Wednesday 16 October 2019

Sr Assumpta Ryan passed on her love of learning to countless pupils


The late Sr Assumpta Ryan.
The late Sr Assumpta Ryan.

Sr Assumpta Ryan (Alice Ryan) made a long lasting impact on hundreds of children as a teacher and on the Sisters of Mercy in Co Wexford as a faithful friend and Mother General of the order, and her passing on February 23 has sparked many warm memories of her.

She died aged 87 peacefully surrounded by her loving family, in the wonderful care of the nurses and staff of Signa Care (Millhouse Care Centre), New Ross.

The Ryan family moved to Fisherstown, Campile, in 1934. A young Alice, bursting with enthusiasm for learning, attended the local primary school and St Mary's Secondary School in New Ross where Alice completed her Leaving Cert.

In June 1951 she entered the Mercy Congregation in New Ross on August 15 - the feast of the Assumption and so it followed that at her reception she was given the name Sr Assumpta.

She made her first profession in 1954 and her final profession in 1957. Sr Assumpta trained as a primary school teacher at Carysfort training college in Dublin. She spent all but two of her teaching years in St Joseph's primary school on Michael Street, teaching a variety of classes, from 2nd Class up.

She loved teaching and excelled at it, fostering a love of learning in her pupils.

In 1979 she was appointed Mother General of the Sisters of Mercy in Ferns for six years, during which time she visited the Mercy Sisters in Florida. She spent two years teaching in John's Road School in Wexford.

Sr Assumpta returned to St Joseph's where she taught until her retirement.

Prayer was central in her life, but she always had a keen interest in family. Her brothers Jim and John and sisters Mary and Margaret; nieces and nephews were always a big part of her life.

They have many cherished memories of her, as do her nephews and nieces, who credit Sr Assumpta with being there for them and playing a supportive role in their lives.

Sr Assumpta lived at South Street, Irishtown and Lower South Knock with her sister community for many years.

She had a great interest in sport, especially hurling and would shout on Henry Shefflin (who was a relation) and all the men in black and amber at every opportunity.

Her hobbies included reading the daily and Sunday newspapers and in her later years could be seen climbing the stairs at her Mercy home with a bundle of papers under her arms to read at night time.

She spent the last years of her life with her sister community, before being lovingly cared for at Signa Care Millhouse Nursing Home. She was a loving and faithful friend and her beautiful smile will remain with all her friends for the rest of their lives.

Throughout her life Sr Assumpta always challenged herself and improved her knowledge base. She was kind and loving to everyone she met and always did her utmost to help her pupils reach their potential and this is her lasting legacy for years and decades to come in New Ross.

Her eulogy was a fitting tribute to the woman, while the crowds who travelled from near and far - past pupils and colleagues included - bore testament to the high esteem and affection in which she was held.

Huge crowds attended at the convent, the funeral home and in St Mary & Michael's Parish Church to pay their final respects to a wonderful woman who transformed the lives of hundreds of children for the better through her generosity of spirit and kindnesses big and small.

The Mass was celebrated by Monsignor Joe McGrath, Fr Pat Stafford and Fr Jimmy Ryan. Music was performed by St Mary's Secondary school students Carrie and Colette and everyone in attendance enjoyed their heavenly voices. She was laid to rest afterwards in St Stephen's Cemetery.

St Assumpta is sadly missed by her loving sisters Mary and Margaret; sister-in-law Peggy; her Mercy Community; nieces; nephews; grandnieces; grandnephews; her former teaching colleagues at St. Joseph's primary school; neighbours, extended family and a wide circle of friends.

She was pre-deceased by her loving parents Richard and Ellen, brothers Jim and John and infant sister Mary,

May her gentle soul Rest In Peace.

New Ross Standard