The late Sr. Damian Kelly
Sr. Damian Kelly died peaceably after a short illness, on the evening of September 8 at St. John's Hospital, Limerick. Born July 18, 1925 to Nora and John J. Kelly, of Knocknadiha, Tournafulla, Co. Limerick. One of a family of five, three older brothers and one younger sister, who is Sr. Sheila, a Loreto sister in Bray, Co. Wicklow.
Sr. Damian entered the Sisters of Mercy in Limerick on December 8, 1944. Her First Profession was August 26, 1947 and Final Profession on August 26, 1950.
Following on her nursing training in the Mercy Hospital, Cork, 1947-50, and in 1954 a B.S. in Nursing Education, she worked as a nurse for short periods in hospitals such as St. Camillus' of Limerick city, Croom Hospital, St. Ita's, Newcastle West and later in the Regional Hospital where in conjunction with the paediatrician there, she made a distinctive contribution to the building of that department.
From 1961-1972, Sr. Damian served as Assistant Matron at different times in both the Regional and in St. Camillus', and in 1972 went for two years to Jos in Nigeria to work in the medical field.
But the ministry with which she is most associated and in which she distinguished herself was her work as Matron of St. Camillus', 1975-1989. The appointment was beneficial for her in that it gave her scope for her talents as a gifted nurse and administrator, but beneficial also for the hospital which flourished under her care.
Words like vision and change were often on Sr. Damian's lips. But to enact these she needed helpers. She was a great networker and got the support of people of influence for her many projects.
Having attended to her ongoing education herself and done an MA in Administration in St. Louis, Missouri in the 1960s, she believed in education for her staff and put in place numerous seminars for them.
She extended the remit of the hospital in many ways, taking a keen interest in Liaison Nurses in the surrounding areas who dealt with admissions and discharges of patients.
But it was not all work for Sr. Damian. She loved life and lived it to the full. The nurses who worked with her remember her firstly as a friend, a listener and as exceedingly kind to staff and patients.
And as an administrator they remember her also as wanting it done yesterday! When she retired she lived for some time in Westbourne and in 1990 came to live in Mount St. Vincent.
Here she was "nurse in residence" where the sisters benefited from her knowledge and skill for she was a natural healer. She continued her membership of the Soroptimists' Club; she worked with the local Alzheimers' Association and fund-raised for them; she was a presence to ' The Caring for Carers - Ireland', for whom she was instrumental in setting up their Limerick office in 2000.
In all she kept in touch with her much-loved family - Sr. Sheila, her sister-in-law, Maureen, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, cousins, other relatives and a large circle of friends, all who will miss her, as do the Mercy sisters among whom she was always a gentle presence.
When her health failed, Sr. Damian moved from the Mount to spend her last year in McAuley Nursing Home.
On Monday, September 10, 2012 Sr. Damian lay in repose at Mount St. Vincent, where her many many friends from all parts of the country came to pay their respects, and on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 attended her requiem mass as St. Joseph's Church and accompanied her to her final resting place in St. Mary's convent cemetery. Ar dheis De go raibh a hanam dilis.