Obituary for Sister Antonia O'Donovan FMSJ

Posted on: 07 December 2021

Author:Sister Joan Kerley


Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of
who died at St Luke’s Home, Cork on 6th December 2021

Teresa O’Donovan was born on 8th April 1927 in Cork, Ireland, a twin daughter to Cornelius and Mary O’Donovan. She is predeceased by her brothers Diarmuid, Connie and Stephen and her sisters Maura and Nora. Her twin sister, Betty, lives in the United States. Teresa was educated by the Sisters of Mercy, St Maries of the Isle in Cork and she entered the Congregation in the convent of St Francis, Blackrock on 19th March 1946. She then transferred to St Philomena’s, Altrincham on 14th June 1946 and entered the Novitiate on 6th January 1947. She made her First Profession on 12th March 1948, receiving the name of Sister Mary Antonia.

Antonia was sent to the University of Cork where she obtained a BA in 1951 and then to Sedgley Park Teacher Training College, Manchester where she did a post graduate Diploma in Education before being sent to Jesselton, Malaysia in 1952 to teach. She made her Perpetual Profession there on 9th August 1953. In 1962 Sister Antonia had to return to the UK on medical grounds and from 1963-1973 she taught at Vaughan House in Freshfield and became the Principal. When Vaughan House closed she worked for two years in the Herald Office in Broughton Hall before teaching for a year in St Hilda’s, Burnley. From 1976-1987 she taught at St. Bede’s Preparatory School in Manchester and then spent three years working in the Finance Office in Catholic Children’s Rescue Society. She retired in 1990 to Eccleshall and moved to Blackrock in Cork in 1997.

Having been a member of the UK Finance Team, Antonia continued to stay interested in finance and helped with the community accounts for some time. She was an avid reader and would read the newspaper from cover to cover. She was also a good letter writer and had beautiful handwriting even in her later years. Many Sisters have said that Sr Antonia was lovely to live with, had a good sense of humour and was always very kind. She was also a prayerful person. She was close to her family and enjoyed telephone calls, letters and visits from her nieces and nephews. After being hospitalised for several weeks during the summer, Sister Antonia often needed oxygen to help her breathing and had to move to a nursing home where this could be provided. She was happy and well cared for at St Luke’s Home in Cork and was visited by both the Sisters and her family. On Sunday 5th December Antonia became unwell and she died peacefully at 1am on Monday 6th December. Her niece, Margaret, was with her.

The funeral Mass will take place on Thursday 9th December 2021 at the SMA Parish Church in Cork at 11.00am followed by burial in St Oliver’s cemetery.