The retirement of Sister Teresa Murphy as Principal of Scoil Mocheallóg on December 31st, 2011 brings to an end the involvement of the sisters of Charity of St. Paul the apostle in education in Kilmallock ever since September 1927. The sisters had been in Kilfinane since 1903 and from that time on scores of young girls from south Limerick flocked to join the Order. Over a hundred young girls joined the Sisters from this part of Ireland in the century since they established their schools in the Kilfinane/Kilmallock area. It is ironic that the first principal of the girls’ national school, Sister Dympna O’Sullivan was from Graigue, Ardpatrick and that the last principal of the primary school sister Teresa Murphy from Ballinafina, Ardpatrick came from adjoining townlands in Ardpatrick. Thousands of girls have gone through their schools in Kilmallock in the intervening years. Sister Teresa comes from a family which has three members in the Sisters of St. Paul in three different countries, Romania, Britain and Ireland. Sr. Teresa’s uncle, the late Bishop Murphy grew up in the same house. She attended Ardpatrick National School, Scoil Pól in Kilfinane, entered the Order at Selly Park, their head house in Birmingham, came to Kilmallock in 1973 while attending teacher/training college of Mary Immaculate in Limerick for two years before taking up her first teaching post in Scoil Uí Eilí is Uí Ruairc (called after two of the Kilmallock Martyrs) in 1975. In 1983 she was transferred to Kilfinane where she replaced Sister Clementina as principal in 1990. When the boys and girls schools were amalgamated in 2004 on the retirement of Seán O’Connor she became principal of Scoil Mocheallóg. Now in another twist of fate she is handing over to Sean’s young brother Michael. As she lies down the burden of principalship Teresa intends to travel to see her sisters both in religion and family. Romania she says is a beautiful country. “Have pension will travel” will be her new motto. She also intends to write the story of her Order’s time in Kilmallock.

To celebrate 80 plus years of service by the Order in Kilmallock Canon William Fitzmaurice PP and Rev. Tony Mullins, Administrator of the diocese of Limerick, will concelebrate the 12 noon Mass on Friday January 6th at the Church of Ss Peter and Paul. The church choir including many pupils from Scoil Mocheallóg will pay its own tribute during the Mass. Sr. Teresa has been an active participant as a singer and organist. Though the involvement of the Sisters of Charity in St. Joseph’s Secondary School ended in 1998, the long association of the Order with secondary education in Kilmallock from the private secondary school in Sarsfield Street to the boarding school and day school at St. Joseph’s will be equally remembered and celebrated. Sister Kathleen Neenan, Feenagh, head of the Order is expected to be in attendance at Friday’s Mass as will sixteen other sisters from the Order. Unfortunately Sr. Austin McGrath, a pupil at the girls’ school in Wolfe Tone Street when Sr. Dympna O’Sullivan was appointed principal in 1928, will not be able to attend. The family were living in Sarsfield Street at the time and as far as is known she is the last person alive who attended all three schools, Wolfe Tone Street, Scoil Uí Eilí is Uí Ruairc and St. Joseph’s Secondary School. She lives in retirement in Selly Park, Bermingham. Many former pupils will no doubt attend and many should surely have interesting stories to tell particularly those who attended the boarding school in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.



The Sisters of Charity of St. Paul the Apostle traces their roots to the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres in France in the early 1700s. Two sisters from the Order, Sister Genevieve Depuis and Sister Joseph Marie Sapiens came to Banbury near Bermingham, England on the invitation of the parish priest Fr. Tand in 1847 to found a new congregation of Sisters. The congregation was formally recognised by the Pope as a separate Order in 1864 and in the same year they bought Selly Hall, now known as Selly Park, the mother house of the world wide Order. Bishop O’Dwyer of Limerick had a special interest in the Order as his sister was a member and he invited the Sisters to run the girls primary school in Kilfinane in 1903. The retirement of the principal of Kilmallock girls’ national school, Miss Clancy in 1927, resulted in the Order being invited to Kilmallock to run the national school for girls which shared the old school building in Wolfe Tone Street. The announcement was treated with dismay by the other teachers in the girls’ school, Miss Mary Raleigh (an aunt of Seán Moylan) Miss Mary Treacy and Miss Helena O’Connor who feared that they would all be replaced by nuns but they were assured that their jobs were safe and that promise was fully honoured when Sister Dympna O’Sullivan was appointed principal though as each lady retired they were replaced by a Sister.