.  Heartbreakingly for Doreen, it was much too late; the adoption was quite legal and binding. Once again life had defeated Doreen and during a severe bout of mania, Edward left, unable to cope with his new wife’s disorder.  From this, there followed a period of dreariness, when Doreen and Kevin lived in a state house at 56 Hewer Crescent Naenae, Lower Hutt in Wellington, and she obtained a reasonably stable job in a factory close by.  At least the disorder left Doreen in peace for an extended period, in which Doreen developed a love of cats, and she had up to six at one time or another.

Kevin started up a very successful restaurant, Bacchus, in Courtney Place in Wellington.  Doreen was employed by Kevin in the kitchen of the restaurant, and she appeared to enjoy her time there.  Sadly her mother died on 10 March 1980, which caused Doreen to have another nervous breakdown.  Following her recovery, Doreen retired from work and moved into a council flat in Daniell Street, Newtown in Wellington.  During this time, she appeared to me to be doing no more than going through the motions of living.  My heart ached to see her like that, with no apparent interest in anything.  Kevin’s bankruptcy and his consequent  permanent move to Sydney, took the utmost toll on her spiritual well being.  Doreen then lapsed into a serious bout of her  disorder, suffering yet another complete nervous breakdown, and she was admitted once again to Porirua Hospital for a considerable time.

I have no doubt whatsoever, that it was not only Doreen’s manic depressive illness that had such a destructive effect on her life.  I sincerely believe that she carried guilt feelings from her experiences as a young girl,  witnessing  her mother’s self inflicted abortions, made worse by Doreen’s Catholic beliefs.       I realized this to be true, with great clarity, when I visited her at the hospital during her final stay there in 1995. She led me out into the hospital gardens, and pointed to a bed of purple pansies in bloom.  “There you see” she told me with infinite sadness, “there are all the little babies”  – Anne Albert.


Letter from Anne Albert 3


Copy of Doreen's headstone

Whenua Tapu cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand


Read more here:My Mother Was A Catholic Nun 


Doreen’s Children….


Kevin Coory

Anne and Anthony at first Santa photo session

Anne and Anthony Coory


Florence – adopted out (now Hudayani Gleeson)








Vincent aka Bruce 2

Bruce – adopted out (now Bruce McKenzie)












More:  ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar? – A Passionate Quest To Find Answers For Generations Of Defeated Mothers’

Below: Catholic orphanage, schools & boarding college complex in Adelaide Road South Dunedin which also included the Sisters of Mercy convent, as described in Anne Frandi-Coory’s book:

‘Whatever Happened to Ishtar?’

***All text and photographs on this page are copyright to Anne Frandi-Coory. No text or photographs can be downloaded or copied without the written permission of the author.***



A Passionate Quest To Fine Answers For Generations Of Defeated Mothers

You can buy an autographed copy of this book directly from the author:







St Philomena's Dormitory

Rear view of St Philomena’s Dormitory (for older girls) shortly before it was demolished. Anne lived here for a short time before being sent to St Dominic’s Boarding College at 9 years. (Photo:copyright to afcoory)


St Philomena's Dormitory 2

The long remembered narrow sashes and fire escapes. (Photo:copyright to afcoory)


four nuns 001

Carmody sisters: Sister Christopher, right (Anne Frandi-Coory’s ‘foster mother’ & nursery supervisor) with her three biological sisters. (Photo: Sister Joanna)


St Patrick's school & chapel

St Patrick’s Primary School and Chapel in the Mercy Orphanage complex where Anne & Kevin began their first year at school. (Photo: Sister Joanna)



Anne (3rd row from front, 2nd left), in St Patrick’s School group photo; most were day pupils. (Photo: Joseph Coory copyright to afcoory)


St Agnes' Nursery

St Agnes’ Nursery where Kevin, Anne, Anthony, were placed as infants. (Photo: copyright to afcoory)


St Vincent's

St Vincent’s building which housed the orphanage kitchen & dining room. On the left, the same tree in which Anne saw the never forgotten black mother cat & kittens, while she lived at the orphanage. (Photo: copyright to afcoory)

BELOW: The Catholic St Joseph’s Boys’ Home, 133-135 Doon Street,  Otago Peninsula. The Boys’ Home, when my brothers lived there,  was surrounded by farmland owned by the Catholic Church (This building now serves as a students’ and nuns’ hostel)

St Joseph's Boys' Home Waverley 5

Front entrance to St Joseph’s Orphanage for boys at Waverley, Otago Peninsula; home to Kevin & Anthony at various times. (Photo: copyright to afcoory)

Rear view St Joseph's Boys' Home Waverley overlooking Harbour

Rear view of St Joseph’s Orphanage overlooking Otago Harbour. (Photo: Copyright to afcoory)


BELOW: St Dominic’s Boarding College, surrounded by St Joseph’s Cathedral, St Joseph’s Primary School and Christian Brothers’ establishment.


St Dominic's College

Imposing view of St Dominic’s Boarding College at the top of Rattray Street, Dunedin. (This building was one of the first to be built totally in concrete, in the Southern Hemisphere. (Photo: copyright to afcoory)


St Joseph's Cathedral, St Dominic's College, St Joseph's Primary School

Another view of the Dominican complex & St Joseph’s Cathedral (photo: copyright to afcoory)



Rear view of St Dominic’s boarding complex behind the Cathedral (photo: copyright to afcoory)



St Dominic’s entrance to the boarding college kitchen and dining room; day pupils could also have their lunch there if their parents paid.(Photo: copyright to afcoory)


St Joseph's Cathedral & St Dominic's College

Dunedin Lebanese Citadel viewed from Rattray Street: St Joseph’s Cathedral & St Dominic’s Boarding College (Photo:copyright to afcoory)


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