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Last member of Irish religious community dies, aged 90

06 April 2023


Sister Verity Anne CSJE and the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson

Sister Verity Anne CSJE and the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson

THE last remaining Sister of the Community of St John the Evangelist (CSJE), in the Church of Ireland, Sister Verity Anne, has died, aged 90.

CSJE, one of two sisterhoods founded in Dublin, celebrated its centenary in 2012. It was established by the Vicar of St John’s, Sandymount, Fr Le Fanu, in Clyde Terrace in 1912. In 1915, the sisters opened St Agnes School for Girls in the adjoining house, accepting girls from All Saints’ Children’s Home, Grangegorman. By 1918, the CSJE had become a full community.

The other sisterhood, the Community of St Mary the Virgin, Ballsbridge, amalgamated with the Sandymount Order in the mid-20th century. The CSJE Sisters moved the focus of their apostolate to Wales, to St Davids and then Bridgend, but returned to Ballsbridge, Dublin, at the end of the 20th century.

By November 2019, Sister Verity Anne was the only surviving nun, and was moved from St Mary’s Home, in Pembroke Park, to St John’s House, Merrion Road, where she remained until her death on 7 March.

Canon Andrew McCroskery, the Rector of St Bartholomew’s, Dublin, where the Sisters used to worship regularly, said: “Their faith, service and witness, both in Dublin and at St Davids Cathedral in Wales, has been very special and touched the lives of so many.

“Sister Verity’s death marks the end of an era for the Community, but we are grateful for all they have done for us in lives that were remarkably disciplined and though all the Sisters who gave so much of themselves in service of God.”

The Sisters were known for their sewing skills — particularly of vestments — and their hospice care and teaching. Sister Verity Anne Clarendon was the daughter of a priest, and made her profession on 5 November 1957. Her funeral was held on 23 March.

The religious life in the Church of Ireland is continued by a Franciscan, Brother David Jardine SSF, in Belfast.

Two clerics in Kilcolman, in the diocese of Limerick & Killaloe, took vows originally as Franciscan Sisters in the Roman Catholic Church, and have continued in the religious life since becoming Anglicans and being ordained: Sister Isabel Keegan is Priest-in-Charge, and Sister Ann-Marie Stuart is Assistant Priest. Both have served in post since 2018, and will retire next month.

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