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07 Jul 2022

Special celebration in Limerick estate to mark departure of Mercy Sisters after 45 years

Special celebration in Limerick estate to mark departure of Mercy Sisters after 45 years

Michael Shehan, Sr Anne McCarthy and Bishop Leahy. Pictured below is Eileen Sheehan, Sr Anne McCarthy and Geraldine Ryan

THE Bishop of Limerick has praised the contribution of the Mercy Sisters in Moyross over the past four decades.

Brendan Leahy was speaking following a special celebration at Corpus Christi Church mark the conclusion of their work in the estate on the northside of Limerick city.

“They offered a listening ear and a supportive presence. In the words of Catherine McAuley, people received from the Sisters, a ‘kind word, a gentle, compassionate look, and a patient hearing of sorrows’. People knew they could turn to them for prayers in their times of need as they knew they were women of prayer,” he said.

On May 28, 1977 - 45 years ago this week - the first four Sisters moved into Cosgrave Park, Moyross while 17 Sisters have lived and ministered in the parish since.

Two of the initial group, Sisters. Lilian O’ Kelly and Frances Minahan, were present at the weekend celebration, which include a tree-planting ceremony.

In October 2020, the last of the Sisters, Anne McCarthy, moved out of her home in Cosgrave Park but has continued to maintain a significant presence in the parish, attending daily Mass, followed by a cup of tea and a chat, Bishop Leahy said.

Addressing the celebration, Sr Frances Minahan, one of the original sisters to move into the parish, said Moyross would always have a special place in their hearts.

“We are here today with grateful hearts for all that has brought us to this day. On behalf of all of us Sisters of Mercy who lived here at various times during the past 45 years, thank you to the people of Moyross. Thank you for making such a difference in our lives, for friendships formed and for all the valuable learnings about what matters most in life.”

Sr Frances said that these learnings included the importance of really listening to each other, planning together and being surprised by the outcome, having that sense of belonging and being a neighbour.                                                                 

“These are precious learnings that have to be experienced and there isn’t any book that can give them. On behalf of all of us, I just want to thank everyone for your kindness.   Special thanks to everyone involved today – and all the days that have led to this celebration. Moyross will always have a very special place in our hearts.”

Following their arrival in 1977, the Sisters were joined by the Sisters of the Assumption, the Christian Brothers, the Sacred Heart Sisters and the Friars of the Renewal.

Over the years, the Congregations, Bishop Leahy noted, worked together with the priests and local leaders in the parish supporting the development of many services to build up people’s lives in a vibrant Corpus Christi parish.

The Mercy Sisters, Bishop Leahy continued, contributed enormously to building up this community of Moyross with its many talents in good times and in difficult times.

“From the outset, the Sisters, in keeping with their tradition, went about the parish working in collaboration with the local leaders responding to various needs in the locality. They got involved with local groups where they reached out to people who needed support in life,” he said.

The Sisters were part of many programmes for young people supporting them outside of the traditional educational structures. Some sisters taught in the primary school and in collaboration with lay staff; they ensured that an early start would stand to the children in later life.

A range of support services developed over time, such as home-work clubs, FAS schemes, cookery classes and budgeting skills and a club for older people.

They were involved in the Youth and Family support project in ‘The Bungalows’ for many years, reaching so many young people and parents over three generations in Youth clubs in Corpus Christi School and subsequently in the Community Centre when it was built.  

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