The Sisters of Mercy, who bid farewell to Cahir where their first school was established over 150 years ago, were accorded a civic honour to acknowledge their contribution to the community
The Sisters of Mercy were welcomed to the Town Hall in Clonmel where the Mayor of the Clonmel/Cahir Municipal District and members accorded the order a mayoral reception.
Mayor Martin Lonergan told the invited guests that they had gathered to express their gratitude to the Sisters of Mercy for what they have done and for what they have meant to the people of Cahir and surrounds for 151 years.
“Our celebration is tinged with certain sadness because we say farewell to the Sisters who were the very heartbeat of many communities over the years.” he said.
The mayor said he was honoured and humbled to afford this reception to acknowledge the compassionate presence and generous service of the Sisters of Mercy to the people of Cahir and the surrounding areas for over 151 years and to sadly mark the end of an era of service to the community.
The mayor said that in Cahir the Mercy Sisters established a girls’ primary school, a secondary school (Scoil Chriost Ri) and the boarding school.
From Cahir a convent and school were established in Portlaw, a school and hospital in Clogheen and a school in Ballyporeen. They also developed St Joseph’s Hospital in Clonmel and having worked in the adjacent St Michael’s Hospital, Sr Eileen Fahey saw the great need for a rehabilitation centre and she consequently established the ‘Aiseiri’ centre in Cahir which spawned a similar centre in Wexford and a centre for young people in Ballyragget.
In 1957 Mother Keane founded a convent and a junior primary school in Haverfordwest in Wales.
The mayor said that since arriving in Cahir in 1863 the contribution of the Mercy Sisters has been immense.
“For over a century and a half the people of Cahir town and it surrounds have been moved by your faith,” he said.