Sr Geraldine Celebrated for Contribution to Students’ Lives

On 25 May the staffs of Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ and Laurel Hill Secondary School FCJ, Limerick, gathered with some student representatives in the school chapel to say thank you and farewell to Sr Geraldine to mark her ten years’ service as chaplain. We reproduce here a piece by David Raleigh for the Limerick Post published on 10 June 2023 (with permission)

One of the country’s most respected educators, who has given her life to teaching and harnessing the potential of students, was recently celebrated at Laurel Hill Secondary School in Limerick City.

Sr Geraldine Lennon, who is stepping back in her role as school chaplain, was the guest of honour at a Celebration Mass recently held at the school, marking her outstanding contribution to the lives of pupils who attended at the South Circular Road school, set up by the Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ) French nuns religious order.

Sr Lennon, a Wexford native and a sibling to Monsignor Denis Lennon, relocated to Laurel Hill after overseeing the end of the FCJ’s 162-year presence in Bruff, County Limerick, where Sr Lennon had been principal of the local boarding school.

“I’m sad in one sense that I am sort of at the stage where I am coming out of being at Laurel Hill full time, but I’m glad that I’m not going too far. I’ll be able to have a presence here yet,” said Sr Lennon.

Casting her gaze up at the existing school, which opened in 1944 and functioned as a boarding school until the late 1980s, she added: “I’m very happy when I see the teachers are carrying on the FCJ tradition and I have no worries about that. The FCJ spirit and the care for the students here is alive through the staff.

“There is a lot of hope for the future, we are very lucky in that we have wonderful teachers, and wonderful young teachers who have plenty of energy and enthusiasm, and they want to continue the spirit of the school. I think everybody who comes to teach here loves it, and they hope they will get a permanent job here when they come first because they love the spirit of the place.”

Sr Lennon spent 34 happy years in Bruff, where she and her fellow FCJ sisters harnessed the future of generations prior to finding a new role for the last ten years at Laurel Hill.

Recalling her time at the south east Limerick boarding school, she offered: “I was very sad that Bruff went. It would still have a huge place in my heart, but when I came in here to Laurel Hill and I saw that the FCJ spirit was alive in here as well, it helped me to settle in.”

It has allowed her to ensure she could “continue on what, I suppose, I joined the FCJs to do – to follow the spirit of our founder Marie Madeleine d’Houët, who was so strong on her values of care for children, gentleness, and being good to people.”

Top photo credit: David Raleigh, Limerick Post