A Kiwi nun who dedicated her life to missionary work has died in a car accident in France.

Sister Maureen McBride, 63, died in Amberieu after suffering a medical event which caused the car she was driving to crash into oncoming traffic.

She was formerly congregational leader of the worldwide Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions for 12 years.

Sister Maureen was travelling from Lyon Airport back to St Rambert, where the sisters have attended the Abbey for almost 70 years as a place of pilgrimage, spirituality and retreat.


A male passenger in the car suffered leg and chest injuries and was taken to hospital in Amberieu.

Current congregation leader Sister Josephine Kane wrote a letter to the sisters on Sunday (NZT) sharing the sad news.

"It is with great sadness and shock that we share the news that Maureen McBride has died in a car accident this morning in Amberieu which is about 15 minutes from St Rambert. She has just taken Patricia Boyd to the train station and Dorothy Noronha to Lyon Airport and she was on her way back to St Rambert, it seems that Maureen has suffered a medical event and has a crash."

Sister Maureen was in France last month for the Formator's Gathering, welcoming newcomers to the order, which took place in St Rambert from October 1 to 29.

In 2015, Sister Maureen was asked by her congregation to contribute to a spirituality centre in France. She was also based in Rome for some time.

The nun taught German and religious studies at Sacred Heart College in Wellington for seven years from 1979 to 1986. During that time, she taught the current school principal Maria Potter.

"She was a great teacher who had a passion for languages that was infectious," Potter said.

"She is also fondly remembered as the nun that played netball and we loved seeing her at the Taita netball courts on a Saturday morning in her netball uniform - quite different from how we saw her at school. She was a fierce competitor and a force to be reckoned with on the court."

Potter said Sister Maureen left the school to pursue her passion of mission however visited a few times in recent years.

"She was an outstanding person, leader, and teacher with an expansive heart for mission."

The congregation has over 1000 members more than 20 countries across the world. They work with marginalised people in countries including the Philippines, South Sudan, Laos and Kazakhstan.

In 1992, Sister Maureen was missioned to the Philippines where she taught at Notre Dame University in Mindanao and was appointed as director of the Peace Education Centre.

She was later appointed novice director, then regional leader in the Philippines.

Sister Maureen had a Master of Arts in French and German and a Master of Theology from the Maryknoll School of Theology in New York.