Fethard nun recalls trip to New York in 1935

Photographed above are the four young Fethard girls, L to R: Nuala O'Brien, Monica Kevin, Kitty McCarthy and Nellie Carey, leaving on the boat from Cobh to join the Ursuline Order in New York in 1935.
A photo that appeared on the Fethard website sparked a flood of nostalgic memories for Sr. Monica Kevin OSU who was one of four young local girls, the others being Nuala O’Brien, Kitty McCarthy and Nellie Carey, who left Fethard on August 8, 1935, to join the Ursulines of Tildonk order in New York City.

A photo that appeared on the Fethard website sparked a flood of nostalgic memories for Sr. Monica Kevin OSU who was one of four young local girls, the others being Nuala O’Brien, Kitty McCarthy and Nellie Carey, who left Fethard on August 8, 1935, to join the Ursulines of Tildonk order in New York City.

Sr. Monica, born on the 19th March 1920, in Barrack Street, goes on to recall her memories of that eventful trip as she looks at the photograph:

A space of 78 years dims the memory but there is a residual thirst for home in all of us that we take to our graves.

We sailed from Cobh on a tender that brought us to ocean liner, the U.S. President Harding.

The photograph was taken on the deck of the ‘Harding’ in 1935. Life on board was exciting and after the first day we had adjusted to movement, got our sea legs and stopped watching the water.

After eight days of sea and sky we approached New York Harbour. To this day the sight of The Statue of Liberty evokes the memories of that day. I knew I was in a foreign land and was determined to make whatever adjustments would be necessary. I had arrived at step number one along my pilgrimage. I knew three years before that I wanted to be a nun. I also believed I was called by God and had a responsibility to respond to that call.

Several other girls from the Presentation Convent School in Fethard had already entered The Ursulines in New York. Cissy Power, a classmate of my sister Mai, had entered a few years before and I recall saying to myself, “If Cissy Power can do it so can I.” I recall Mother Benignus telling me that I would not be lonely, there were so many Fethard girls in the Order. She was shocked to hear my response (from a 15 year old), “We live our own lives.”