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Sr Oliver McDonagh dies in Castlebar

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Former teacher and community activist dies


Neill O’Neill

neilloneill@mayonews.ie

Sr Oliver McDonagh, Ard Bhride, Castlebar and formerly of the Convent of Mercy, Westport, who has died at Cuan Caitriona Nursing Home, Castlebar, was a former teacher and well-known community activist in Westport for several decades.
A native of Kilconly, Tuam, she was in her 92nd year and was in poor health since suffering a stroke two years ago. She entered the Mercy Order in 1938 and served in Westport, Ballyhaunis and Achill.
Sr Oliver was a former teacher and Vice-Principal at St Patrick’s Girls NS, Convent of Mercy, Westport, now known as Scoil Phadraig following its amalgamation with Westport CBS primary school as a co-educational school.
When she retired from teaching she immediately took over the voluntary management of the Westport Social Services Council, running the council’s centre at Mill Road in the town for over 20 years. Under her guidance the council developed into a significant agency in the provision of social services in the town and area, especially meals-on-wheels and laundry services.
When the Sisters of Mercy left Westport after more than 150 years service, the Social Services Council made a special presentation to Sr Oliver in recognition of her outstanding voluntary service to the community.
She will be sadly missed by her nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, cousins, relatives, friends and her Mercy community.
Following repose at Ard Bhride, Castlebar, removal took place to St Mary’s Church, Westport, on Sunday evening where Fr Charlie McDonnell and Fr Paddy Gill officiated at the reception ceremony. A Guard of Honour organised by Westport Social Services Council and including members of the SSC, the Mercy community and other Westport community representatives flanked the hearse as it arrived at St Mary’s. Concelebrated Requiem Mass was offered yesterday (Monday) by Fr Charlie McDonnell, Fr Micheál Mac Gréil, Fr Ger Burns, Fr Paddy Gill, Fr Michael Molloy and Fr John Cosgrave, and in accordance with her wishes, Sr Oliver was laid to rest in the Convent cemetery at Altamont Street, Westport. Although the Convent is now in local authority ownership, the Mercy cemetery is a protected burial site.
Sr Kathleen Friel, Ard Bhride, thanked all who had enriched Sr Oliver’s life down through the years, especially those who had supported her and the Mercy community following her illness two years ago.  At the Mass a post-communion reflection was given by Sr Geraldine Costello.

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