Sœur Agnes Mary KILLEEN (Mary John Fisher) 1921-2014

Agnes Killeen WORDS OF REMEMBRANCE FOR SR AGNES KILLEEN

Agnes was born in 1921 and made profession in 1940.


The experiences of her early years of religious life no doubt contributed to form her character and prepare her for what followed.


Agnes’ life divides into several blocks, the first immediately following her novitiate in Kermaria where she made profession in 1940. At the beginning of the Second World War in 1939, foreigners were blocked in France. Agnes was interned in German camps at Vittel and Besancon, but thanks to her Irish parentage, was able to be freed after 9 months though still obliged to remain in our religious communities in France, a virtual prisoner. She taught for the rest of the war in Josselin, Brittany, cut off from family and country.


In 1946 she finally returned to England and the next 10 years were spent teaching, of which 5 years here at St Joan of Arc Prep School, as Head Mistress.


We all have our particular memories of Sr Agnes – most significantly during her time as our first Provincial Superior. In 1956 a new era began for the Sisters in England as we were organised as a Province. At the early age of 35, Agnes was named as our first Provincial Superior. She was entrusted with the task of establishing and guiding our Province over the next 12 years. All that went before prepared her for this responsibility.


She proved to be an exemplary model of fidelity to the Rule, always true and upright. Some experienced her as strict and exacting, but she always wanted others to be the best they could be and to live a life of faithful commitment to God and of service to the people.


After completing her term of office in 1967 she worked in Rickmansworth for a couple of years, before her next major assignment. This was to one of our overseas mission stations, in Cameroon, Africa. Here she served for 11 happy years, teaching and working with the boarders in a Mission school.


She returned to England in 1980 where she did pastoral and social work in Norfolk, for 11 years. Later her ministry was spent in our Community in Northern Ireland near Belfast, during the time of the ‘Troubles’, where she worked tirelessly for 13 years, with particular interest in Ecumenism and Peace issues. She was much appreciated for her Bible Courses and for her endeavours to bring people together from ‘across the divide’.


She returned to her native land in 2005 and was semi-retired in Westgate, and beginning to experience failing physical and mental health. Her final 5 years were spent in St. Vincent’s Nursing Home, where she was a model of patience and peaceful acceptance of God’s will. If you asked her how she was she would always answer “A1”! She was wonderfully and lovingly cared for by the Staff of St. Vincent’s right up to the final ‘Call’ when she finally slipped away quietly, in the early hours of Sunday, 9th November – Remembrance Sunday.


Today, the Feast Day of Our Lady’s Presentation, is a very appropriate day for her funeral: she who was ever a faithful handmaid of the Lord.

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