Sr. Anna Joyce R.I.P.
There was sadness in Sallyville House on Saturday 29th February 2020, as news filtered through the community, that in the early hours of that morning, Sr. Anna Joyce had died peacefully in the presence of Sisters and Staff. For some weeks prior to her death, Anna’s health had deteriorated and she was very conscious that her earthly life was nearing its end. But her acceptance and resignation were exemplary and she was truly an inspiration to all in the community and to all who visited her during that time.
Sr. Anna – Annie Mary Joyce – grew up in Keelogues, Ballyvary, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. She was the second of seven children born to Patrick and Bridget Joyce (nee Hopkins). Anna suffered from a physical disability from birth, which despite many surgical procedures, limited her mobility throughout her life. She attended the local Primary School in Keelogues and then moved on to the Mercy School, Castlebar, before completing a Secretarial Course at St. Louis School in Kiltimagh. Following her education, she worked for some years as secretary for her uncle in Tuam. Anna was quiet and unassuming but she had an acute business mind and was very popular with the local people in Tuam.
When Anna felt called to Religious Life, her initial wish was to follow her sister, Teresa, who had previously entered the St. John of God Congregation in Perth, Australia. But because of her disability, she was advised to remain in Ireland. She entered the St. John of God Novitiate in Wexford in November 1960 and was professed in September 1963.
Anna always felt an affinity with Australia, and so, following profession, she was assigned to Ballinamore – the Irish base for the Australian Province – where she ministered to the elderly in the Nursing Home. When the Nursing Home closed in 1973 and the Sisters gifted Ballinamore House to the Western Care Association, Anna remained for a further thirteen years caring for young people with special needs. In 1986, she transferred to Ballymote, where she resumed her ministry to the elderly through Pastoral Care in the Nursing Home there and through her involvement with the St. Vincent de Paul Society. On the sale of Ballymote Convent, Anna retired to Kilkenny Convent. In 2017, on the closure of Kilkenny Convent, Anna moved to Sallyville House, Wexford.
Anna was committed and diligent in whatever she undertook. She was gentle and compassionate, but was also quietly independent. She maintained close contact with her family and was always interested in each one’s well-being. Hospitable and generous with her time, her delight was in chauffeuring Sisters and friends to Knock and to the many scenic areas in the west of Ireland.
On March 4th, Mass for Sr. Anna R.I.P. was celebrated in Sallyville House by Rev. Aodhan Marken, Adm. Wexford, after which she was taken on her final journey back to her beloved Ballymote. Very Rev. Patrick Gilligan was chief celebrant at her Requiem Mass on the following day. The con-celebrants were: Very Rev. James McDonagh, P.P. Ballymote, Very Rev. Farrell Cawley P.E. Ballinacarrow and Canon James Finan, Collooney, Co. Sligo. Following Mass Anna was laid to rest in St. Columba’s Cemetery, Ballymote.
Anna was pre-deceased by her brother, Patsy. She is survived by her sisters, Sr. Teresa SSJG., Celia and Josephine and by her brothers, John and Tom, her St. John of God Sisters, her nieces, nephews, extended family and many friends.
May her gentle soul rest in peace.