Angela O’Connor

Angela was born in Durrow a village near Tullamore, Co. Offaly, almost at the very centre of Ireland. A place steeped in Christian history as the monastery at Durrow Abbey produced the beautiful 7th century illuminated gospel, the Book of Durrow and an ancient illustrated High Cross. When Angela went to work in Dublin, she lived at the hostel in Harcourt Street. The youngest of five siblings, Angela had met the Society when her older sister, Maria, had joined us. However, it was the humanity, kindness, simplicity, sense of fun, generous service and availability of the community there that persuaded her – much to her surprise – to leave her government post and become a novice in Killiney, Co. Dublin.

AngelaOConnor3Subsequent training in business studies helped prepare her to be the bursar at Holy Child Community School, Sallynoggin, later to run the Cathedral Centre in Salford for homeless persons and those on the margins of society, and now to welcome SHCJ and other groups and individuals to the Cherwell Retreat and Conference Centre in Oxford. A very practical woman, Angela is quick to notice and respond to the needs of those around her. This ministry of hospitality extends, when possible, to working some hours at the Gatehouse, the drop-in centre for homeless people in Oxford because Angela has a deep commitment to serving those on the margins of society.

When she left Salford, Angela studied for a degree in pastoral theology and masters in Religion and Education and then worked in pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Dublin. It was accompanying people of many different cultures into the Church, through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, that was perhaps the most rewarding aspect of her work, together with being part of a busy parish.

Angela serves as a trustee of the European province, is one of the SHCJ links to the Associates, and is involved in Formation. She recently chaired the committee organising a Tertianship programme in Philadelphia for a group of thirteen sisters from the African province and one from Chile. It helped that Angela had spent a year in Washington some time before and also visited Nigeria and Ghana.

Maybe the busy life on a farm, which was Angela’s first desire in her early years, contributing to people’s physical nurturing, isn’t too far away in purpose from Angela’s ministry of supporting the life and nurturing growth of those she meets, wherever and however she can.

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