Sister Zelma and an art student painting a banner in Peru.
In 1968, she answered the call to serve as a missionary in Peru. Sister Zelma did pastoral work and created and taught liturgical art in Chiclayo, Cajamarca, and Ilo, Peru. In 2005, she retired from her ministries and moved back to Nova Scotia, where she continued making art until her death a year later.
In addition to earning her BA in Religious Studies from Mount Saint Vincent University and a teaching degree, Sister Zelma also studied plastic arts at Concordia University in Montreal in 1974-1975. She dabbled in drawing, painting, wood sculptures, mosaics, painting rocks, stained glass windows, banners, and woodcuts. Frequent subjects of her works of art were flowers, Peruvian campesinos (farm workers), and religious imagery, especially Mary, St. Vincent de Paul, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.