SR. IMMACULATE PURCELL R.I.P.
Sr. Immaculate (Mary Purcell) was born in Moyne, Thurles, Co Tipperary on 15 March 1918. Her parents were Winifred (nee Ryan) and Matthew Purcell.
Having completed her secondary education in Loreto Convent, Kilkenny, Mary entered St John of God Novitiate, Wexford, on 11 February 1940. She made First Profession on 8 September 1942 and Final Profession on 8 September 1945. Following First Profession, Immaculate went to Trowbridge where she ministered for two years before commencing her teacher training in Hull, Yorkshire. On completion of her training she returned to teach in Trowbridge and remained there until 1957 when she was transferred to Tollington Park, London. She taught in Christ the King School in Tollington until she retired in 1984.
Not one to retire from public ministry ‘Mac’, as she was affectionately known, served as a Parish Sister and Sacristan at St Mellitus Church. Duties included preparing children for Holy Communion and Confirmation. She worked with many immigrant families, predominantly Nigerian and Italian . The esteem in which she was held was very evident in the large attendance at a recent Memorial Mass for the repose of her soul at St Mellitus’ Church. Many tributes were paid to her. She was remembered as “a great teacher, always kind and thoughtful”. It was said “the parish owes her an immense debt of gratitude for her decades of work here”. “She was very much a people’s person, always having an open ear for people who wanted to unburden themselves.”. High praise indeed!
Finally, in 2005 Mac retired to Kilkenny Convent with her lifelong friend Sr. Theophane Duggan. She endeared herself to her Sisters in Community with her outgoing personality, her humour and ready wit. She enjoyed being close to her family and enjoyed frequent visits from her nieces and nephews. Even though officially retired, Mac continued to minister in the community, helping in the sacristy in St. Patrick’s and acting as Eucharistic Minister. Eventually ill health took its toll but she bore her illness with faithfilled endurance. She was lovingly cared for by the Sisters and carers and died peacefully in Kilkenny Convent on 26 April 2012.
Following her Requiem Mass concelebrated at St Patrick’s Church, she was laid to rest in Foulkstown cemetery. We thank God for all she has given so generously throughout her life and pray that she now enjoys the fulness of life with God.