Sister Francis Catherine Barrett
1925 - 2021
Born: 12th December 1925
Entered Religious Life: 17th October 1955
Died: 1st April 2021
Julia [Dolie] Barrett, daughter of James Barrett and Bridget Deane was born in Bangor Erris, Ballina, Co. Mayo on 12th December 1925.
She taught in the primary school in Swinford for eight years after which she entered the Religious Sisters of Charity on 17th October 1955 and was received into the Novitiate on 21st April 1956 receiving the name of Sr. Francis Catherine. She was professed on 22nd April 1958.
Following her profession, she was missioned to St. Patrick’s, Kilkenny before moving to London to study in Holy Rood House where she gained a Certificate in Residential Care of Children in June of 1959. She spent short periods in Milltown, Birkenhead and Chester before returning to St Patrick’s in August 1960 and was involved in the care of the children there until 1966.
When St. Patrick’s Industrial School was closed in 1966 the premises were used for the care of children with a learning disability. Sr Francis Catherine commenced her training in the nursing care of the learning disabled in Cregg House, Sligo and qualified in 1970. Following her training she returned to St. Patrick’s where she was involved in the care of teenagers with a learning disability until 1989. She excelled in this field providing training and workshops for the teenagers.
In 1989 she was missioned to Clonmel as Ministress and took charge of Marian Court which involved care of the elderly. She remained in Clonmel until her sabbatical in October 1999.
Following her sabbatical, she spent some months in St. Monica’s after which she was missioned to Donnybrook and was involved in the pastoral care of the elderly in Maryville Nursing Home until it closed in 2006. She remained in Donnybrook until March 2015. Sr Francis Catherine was very hospitable and was welcoming to Sisters and visitors ensuring that they were received graciously.
Due to her declining health she retired to Lakelands in March 2015. In spite of her advancing age, she kept in touch with her family who visited her regularly and who loved her dearly. She had a very sharp mind and could quote poetry at will, providing much entertainment for sisters and visitors. Sr Francis Catherine was a very prayerful person and when she promised to pray for you, you were sure that she would do so.
Her failing health led to her death on Holy Thursday, 1st April 2021. We were privileged in being able to care for her to the end amid the Covid season. During her removal service the Sisters sang the hymn to Our Lady of Knock. Her funeral Mass was celebrated in Star of the Sea Church in Sandymount followed by her internment in the community cemetery in Donnybrook. May her good soul rest in peace.