On Friday 12th January 2018 at 11.30am Sr Úna O’Neill and Mr Francis Coughlan signed the official documents for the transfer of St Patrick’s Convent to Special Occupation Scheme Kilkenny Ltd (SOS). SOS will use the building for elderly adults with special needs who need nursing care. This brings to an end 157 years of service by the Congregation to and with the people of the Ossory Diocese.
On the previous Monday, 8th January 2018 Mass was celebrated in the Church in Foulkstown, Kilkenny, in thanksgiving for all the sisters who ministered in the diocese of Ossory since 1861.
Monsignor Michael Ryan, Diocesan Administrator, was the main celebrant and was assisted by eight other priests, some of whom ministered in St Joseph’s and St Patrick’s as Chaplains.
A number of sisters travelled to Kilkenny for the celebration and large numbers of staff, volunteers, service users, past students and friends of the sisters also attended.
Monsignor Ryan, in his homily, praised the sisters for the facilities and services they helped set up and provide over the years in the diocese, namely, St Joseph’s; Ossory Social Services; St Patrick’s and Kilcreene Hospital. Referring to special needs’ services, he highlighted the way in which the dignity of the service users had been upheld, and he mentioned the wonderful legacy the sisters were now leaving behind.
The choir sang many beautiful hymns which were presented on a Mass leaflet and the congregation heartily joined in the singing.
At the conclusion of the liturgy, Sr Úna, our Provincial Leader, gave an address in which she thanked Monsignor Ryan and his colleagues for their very beautiful liturgy of thanksgiving and tribute to the sisters. She outlined the many years of service engaged in by the sisters in the various ministries during their time in Kilkenny. She also mentioned that life is never all sunshine but is made up of light and shade and that while great joy and happiness was experienced by many of those we had been privileged to serve, sadly some had experienced hurt and pain. Sr Úna praised the wonderful work and dedication of the staff over the years and she gave special thanks to all the volunteers whose presence and contribution greatly enriched the lives of the children and adults in St Patrick’s.
Concluding her address, Sr Úna said that while the occasion was one of joy and celebration; it was also a day of great sadness for the sisters in their leave-taking. She asked the Congregation to remember the sisters in their prayers and promised that they in turn would always remember them in prayer.
The congregation gave a resounding applause in acknowledgement of Sr Úna’s warm and gracious words.
Monsignor Ryan concluded the Mass by offering a special blessing for all present. He invited everyone in the Church to lunch in Hotel Kilkenny. Consequently, a large number of those who attended the Mass joined the priests and the sisters for a beautiful meal.
At the end of the lunch people began to mingle and greet each other and meet again many of the sisters who had ministered over the years in Kilkenny.
Below - a selection of photgrapha from lunch in Hotel Kilkenny