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Fond farewell marks the conclusion of Mercy Sisters 43 years of special service to the people of Moyross

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Mercy Sisters Eileen Sheehan, Sr. Anne McCarthy and Geraldine Ryan ahead of the tree planting ceremony to mark the conclusion of the Mercy Sisters 43 years of service to the people of Moyross recently.

Mercy Sisters had a special presence in the parish of Moyross where people could turn to them for support

Mercy Sisters
Michael Shehan, Sr. Anne McCarthy and Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy at the tree planting ceremony to mark the conclusion of the Mercy Sisters’ 43 years of service to the people of Moyross recently.

Over four decades of special service to the people of Moyross may have come to an end but the Mercy Sisters legacy will live on, Bishop Brendan Leahy told a special event to mark the conclusion of their work on the city’s north-side.

Speaking after a celebration at Corpus Christi Church in Moyross and tree planting ceremony afterwards, Bishop Leahy said that the Mercy Sisters – the first Religious congregation to move into Moyross – had a special presence in the parish where people could turn to them for support.

“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 the 28th May, 1977, 45 years ago, the first four Sisters moved into Cosgrave Park, Moyross. Two of that initial group, Srs. Lilian O’ Kelly and Frances Minahan, were present at the event and, over the following decades, 17 Sisters lived and ministered in the parish.

The last four Sisters to minister in Moyross were Srs. Joan Molumby, Joseph Mary O’Brien, Catarina Ryan and Anne McCarthy. In October 2020, the last of the Sisters, Sr. 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 that 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 43 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. They also, she continued, included being there for one another in good times and in hard times, the chats over the wall and the mugs of tea on fine evenings and having a laugh together.                                                        

“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. The Congregations, Bishop Leahy said, 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 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.  

Bishop Leahy added: “Today in Rome Charles de Foucould has been canonized. He is famous as a priest not for doing big projects but for having simply gone out into the Sahara desert just to be there with people in their ordinary lives – Christians, Muslims, non-believers, it didn’t matter. He was called a ‘universal brother’. I think we can say here today the sisters were ‘universal sisters’. They were present here for everyone and their prayers reached everyone in this parish.

“The spirit of Mercy lives on. As a diocese and as a parish, we appreciate the continuing Mercy presence in the parish of Moyross.”

For other stories on Moyross, go HERE

For more information on the Mercy Sisters, go HERE

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.

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