Showed great concern for the sick and the vulnerable
Published 12/06/2013 | 05:36
The late Sr Aloysius McElligott
SR ALOYSIUS McElligott, Convent of Mercy, Military Road, Waterford and formerly of Glenoe, Listowel, Co. Kerry, was called to Eternal Life on Friday, May 24.
She spent the final week of her earthly life as a patient in Waterford Regional Hospital.
She was the youngest daughter in a family of nine siblings: six sisters and three brothers, all of whom pre-deceased her. Born to Margaret and William McElligott in 1917, she grew up on the family farm near Listowel, Co Kerry and attended the local primary school.
Having completed her secondary education at the Presentation Convent boarding school in Mountmellick, she entered the Convent of Mercy in Waterford city in 1937.
Three of her five sisters were already in religious life. Two of them, Srs. Dominic and Brendan entered with the Presentation Sisters in Kerry, and Sr. Cuthbert spent her life in the Southern United States with the Incarnate Word Sisters.
Through her dedicated and focused response to her Mercy Calling, Aloysius made a sterling contribution to the life and ministry of the Sisters of Mercy in Waterford City and Dunmore East for more than 70 years. At the outset she spent over 20 years teaching the junior classes in what was then a two-teacher primary school in Dunmore East.
During those years she became a significant presence within the village community as a gentle and skilled educator and through her effective outreach to families. She is fondly remembered by children and adults who loved to meet her when she returned during her summer holidays to reconnect with this fishing community and to enjoy relaxing on the Flat Rocks.
Aloysius' appointment as Mistress of Novices at the Central Novitiate in Summerland, Waterford, in 1962, heralded a new era in formation for the sisters in the Waterford and Lismore Diocese. She demonstrated a natural ability to nurture the human and spiritual flourishing of those engaged with the formation process.
She embraced the new insights and approaches that surfaced during and immediately subsequent to the Second Vatican Council with enthusiastic openness and sense of purpose.
She tapped the resources that were available through the seminary and religious congregations in the area to create a formation programme with an appropriate balance of spirituality, theology, psychology, practice of ministry and manual work in the novitiate grounds.
She collaborated with other congregations in the area to broaden the experience and exposure offered to novices.
When her term as novice mistress expired, Aloysius served as community bursar.
Her term as bursar coincided with the development of the secondary school campus at Summerland, and the financial challenges which inevitably accompanied this vast project. She played a significant role in ensuring that the educational vision, which underpinned the development, was attainable through excellent stewardship of the community's resources.
Subsequent to serving as bursar, Aloysius served as first councillor, also for a six-year term. During her time in leadership Mercy ministry rapidly expanded and adapted to changing times and circumstances.
However, she is remembered most affectionately for her amazing warmth, adventurous spirit, tremendous generosity, admirable self-donation and wonderful smile. Sisters recall with deep gratitude her hospitality, not only to themselves, but also to their families and friends whenever they visited the convent.
When she had completed her term in leadership Aloysius returned to the classroom and taught young boys in the junior classes at The Holy Family Primary School in Waterford, until her retirement. Her early retirement years were devoted to visiting and offering spiritual, emotional and social support to the elderly residents at the Matthew Shea Institute in the city.
Her concern for the sick and vulnerable, and her capacity to interact meaningfully with them was evident throughout her life. During her early years in Dunmore East she was particularly kind to the Sisters who retired there from their work in the hospitals and who lived in that convent, and were cared for, until they died.
Her compassionate and practical care of sick sisters in the community and vulnerable persons in the neighbourhood was an integral part of Aloysius' entire life as a Sister of Mercy.
Aloysius spent the last two years of her life in Killure Bridge Nursing Home.
Her favourite and simple yet profound prayer "Come Lord Jesus", which helped her to face complex and challenging situations for many decades continued to be a source of comfort, support and courage for her when grappling with frailty and mortality.
Sr Aloysius' remains reposed at the Convent of Mercy, Military Road on Saturday, May 25. Funeral Mass was celebrated in the Holy Family Church, Luke Wadding Street on Sunday at 11 o'clock, followed by burial in St Mary's Cemetery, Ballygunner, Waterford.
She is deeply regretted by her loving Mercy Community, sister-in-law Eileen, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, relatives and many friends.
May angels come to greet her and present her to God the Most High.