Sister Rita Gibbons R.I.P.
The sudden death of Sr. Rita on the 25th December 2016 came as a big shock for all her St. John of God Sisters and particularly for her family.
Rita was born in Leighlin Bridge, Co. Carlow on the 11th August 1931. One of eleven children born to David and Ellen (nee Lyons) Gibbons. She is survived by her brother Noel, her sisters Maeve, Geraldine, Helen, Rose and Claire. She was predeceased by her brothers Jim, Haul, David and her sister Loli.
Rita’s father, being a member of the Garda Siochána, was transferred to Rathdowney and so Rita began her primary education at St. John of God School, Rathdowney. Having completed primary education, Rita won a scholarship to St. Leo’s Secondary School in Carlow. She did her Leaving Cert in 1950. She entered St. John of God Novitiate in October of that year. She made her first Profession on the 8th September 1953 and her Final Profession on the 8th September 1956.
Following her Primary Teacher Training in Carysfort Rita was appointed to The Faythe School, Wexford where she taught until 1961. Then she was transferred to John’s Hill, Waterford. In 1970 Rita volunteered for the Australian Mission. She taught in Beagle Bay and Derby. On her return to Ireland she continued to teach in Kilkenny until her retirement in 1996.
Following her retirement, she took some sabbatical time at Washington Theological Union, a graduate School of Theology in Washington D.C. During that year Rita’s creativity, her versatility and her outgoing personality were evident and she was invited to join the staff at the College. She became Director of Residency, a post she held until 2003, when she returned to Kilkenny.
Rita became a member of the Aut Even Community at this time, and not one to retire from ministry, she became a Eucharistic Minister at Aut Even Hospital and was much appreciated by staff and patients.
Rita’s funeral Mass was concelebrated at St. Patrick’s Church, Kilkenny. Chief celebrant was Fr. Eamon O’Gorman, concelebrants were Fr. R. Whearty, Fr. P. Muldowney, Fr. W. Purcell, Fr. J. Harrington (Salesian). She was laid to rest in Folkstown Cemetery, Kilkenny.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dhilis