Remembering Sr Bonaventure RIP

Sister Bonaventure died on 10th October 2019 in Morgannwg Residential Nursing Home, Brecon, formerly St David’s Ursuline school where she had taught for many years. Born Hanora Kelleher on 28th March 1923, she was the eldest child of Patrick and Margaret Kelleher of Pier House, Blackrock, Cork. She received her Primary education in Blackrock and then went to St. Angela’s Ursuline College in Cork city for her Secondary education. She worked in the Irish civil service for a number of years before entering the Ursuline Convent, Thurles in 1950. After her first profession, having only spent three years there, she was sent to Brecon, Wales to teach in the school and was finally professed on 18th August 1956.

She attended Queen Mary College, University of London, to undertake a degree course in English literature. During that time she lived in Forest Gate Convent with the Ursulines of the Roman Union. Having graduated, Sr. Bonaventure returned to Brecon to teach English in the convent school.  She was an inspirational teacher, giving generously of her knowledge and wisdom. She had an avid interest in the theatre, and particularly the theatre in Brecon, the town where Sarah Siddons was born.

 Alongside her teaching she was deeply committed to working in the local community, with the Brecknock Society, the Museum Friends, Meals on Wheels and “Save Brecon Hospital” and Dogs for the Blind to mention but a few. She was in the forefront of many a campaign! and was a co-opted member of the Brecon Town Council, serving on its environmental committee. She was highly sought after as a speaker on local history, as well as the theatre and gave talks far and wide.

When the convent school closed in 1993 Sr. Bonaventure involved herself further in the local community / organisations. She felt a great need to serve the community whilst still carrying out her research on the theatre. Her enthusiasm and energy to the research took her to a number of places. It is notable of the high esteem she was held in over the country that so many people referred to her as the “great historian” – and that was true.

Sadly in 2013/14 ill health necessitated nursing care and she went to Morgannwg Residential House in order to be near the Convent. Whilst there she carried on with her research and was visited by her many friends in the local community. It is anticipated that her research will be published in due course.

Not only have the Ursulines experienced the loss of her death, but the town of Brecon has lost one of its historians. May her gentle soul rest in peace.