Sr. Ita Prendergast R.I.P
True to her gentle, unassuming nature, Sr. Ita Prendergast, who was in her ninety-sixth year, slipped quietly home to her God on Thursday, 20th September 2018. Sr. Ita, who had been in debilitating health for some time, was lovingly cared for in recent years by the Sisters and Staff at Sallyville House, Newtown Road, Wexford, where all were saddened by her passing.
Sr. Ita – Mary Teresa Prendergast was born in Kiltulla, Athenry, Co. Galway on 18th June 1923, the eldest of ten children of John and Mary Prendergast. Two of her siblings died as children. Her brother, Jimmie and sisters, Gertrude, Brigid and Peggy have also pre-deceased her.
Mary Teresa entered the St. John of God Juniorate in Ballinamore, Co. Mayo for the Australian Mission in 1943. She made First Profession in Wexford in 1946. Because of the war years, she and her companions remained in Ireland until 1947, when they boarded “The Austeria” at Southampton and sailed for Perth, Western Australia – a voyage of some six weeks.
In Perth, Sr. Ita trained in General Nursing and Midwifery and nursed in Subiaco, Northam and Geraldton. Following further study in Child Welfare in Melbourne, Ita moved to North-West Australia to work among the Aboriginal people in Community & Child Health Services. In Derby and Broome she pioneered Mother & Baby programmes and participated in the Flying Doctor service to remote areas of the Kimberley Region.
In 1983 retiring from nursing, Ita returned to Perth, where she continued to be involved in the local Parish and in Amnesty International. She spent her retirement years in Ballymote and eventually came to Wexford in 2010, when she needed Nursing Care.
Ita was a caring, committed member of the Congregation, always interested and involved in community issues and Church life. Blessed with a patient, kindly disposition, she was a gentle and gracious lady, who was loved by all with whom she ministered. She was particularly dear to the Aboriginal people and her love and respect for them was reciprocated.
Ita was an avid reader and a great letter-writer, who always kept in close contact with family and friends until recent times, when she was unwell. She is survived by her brothers Martin (Athenry), Dominic and Ray (Boston), her nieces, nephews, extended family and friends in Ireland, U.S. and Australia.
Sr. Ita’s Requiem Mass was celebrated by Rev. Con Kenneally CSsR at Sallyville House, after which she was laid to rest in the Convent cemetery.
May her gentle soul rest in peace.