THE death of Sr Alphonsus O’Brien, who passed away last Thursday at the age of 104, has been described as the ‘end of an era’ by one of her close friends.
Esther Sinnott said that while there is sadness surrounding her death, she takes solace in the fact that she lived a long and fruitful life, which was reflected in the real sense of celebration at her funeral mass at St Patrick’s Church on Monday.
Born in Limerick, Sr Alphonsus taught for many years at the then Presentation Convent in Bandon. She was renowned for her speech and drama classes and especially her popular Good Friday Passion Plays, which she directed up until recent years. Sr Alphonsus even lived through two pandemics, having survived the Spanish Flu as a child in 1918.
‘She lived a very fruitful life up to recently and I always came away with a new perspective on something after visiting her. She was a teacher up to the very end,’ Esther said.
‘She absolutely loved people and she was just one of those people who made you feel all the better after being in her company.’
Esther said the pandemic was particularly difficult for Sr Alphonsus, but she didn’t let it stump her creativity and she even wrote a poem called ‘The Virus’ during her time at Bandon Community Hospital.
‘I made her a promise that her legacy will be brought to life on the first Sunday of Advent and on Good Friday every year. She brought two different worlds together – her faith and her drama – and people would tell her they wouldn’t miss the Passion Play for anything.’