By Charlie Keegan
SR Emmanuel O’Sullivan, a member of St Leo’s Convent of Mercy in Carlow, who died on Thursday 29 December at the Catherine McAuley Nursing Home in Beaumont, Dublin, was a native of Listowel, Co Kerry.
Hannah Maria O’Sullivan was born on 25 November 1926, daughter of Thomas and Mary (née Moran) O’Sullivan of Ballyline, Ballylongford, Co Kerry. She was the eldest of seven children and has one surviving sister, Patricia (Pat), who was unable to attend her sister’s obsequies on health grounds.
Hannah entered St Leo’s Convent of Mercy, Carlow on 24 September 1945. She was received into the congregation on 29 July 1946, taking the habit and the name Sr Mary Emmanuel. Sr Emmanuel made her temporary vows on 15 August 1948 and her final vows on 15 August 1951.
Her mottos were: Ad Jesum per Mariam (To Jesus through Mary) and fiat voluntas tua (Thy will be done).
After her schooling in Ballylongford, Hannah O’Sullivan came as a boarder to St Leo’s College and took her leaving certificate in 1945. After her first profession in 1948, Sr Emmanuel took up the position of book-keeper and store keeper in the Sacred Heart Home on Barrack Street. She was appointed bursar in that community in 1970. From 1972 to 1978 she held the role of superior. Sr Emmanuel moved to the new Sacred Heart Hospital on Dublin Road in 1988.
In 1992, a new phase of Sr Emmanuel’s life began when she was appointed as manager in St Fiacc’s House, Graiguecullen, a home for the mobile elderly of Graiguecullen who required sheltered living. Sr Emmanuel’s gentle presence was much appreciated and valued by the staff and residents at St Fiacc’s House.
She was immensely proud of her Kerry origins and connections, greatly enjoying visits to her native county, until failing health prevented her from travelling.
From April to 9 July 1992, Sr Emmanuel took a break in Hawkstone Hall, Shropshire, England, after which she returned to St Fiacc’s and served there until 2006, when she came to reside at St Leo’s Convent. However, she did not break entirely with St Fiacc’s. For some time on a daily basis she went back there to pray with the residents, to chat with them as old friends and be a light for them on their journey.
Finally, in November 2019, Sr Emmanuel felt she could no longer continue these visits because of failing health. Later she moved to McAuley House, where she enjoyed excellent care and love.
Sr Emmanuel reposed in Healy’s Funeral Home, Pollerton Castle on Friday afternoon, 30 December. In Healy’s, Bishop Denis Nulty led the Rosary, and later, Fr Thomas O’Byrne, Adm, Carlow recited the Rosary.
Her funeral Mass was celebrated on New Year’s Eve in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow, with Fr O’Byrne as chief celebrant, assisted by Mgr Brendan Byrne, Fr John Dunphy, PP, Graiguecullen-Killeshin, Fr Tommy Dillon, CC, Askea and Fr Yanbo Chen, CC, Cathedral Parish.
A number of cousins from Co Kerry attended the removal and funeral Mass for Sr Emmanuel.
She is survived by her sister Patricia (Listowel), her loving Mercy community, her cousins, relatives and friends. Sr Emmanuel was predeceased by her siblings Noirín, Maureen, Brigid, Thomas and Elsie.
Following Mass, Sr Emmanuel was laid to rest in St Mary’s Cemetery.