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In Loving Memory of Sister John Teresita Barry

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In Loving Memory of Sister John Teresita Barry 

An incident this summer typifies Sister John Barry of the Sisters of Charity Order. One morning after mass at St James’s church, Sr John & Sr Teresa noticed a young man in the church who was looking a little bit lost. They enquired if he was alright, and might he like a cup of tea? He said he would, only if, he could bring some friends with him. In trouped five young lads in total, and they sat chatting with the two sisters over cups of tea & a plates of biscuits in the side-kitchen off the church. Two weeks later the nuns received a letter from Belfast, thanking them for their caring hospitality, from the young lost lads who had been on their first visit to Dublin.

Sister John was born in Warrenmount Co. Down in 1943. She was one of seven siblings (six sisters & one brother). In her early 20s she heard of a congregation called the Sisters of Charity, (an order founded by a Cork women Mary Aikenhead in 1815 to care for the poor of that area), applied to join, and was accepted into the order where she spent many happy years in parishes in Cork, London & before finally settling into the parishes of Donnybrook & St James Street.

Sr. John was regarded warmly in this parish.  She was known as the Church’s primary outreach to the elderly and infirm in the area.  Her trademark ability to listen and apply subtle humour to a situation made her very popular among the parishioners.  Sr John’s stamina and ability to continue to see people when her own health was failing illustrates clearly the beauty of her soul.  He patience, compassion and strong argument encourage local isolated people to leave the home and meet people in the parish hall. She would also knit for women of the parish who recently had babies.  It seemed there was no end to the amount of time she would devote to others and bear in mind that this was only with one of the two parishes she worked in!

The people of St James’ arrived in great numbers to Stan Hope Street Convent were Sr John was reposing to pay their last respects.  This woman is a reminder to all of us what difference each of us can make to those around us.  She was company to the lonely, an ear to the depressed and a friend to all.

Sr. John will be sorely missed by those parishioners of Donnybrook & St James’s Street. May she Rest in Peace 

 

By Poraic Cahill & Gary Kelly

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