The Holy Child Sisters came to Killiney in 1947, the first Mass being said, in the convent, by the late Archbishop John Charles McQuaid on January 1st of that year, and the school opened on 15th September. At that time there were twelve boarders and twenty two day pupils, the age range being four to thirteen years old. The Society, an Educational Order, had been founded in England in 1846 by Cornelia Connelly, an American, a convert, a wife and mother.
In the early years of “Holy Child Killiney”, the Sisters were entirely involved in the school which was expanding rapidly. Today it caters for 450 pupils, of which 78 are Juniors. Mass was said daily in the Convent chapel by the Chaplain, one of the Archbishop’s Secretaries, or a Franciscan. This meant that the Sisters had very little contact with the Parish.
In the 1960’s two of the Sisters established a girls’ club in the school, for the girls of the Parish who were working during the day. This met two evenings a week, and continued until there was television in nearly every home with “soaps” which were more attractive to the girls than the activities of the Club. After Vatican II, Sister Colettte Dwyer, with the help of some of the older pupils and their parents, together with some of the Sisters, started evening classes in the school, to teach the children of the Travellers whose caravans were parked in the area, to read and write. This gave rise to the establishment of St. Kieran’s school for Travellers in Bray. One or two of the Sisters taught there for many years.
As the Parish grew, the Reverend John Deasy, one of the curates and the then chaplain to the Holy Child School, said Sunday Mass in St. Columcille School, Willow Vale and some of the Sisters were among the first Eucharistic Minsters there. Sister Patricia Holden, with some of the local children, provided the music and singing for the Liturgy. When the Church of the Apostles was built the Sisters continued this ministry there. Later, some of the Sisters became readers; one is still a reader there and another in the Parish Church. The late Sister Catherine Lynch became a member of the Frederick Ozanam Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and Secretary for many years, only retiring before Christmas 2005.
In 1989 the Sisters moved out of the School building into “Kilmuire”, a house on the school grounds. The Convent Chaplain was then Father Cathaldus OFM. After his sudden death that year daily Mass was no longer said in the Convent. That meant that the five Sisters living there started to attend Mass in one of the Parish Churches.
A Sister now runs a Bridge Club on a Monday afternoon in the Parish Hall. All the Sisters are long past retirement age so the main contribution they can make to the Parish is that of prayer.
Click here to visit the School website...http://www.holychildkilliney.ie/index.html