Sr. Cornelius Purcell R.I.P.
On Sunday, 7th February, 2021, Sr. Cornelius Purcell died peacefully in the care of Sisters and Staff at Sallyville House. Since coming to Wexford in 2017, Sr. Cornelius’ health had deteriorated and she had slowly drifted away from all of us, so while her family, her community and all who cared for her felt saddened by her passing, they also felt privileged to have known her and happy that God had now taken her home to joy and new life.
Sr. Cornelius – Mary Purcell – was the eldest of four children. She was born on 6th June 1940, to Michael and Pauline Purcell (nee Kelly) of Powerstown, Milford, Co. Carlow. She attended the local Mercy Schools in Leighlinbridge and after spending a few years at home, she entered the St. John of God Novitiate, Wexford in May 1961.
She was an accomplished driver back then and in the 1960’s, this was a rare and valuable skill in the convent. Cornelius or “Cornie” as she was affectionately known, was frequently called on to drive the senior Sisters – a task she always enjoyed.
Following her Profession in 1964, she commenced her Nursing Training in
Wexford General Hospital. Since then, her life was one of giving, caring and
going the extra mile. She nursed in St. John’s Enniscorthy, Ely Hospital,
Torquay, St. Columba’s Thomastown and Kilkenny Convent, where as
Infirmarian, she spent herself caring for the Sisters with kindness, gentleness
and total commitment. She trained the Carers there, who appreciated her tuition
and the kindness and consideration shown them.
Cornelius was a quiet, unassuming person, who loved the simple things in life. She gifted all with whom she lived and worked through her generosity and good humour. She loved to connect with friends, colleagues and family. Coming from a farming background, she had a love of animals, especially horses and her real joy was going to the Races, studying form and having a flutter! The ultimate event was a trip to Cheltenham! She always enjoyed good food, fun, style and entertainment. Her constant smile and quiet acceptance of whatever came her way, knowing that the Lord would take care of things, is the memory that stays with us.
Cornelius’ Requiem Mass was celebrated in Sallyville House by Rev. Michael O’Shea, C.C. Wexford, after which she was taken to her final resting place in Foulkstown Cemetery, Kilkenny. Representatives of the nurses and carers who worked with her in Kilkenny were present at the graveside. Because of Covid restrictions, numbers attending were limited.
Cornelius is survived by her brother Pat and sister Teresa, her St. John of God Sisters and many friends. Her brother Michael predeceased her.
May her gentle soul rest in peace.