Sister Rita Whooley, FMSJ obituary

Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of


who died in Montenotte Nursing Home, Cork on Thursday 27th September 2018

Bridget Rita Whooley was born on 29th January 1923 at Leap in the District of Skibbereen  Co.Cork  to Patrick and Mary Whooley.  She was baptised at St Mary’s, Leap on 31st January.  She is predeceased by her parents and two of her brothers and her three Sisters all of whom became Religious and is survived by her brother Paddy to whom she was very close and her many nieces and nephews.  She attended the Convent of Mercy School in Skibbereen and obtained her Leaving Certificate.

Bridget entered the Congregation at St Philomena’s, Altrincham on 11th February 1943 and entered the Novitiate on 28th August 1943, receiving the name of Sister Annunciata.  She later reverted to her baptismal name of Rita.  She made her first Profession on 8th September  1944 and her Perpetual Profession on 8th September 1949.  From 1944-47 Sr Rita worked in  Child Care in Claughton, Didsbury and Lytham.  Her file shows that she was appointed to Penampang  in North Borneo to teach and that she sailed from Southampton   in the company of the Mother General on 14th December 1948.  She taught in Penampang and Limbahau for twelve years and in 1960 returned to Cork for three years to study for a degree at University of Cork.   She then returned to teaching in Kuching and Jesselton until she was appointed to Didsbury in 1969 where she remained until she retired to Ireland in 2001.  She worked for the Rescue Society and trained at the Boston Spa School for the Deaf in order to teach hearing impaired children for receiving the Sacraments.  A report she wrote in 1990 detailed that she had 40 children on her list in many different schools in the Diocese.  She wrote “The relationship built up between non Catholic schools and ourselves is very good.  During the past month one school which was rather hesitant about my giving instruction asked if I would go and talk at the Harvest Festival and now they are happy for me to go.”

Rita retired to Blackrock and maintained close contact with her family.  She celebrated her Platinum Jubilee on 8th September in 2014 and had a wonderful day although she was already slightly confused and suffering short term memory loss.  This deteriorated rapidly and she had several bad falls and a broken hip.  She was lovingly cared for by Sister Mary Coyne but eventually she needed full time nursing care and was admitted to Montenotte Nursing Home where Sister Mary and a number of the Sisters visited several times a week.  She no longer remembered the Sisters or family members but still knew Father Mulheran when he visited her last year.

Rita will be remembered for her ready smile and sense of fun and for her patience with and love for the children she taught.  She spent many hours in prayer especially for priests and priestly vocations. Whilst in Blackrock she was sacristan in the house chapel and a Eucharistic Minister in the Parish Church across the road.  She was always so grateful for any little thing that was done for her and yet never looked for any thanks for what she did for others. May she now rest in the peace of the Lord whom she served so faithfully for over seventy years.

The funeral Mass for Sister Rita will be held on Tuesday 2nd  October at 2pm at St Joseph’s Parish Church and she will be buried in St Oliver’s Cemetery.



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