Coalisland shares fond memories of US-based nun Sister Mary Theresa O’Neill

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The people of Coalisland have shared fond memories of US-based nun Sister Mary Theresa O’Neill, who passed away in New York state on April 3.

Sr Mary Theresa, who is survived only by her nieces and nephews, was the sister of the late Aughamullan and Annaghmore PS schoolmaster Frank O’Neill.

Described as “a holy and gentle woman”, the 96-year-old entered the convent in 1947 at the age of 27, professing her final vows in 1955.

An Atonement missionary, Sr Mary Theresa served in the US states of Utah and New York and also in British Colombia, Canada, before returning to Ireland to work in elderly care in County Leitrim for 29 years.

She then transferred to the order of the Franciscan Sisters of Atonement in Graymoor, New York in 2001, where she spent the rest of her days.

A post on the Clonoe Gallery Facebook page has asked parishioners to “pray for the repose of the soul of Sr Mary Theresa O’Neill, Franciscan Sister of the Atonement, Greymoor, Garrison, New York”.

Born in Coalisland on October 10, 1919 to Margaret (Quinn) and Francis O’Neill, their only daughter was predeceased by her four brothers; Joseph, Frank, Peter and Gerard. Tributes to the fondly remembered nun spoke of her as “a holy and gentle woman with a grand smile and a caring heart” who “always called in to see us when she was home”.

“RIP Sr Mary Theresa,” said another, “Heaven has gained an angel.”

Sr Mary Theresa was laid to rest in the Sister’s Cemetery at St Francis Convent in Graymoor, NY, following her funeral Mass of Resurrection at the Motherhouse Chapel in St Francis Convent on Friday (April 8).

“Please keep our community and sister’s family in your prayers,” asked Clonoe Gallery of its followers.

She passed away at Lurana Health Care Residence in Garrison, New York.