'She was one loyal friend to me and stood by me at times when others let me down.'

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'She was one loyal friend to me and stood by me at times when others let me down.'


Rosemary describes life in the Novitiate and she remembers the friendships she made at this time.


Rosemary McCloskey


Trinity College Dublin




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Rosemary McCloskey

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Summerland, Ozanam Street, Waterford

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I returned to Waterford in September 1974 to begin my second year of novitiate. Of the four who had been in the year ahead of us, three had made first profession in their various convents and Rosemary O'Leary had left, as had Doreen Brosnan, before we dispersed for the summer. Eight new arrivals landed in the novitiate and so we were twelve in 1974-75. There were three from Dungarvan, Veronica Mangan, Mary Caplice and Mary?Chanel, two from Dundalk, Bridie Watters and Helen Brannigan, one from Tullamore, Cecilia Cadogan, Helen Price from Waterford and Mary Freeman from Callan. We had new staff as well. Sr. Frances Hickey from Cahir was novice mistress. Sr. Catherine Veale from Dungarvan was bursar and Sr. Declan Murphy from Kilmacow was assistant. These are all deceased now, as is Sr. Michael, the first bursar we had. It is true that change is often difficult to accept, and this was the case with the new staff and with us who were now in our second year. We resented the changes that the new mistresses introduced, for we were loyal to the first regime and had learnt that it had worked well. May the Lord forgive us for gloating any time things went wrong! We felt that the 'first years 'were favoured, because they were their first novices, and not aware of what our formation was like in our first year. This was not an easy year. There was a lot of resentment among us. Kathleen was the only one who did not scold about it. She was such a patient and accepting girl and very close to God, that It is no wonder he took her in her prime. Kathleen Dooris had done her first year of teacher training in St Mary's Training College Belfast while she was a postulant. She was an Enniskillen girl and an example to the rest of us. For this we resented her at first, for she was always to be found in the chapel when she was free and never seemed to get into scrapes like we did. She was a girl of prayer and gentleness and when we did get to know her, we really appreciated the person she was. She returned to Belfast when we made first profession and finished her training in St Mary's. She was one loyal friend to me and stood by me at times when others let me down. She was posted to Castleblayney, and eventually stopped teaching to undertake the role of superior in the convent there. There were a lot of elderly sisters in Castleblayney Convent at that time, and every one of them said that no one was ever so good and kind to them as Kathleen was. She went to pursue media studies in Booterstown, Dublin, and I am not really quite sure what this involved, but I know that there was some religious broadcasting in it. She had a beautiful singing voice, and used it to praise the Lord in all her work. I went off to Zimbabwe in July 1990. Kathleen had contracted cancer .She was living in a block of flats in Dublin with several other young Mercy sisters, who were engaged in various ministries, or training, in Dublin. It was there that I saw her last. We kept in touch, and when she became too ill to carry on, she was moved to Clochar, where she was admitted to the nursing home. I spoke to her from Zimbabwe on the telephone, and when I next phoned her she was too ill to receive the call. She died a short time later. I lost a wonderful, trustworthy friend, but I know she is in heaven and she won't forget me when my time comes. There are very few of that crowd still in the congregation. Bernie Ryan is part of the leadership team in the southern province now, Breda Daly is nursing in Loughrea and Angela O'Reilly is a hermit somewhere in Wexford, I believe. Of my immediate group, only Kathleen remained a religious and of the group behind, Veronica Mangan, Cecilia Cadogan and Mary Freeman are still important members. Veronica has opened a centre for people with addictions, in Ballyporeen, Co.Tipperary, and Cecilia had been novice mistress last time I heard about her. Mary Freeman who was also a teacher is currently in some position of leadership, too. None of us lost anything by joining the Sisters of Mercy and trying our vocations. We all got a good training in aspects of religious life and theology as well as skills which have stood to us all during our lives. Some got an education and a profession which has set them up for life. I know that none of us has any regrets.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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