Sister Imelda Kearney
1928 – 2019
Born: 13th August 1928
Entered Religious Life: 7th July 1958
Died: 7th January 2019
Catherine Imelda Kearney was born on the 13th of August 1928, the fifth child of ten children of Thomas Kearney and Beino (Bridget) Martin, Ballymac, Effin Co. Limerick.
Before joining the Sisters of Charity she had graduated from the Grafton Academy with a certificate in Arts and Design which influenced her whole ministry as a Sister of Charity.
Imelda entered the Religious Sisters of Charity on the 7th July 1958 and was received into the Novititate on the 30th April, 1959 receiving the name Sr. Joseph Borgia. She was professed on the 2nd May 1961.
Following profession Imelda was assigned to Kilcreene, Kilkenny for a few months and then to the Nursery in St. Joseph’s Kilkenny where she cared for the infants and had a great love for the most vulnerable. Her next experience was Parish work in Macclesfield and Langley, England. She then completed a course in Rehabilitation Nursing in Buxton before returning Ireland. Imelda being a versatile person was asked to look after the housekeeping in Mount St. Anne’s from January 1965 to November 1966 which also gave her an opportunity to develop her gifts in Arts and Crafts and to follow her dream in passing on those skills to those most in need. In November 1966 she moved to Our Lady’s Hospice Harold’s Cross and to St. Monica’s Nursing Home Belvedere Place in 1969. She was then assigned to Pacelli School for the Blind in Lagos Nigeria where she taught Arts and Crafts from May 1972 to July 1974. On her return to Ireland she did some Home economics with children in Baldoyle Hospital and from there spent the next ten years in Clarinbridge
In 1986 the Congregational Leader was asked for Sisters to work in a rehabilitation centre in Kenya and Imelda was chosen to serve there because of her skills in this area. This she did and her stories were many on her return in 1987. From then until 1997 she taught her favourite crafts in the Brothers of Charity Clarinbridge, Donnybrook Dublin and St. Patrick’s Cork after which she took a well-earned sabbatical.
From December 1999 to October 2005 she was assistant local leader in Crumlin and St. Vincent’s Cork. She then retired to St. Anthony’s Cork and was there until she needed care in Lakelands and finally in The Anna Gaynor Unit Harold’s Cross where she endeared herself to the staff and other residents. She made many new friends in the Anna Gaynor Unit and engaged in all the activities. She especially enjoyed baking, painting, music and tending her flower pots on the veranda of her room.
Imelda was a very versatile person with a great gift of storytelling which provided much entertainment in Community. She had very happy personality. She was loved by all and especially her family whom she loved dearly. They have many happy memories of her especially the younger generations. Her grand nieces and nephews looked on her as their Grannie. She was described as being magic being able to pull something out of her bag bringing joy to them always. On her visits home she was always found in the midst of the younger generation entering into their lives and just loving them.
Sr. Imelda died in the Anna Gaynor Unit on the 7th January 2019. Her remains were returned to Lakelands on January 10th where she lay in repose following a special Evening Prayer. She was removed to Star of the Sea Parish Church, Sandymount on Friday 11th for her funeral Mass. She is buried in the community cemetery in Donnybrook.
May she rest in peace.