Sr. Eileen Egan who died recently was a member of the St John of God convent who entered the novitiate in Wexford 60 years ago, becoming a teacher in The Faythe School and later a school principal in Kilkenny.
Sr Eileen died on June 17 in the care of the staff and sisters in Sallyville House in Newtown Road, Wexford where she spent the last three weeks of her life, during which time she prepared her family and community friends to accept that she was on her final journey home to her creator.
Sr Eileen accepted this reality with resignation, fortitude and peace. Her chief concern was for those she was leaving behind rather than herself. She was always a rock of support for her family and the St John of God congregation.
Eileen was the eldest of six children born to John and Johanna Egan (neé Maher) on December 1, 1944 at Lisheen, Moyne, Thurles, County Tipperary. After completing her secondary education in the Presentation Convent School in Thurles she entered the John of God Novitiate, Wexford on September 9, 1962.
She was familiar with the John of God Community as she had a grand-aunt Sr. Magdalen Maher in the Kilkenny Community. She made her first profession on July 16, 1965 taking the religious name “Louise Marie”. Her Final Profession was on August 22, 1970.
She completed her primary school teacher training in Carysford from 1965-1967 and taught in the Faythe School, Wexford and later in St. John of God School, Kilkenny where she became principal She is fondly remembered by the staff, parents and pupils for her kindness, encouragement and dedication to the school community. During that time Eileen made monthly trips to Dublin to chair the Board of Management of Kilmore Road secondary school.
During her time in Kilkenny Eileen took a sabbatical year and did the Religious Formation Programme in Loreto House, Dublin. For many years of her life Eileen was involved in leadership roles in the congregation.
She spent two terms as Provincial Leader and many years on Congregational Leadership Teams. She spent seven years on the leadership team in Ballyvaloo, Blackwater, Wexford where she was involved in the refurbishment of the Retreat and Conference Centre in 2008 and 2009.
Her next assignment was as Local Leader in the Wexford St John of God Convent where she enabled the sisters to transfer from the convent to Sallyville House, a residential care centre for retired nuns, in 2017. Eileen’s kindness and gentleness helped the ageing sisters to make this transition with the minimum of stress.
Eileen’s final ministry was in the Heritage Centre, Wexford where she loved researching the history of the Congregation and taking care of the Congregational Archives.
Requiem Mass was celebrated in Rowe Street Church on June 21 with her brother Fr Joe Egan as chief celebrant, assisted by his brother Fr Jimmy and Fr Billy Swan of Wexford parish. They were joined by a number of priests from the dioceses of Cashel and Emly and Ferns. Sr Eileen was laid to rest in Foulkstown Cemetery,Kilkenny.
She is is mourned by her brothers John, Fr Joe, Fr Jimmy, Dan and sister Margaret, sisters-in-law Norah and Catherine, brother-in-law Richard, her St John of God Sisters and many friends.