A piece by Cathal Doherty for the Limerick Leader published on 1 Apr 2023 and reproduced with permission
Limerick community pays tribute to a ‘powerhouse’ school principal
THE COMMUNITY of Bruff were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a “powerhouse” and an “extremely supportive and always encouraging” individual who dedicated over half a century to parish life. Music, caring and kindness are some of the many words being used to describe Sr Veronica Carey since her passing last week. “If you ever needed to know anything about Bruff, all you had to do was ring Sr Veronica,” a local man and a friend of the late Sr Veronica said.
She was born and raised in Cree, County Clare but spent most of her adult life as a member of the Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ) residing in the convent in Bruff from 1964 until the sisters left the area in 2018.
From a large family, Sr Veronica had four sisters and three brothers. She attended boarding school in Bruff convent when she was young and would later return to the town when she entered the FCJ and became a teacher in the primary school within the convent.
As a former principal of St Joseph’s Girls’ NS in Bruff from 1969 until her retirement in 2001, Sr Veronica was “extremely supportive and encouraging” especially when it came time to amalgamate the girl’s national school and the boy’s school to make the current Bruff National School.
She was known to always keep up with her past pupils and was proud of all their achievements. “She’d even keep up with their children and sometimes grandchildren,” a local said.
“She was just in tune with everybody and everybody who knew her had something positive to say about her,” the local man continued.
She was considered to have a “huge part” to play in the community of Bruff for over half a century. Sr Veronica would have been known as the first nun from the Bruff FCJ convent to integrate herself into the community in a social sense. “If there was a need to get involved, she would get involved in it always,” a Bruff local said. “She was very much involved in choral work, music and sporting groups,” the local added.
Sr Veronica would also have been known by locals in Bruff as the community notes correspondent for the Limerick Leader for a number of years.
She enjoyed good health all her life until soon after her retirement when she became sick with a number of illnesses according to a local. “Her quality of life changed after her retirement but by God, she’d never let it get her down.”
Having a keen interest in sports, Sr Veronica helped out with the Bruff camogie team. She was a proud Clare supporter but kept up with the winning tide of the Limerick team in her later years and knew all about the three in-a-row champions and John Kiely.
She had a “phenomenal singing voice” according to Sr Geraldine Lennon, who was a great friend of the late Sr Veronica.
“She was very much involved in the choir and she loved her music. She kept her beautiful singing voice right up to the end” she said.
The Bruff choir sang at Sr Veronica’s funeral mass, last week which was described as “just beautiful” by Sr Geraldine.
“She overcame a lot, especially her illnesses. As she said herself she picked up the pieces and went on and continued her apostolate to the best of her ability,” Sr Geraldine continued.
“She was an incredible enabler. She enabled others to succeed and to get ahead in life. She was someone who had a huge love of people and a huge interest in people. When she left Bruff in 2018 she kept totally connected with different people to keep up with the parish.”
Sr Veronica was in hospital for a week at the end of her life. “We were glad her suffering didn’t continue for long,” Sr Geraldine said. Sr Veronica died peacefully on Tuesday, March 21 at University Hospital Limerick. She was predeceased by her parents, Thomas and Margaret and her sister Eileen. She is very deeply regretted by her FCJ sisters, her brothers Fr John, Patrick and Michael, her sisters Anne, Maeve and Teresa, her sisters-in-law Mary and Ann, her nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews and her many relatives, friends and carers.
Her funeral Mass was held in St Peter and Paul’s Church, Bruff on Friday morning, March 24 followed by burial at FCJ cemetery Laurel Hill. May she Rest in Peace.