Portlaoise parishioners gathered in mourning last week to bid farewell to a much loved member of the community.
Sr Áine Ó’Neill passed away peacefully last Monday September 2, aged 70 years.
A Portarlington native, she had spent the final 25 years of her teaching career in Scoil Mhuire primary school, preparing hundreds of girls for their Holy Communion.
Her retirement five years ago brought to an end over a century of teaching by the Presentation sisters in the town. She continued her spiritual work in various prayer groups. The fond regard in which she was held was clear at the large crowds who attended her funeral.
Sr Áine had battled cancer for some years, and had her own simple ceremony, but had the honour of having Bishop Denis Nulty present to receive her remains on Tuesday evening in St Peter & Paul’s Church.
Requiem Mass was concelebrated last Wednesday morning by Msgr Byrne with priests from several parishes, and guards of honour by Scoil Mhuire and Scoil Chríost Rí.
“She had a huge involvement in Holy Communion preparation. She was quiet, but very active and very effective,” said Msgr Byrne.
Mourners recalled her love of inspirational sayings, particularly those of Sr Stanislaus.
Principal of Scoil Mhuire Anne Buggie conducted the funeral choir, and said former pupils afterwards shared their own fond memories with her.
“She will be greatly remembered. We will remember her dry sense of humour, she got great fun from our younger teachers, trying to get them to join the order,” she laughed.
Sr Áine was laid to rest in Ss Peter and Paul’s Cemetery.
She is mourned by her brother Nicky, sisters Eilish, Colette Frances, Mary, Patricia and Claire, extended family and friends.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h’anam.