Sister Una O’Neill
1924 – 2014
Born: 26th January 1924
Entered Religious Life: 15th June 1942
Died: 5th April 2014
An appreciation of Sr Una O’Neill RSC
Sister Una O’Neill was born in Limerick on 26th January, 1924 and entered the Novitiate of the Sisters of Charity in Milltown, Dublin, in June 1942. She was Professed on the 24th June 1945 and shortly afterwards commenced preparation for teaching in Primary Schools at Carysfort Training College in Blackrock.
In 1953, Mother Teresa Anthony Heskin, the Superior General and her Council announced that a new Foundation would begin in California in the autumn. Sister Una, who was teaching in Milltown Primary School at the time, was one of those chosen to commence this new mission in Long Beach, California, because her talents also included music and she prepared and directed the school choir at Mass on Sundays. Any choirs she trained had a most beautiful tone.
Sister Una became Principal of Our Lady of Fatima School in San Clemente, where again the pupils and their parents found her an excellent teacher and administrator. She understood the help and guidance that new teachers might need and was always ready to hear the difficulties that parents might be experiencing. Sister Una also had the gift of love for teenagers and became a spiritual guide for some of them in San Clemente, as they shared with her their desire to enter religious life. Today, Sister Kathleen Bryant, Sister Marsha Moon and Sister Frances Maria Monsimer (the latter from Garden Grove), are Sisters of Charity and Sister Marsha is Regional Superior in the Californian Region. Sisters Michelle Hetherington and Margaret Farrell who reside in the Region came into contact with Sister Una in Ireland.
Because of ill-health. Sister Una had to return to Ireland in 1974 and was missioned to Temple Hill, Blackrock in 1975 where she commenced her involvement in helping several young people who shared with her their desire to give themselves to God in Religious Life. On 30th April 1975, she was missioned to Gardiner Street Convent and, despite continuing ill-health, was always interested in school and vocation ministry. She was described by teachers who knew her then in Gardiner Street School as an excellent outreach worker with real sympathy for the children and their families. However, in the summer of 2005 it was felt that Sister Una was in need of nursing care so on the 22nd August she became a patient in St. Monica’s Nursing Home, which is situated just around the comer from the Convent.
She loved people; Sisters, relatives, and past pupils – she was always interested in what they shared with her during a visit and promised prayers.
Sister Una continued to live a fairly active and independent life in St. Monica’s. She was able to attend Mass in St. Francis Xavier Church and visited her Community in Gardiner Street for Feast Days, Christmas and Easter. Sister Una was very grateful for any care and attention she received from the staff in St. Monica’s.
In the two years prior to her death, her health declined which restricted her freedom and ability to go out. She was never heard to make a complaint of any kind with this major change in her life. She enjoyed two days of celebration for her 90th birthday in January 2014.
Sister Una was called to her Eternal Home on the 5th April 2014. She reposed in St. Monica’s for a few hours – and then returned to her Community in Gardiner Street. Her Requiem Mass was celebrated in her beloved church of St. Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, by Fr. Barney McGuckian S.J. a friend of her late brother Fr. Niall S.J. and her friend.
Sister Una was buried in the R.S.C. cemetery in Donnybrook.
May Una’s dear soul find eternal life in the love of Christ.