Remembering Sr Kathleen Twomey RIP

On the 13th April we said a fond farewell to Sr Kathleen Twomey of our Blackrock community as she was called home to her eternal reward.

Born Catherine Josephine Twomey on 6th May 1927 in Dundalk, Co Louth her family moved to Cork during her childhood and she completed her secondary education at Saint Angela’s College, Patrick’s Hill, Cork.  It was here she met the Ursuline Sisters and after school she entered the novitiate in Blackrock, Cork in October 1946, receiving the habit a few months later in April 1947.  She was given the name Sr Mary Immaculata, making first vows in 1949 and perpetual profession in 1952.

Her initial years were spent teaching kindergarten in Cork, always having a special charism for working with very young children.  In 1960 her life was to change immeasurably when she was called to be one of the founding group of Ursulines to leave Blackrock to make a new foundation in Columbus, Georgia in the Diocese of Savannah, USA. 

It was in Our Lady of Lourdes School and Parish that Sr Kathleen was to spend most of her religious life – a total of 35 years.  In Georgia Sr Kathleen taught the small children in the kindergarten classes and was especially known for her teaching of the catechism classes for children preparing for First Holy Communion and Confirmation.  Today there are many hundreds of people who owe their Catholic faith to the teaching and example of Sr Kathleen.

Sr Kathleen though was more than just a teacher, she was naturally a very motherly, caring person to all whom she met.  The many emails and letters received are testament to this care that so many people cherished during their formative years.

In 1997 a decision was made to close the convent in Columbus and after a year’s sabbatical in the USA Sr Kathleen returned to Blackrock enjoying her retirement there – taking up art classes and continuing her love of music and singing in the parish and in the convent. Her artwork is now seen adorning the walls of the convent in Blackrock, as well as her many photographs taken over the years recording jubilees and celebrations in the convent and her many travels on holidays and pilgrimages across Europe.  Sr Kathleen’s heart though remained with the people of Columbus and she very much enjoyed her return visit there for the jubilee celebrations. 

Throughout her life, her family connections with her sister, her brother and his children remained central to her life, spending much time with them on her many visits home from Columbus and then in her retirement visiting them and enjoying welcoming them to Blackrock and watching the next generation grow up. 

Ill-health led Sr Kathleen to spend the last few years of her life being cared for in Saint Luke’s Nursing Home not far from the convent in Blackrock where the community visited her daily and her nieces and nephews, though scattered in Ireland beyond would call to share the memories and stories of their families with her. 

As we gathered for her funeral Mass on 15th April we gave thanks for a life well lived, for her gentleness, for the love and care she showed to so many children in both Cork and Columbus and for her gifts of art and music.  May she rest in peace with the Lord whom she served so faithfully.