A special Mass in St. Cronan's Church, Roscrea marked the end of a 167-year link between Roscrea and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart on Saturday last
Their order's departure from the town was marked by a special concelebrated Mass in the church at midday.
The Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart have been to the forefront in education in the town since before the Great Famine but because of dwindling numbers the order has taken the decision to move their remaining Sisters in Roscrea back to the society's headquarters in Drumcondra. Chairman of the Roscrea Community Tourism and Leisure Committee (RCTLC) John Lupton said this week that the departure of Sr. Madeline Minogue and Sr. Maria Brady will be an enormous loss but they have left us laden with gifts for which we must always be grateful and for the hope that they gave us.
Spokesperson for the Society, Sister Aideen Kinlen, said although the order will be withdrawing from Roscrea, they will continue to act as trustees of the Sacred Heart Primary School and as co-trustees of Coláiste Phobal Ros Cré.
The congregation has been ever present in Roscrea since 1842 when the first Sacred Heart convent on this island was founded in the town. The first house of the congregation founded in these islands, was in Roscrea, in 1842. From there, it then spread to Britain, to Dublin, and to Armagh. We are an international congregation, founded in France in 1800, and now spread all over the world, she said.
The Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart proved pivotal in developing education both and home and abroad and a number of schools in Ireland still enjoy links with schools in Africa, particularly in Uganda.
In 1992 the Society celebrated 150 years of education provision in the town but seven years later changes saw the three second level schools in Roscrea, the Sacred Heart Convent Secondary School, Roscrea CBS and Roscrea Vocational School all amalgamate to form a new co-educational community college, Coláiste Phobal Ros Cré.
Following the amalgamation the sisters departed from the imposing Sacred Heart convent on Convent Hill in the town to take up residence at 'Abbeyside' on Abbey St.
In the last few years only two religious have remained at Abbeyside, Sr. Madeleine Minogue and Sr. Maria Brady. Sr. Minogue has had a pastoral ministry with the bereaved, with scripture and ecumenical groups, and with patients in local nursing homes. Sr Brady has worked in St Anne's in Roscrea and has promoted the SPRED programme and guided others to use it for the benefit of those with intellectual disability, Sister Kilnen explained.
She also confirmed that Sr. Minogue and Sr Brady will each join a community in Dublin and Abbeyside will be put on the market for sale.
We wish Sr. Minogue and Sr Brady the very best for the future.