Sister Cora Woods
1932 – 2013
Born: 1st May 1932
Entered Religious Life: 30th June 1952
Died: 2nd February 2013
Sr Cora Woods daughter of Patrick Woods and Molly Mullally was born in Swanlinbar, Co Cavan on 1st May 1932 and to everyone’s amazement it was snowing! She was one of five children, two sisters Patsy and Margo, and two brothers Liam and Fr Thos. She entered the Sisters of Charity in Milltown 20th January 1952 following her Children’s Nurse Training in Temple Street Hospital, Dublin and made her religious profession on 26th January 1955.
Sr Cora’s whole life’s ministry was in the Nursing Profession having spent twelve years in the Nursery in Ballaghadreen, Co Roscommon and thirty years in St Patrick’s Centre, Kilkenny. She devoted her life to nursing and developing care for the intellectually disabled whom she loved and she was equally loved in return. The service to the Intellectual Disabled had just been established in 1966 in St Patrick’s and Sr Cora came in 1967 so it was a whole new and challenging field for her admitting mild, moderate and severe intellectually disabled children with varying degrees of need. She saw the continuing growth and development of the service and while managing her unit was also the only driver for the minibus. Many of the staff reminiscence about Cora taking the children on outings etc. She was well known by the traffic wardens in Kilkenny for abandoning the car or the minibus telling them she would be back! She also ensured the children got to school every day and she allowed the care staff to accompany them in the classroom before the appointment SNA’s. She was a great listener and was a great source of consolation and comfort to many parents and families for her wisdom and advice. Even after she retired they remained in touch.
After her years in St Patrick’s she took a sabbatical year and following that she was missioned to Cappagh Hospital in 1998 and thus began her pastoral role in the wards. She fulfilled this role until her accident on the grounds of Cappagh that left her with severe injuries in 2000. She resumed her role again until the closure of Cappagh in 2006 when she retired to Kilkenny. The results of the accident left her quite incapacitated and her dependency grew and she was admitted to the Mary Aikenhead Wing in 2008 until her death.
Sr Cora had a deep love for her family and made the long trip home up to Cavan at every possible chance. She was a devoted letter writer and wrote to her mother every week until she died. The mobile phone was also a great way for her keeping in touch having phoned her brother Fr Thos and niece Colette two nights before she died. Sr Cora had a great sense of humour and fun and was great to initiate a singsong. Her brother Fr Thos told the story of their Dad having retired from the Army owned a small dance hall in Swanlinbar and Cora was often known to get up on the stage to sing with the band.
Her prayer life was of paramount importance to her and she was a woman of routine. You would always be sure to find her at Prayer at various times during the day or reading the Word of God. Her sudden death on the 2nd February came as a great shock to us all as she had only been ill for the previous twenty-four hours. May she rest in peace.
Her removal took place to St. Joseph’s Church, Foulkstown for Mass and burial. The chief celebrant was her brother Fr Thos and the con-celebrants were Monsignor Michael Ryan and Fr Dan Carroll PP who gave a very inspirational homily. Her sister Patsy and her brother Fr Thos survive her. As she was being buried a large rainbow appeared in the sky and snow greeted her the next morning.