Sister Johanna Purcell, celebrated 50 years professed as a sister with the Holy Faith Sisters with her own people in south Kiilkenny.
A native of Middlequarter, Polerone, Mooncoin, Sr Johanna has been living in New Zealand for the past 50 years as a member of the Holy Faith Sisters.
This was her first time home in half a century and she was meeting many of her nephews, nieces and other family members for the first time.
Having entered the Convent in Dublin at the start of her profession in 1961, she professed as a nun three years later and returned to Ireland to celebrate her Golden Jubilee as a nun last weekend with her brother Paddy Purcell, Polerone, Mooncoin, Margaret Woods, Glendonnel, Mullinavat, and Bridie Aylward, Cloonassy, Mullinavat.
She also had a celebration at the Mother house in Dublin before she came to her native Mooncoin. Four hundred and seventy five years of religious life were celebrated in the gathering of Jubiliarians in Glasnevin on Friday, August 8. The celebratory meal, preceded by prayer, is hosted every year by the General Leadership Team to honour the sisters who have chalked up 25, 50 or 60 years of dedicated service in the congregation.
A party was held for family and extended family in the Mooncoin GAA complex in the village, recently where there was a party and a special cake with a feast of food for all.
Sister Johanna was showered with gifts from her immediate loved ones and extended family, many of whom she had never seen, having been living in New Zealand for the past 50 years. She will return to New Zealand this weekend, where she will carry on her teaching duties, and bring some more memories back from her native Mooncoin.
There is a community of three sisters in Auckland on the north island and a community of two sisters in Christchurch on the south island. In Auckland sisters are engaged in retreat work, services to migrants and primary school teaching. The two retired sisters in Christchurch serve the parishioners and support earthquake recovery in a variety of ways but especially by service to the elderly.