On Thursday 9th September 2010 Sr. Helen Keegan was laid to rest in St. Michael’s Cemetery, following Requiem Mass at Sr. Michael’s Parish Church, Athy.

Huge numbers turned out to mourn a lady of great love and warmth and feeling, led by Sr. Helen’s four sisters, six brothers, extended family, fellow Sisters of Mercy, together with former teaching colleagues, townsfolk and friends.

Born sixty-six years ago in Ballinagore, Co. Westmeath, Sr. Helen journeyed to Athy almost a half century ago to enter the Convent of Mercy in October 1961.


Inspired by the vision of Mother Catherine McAuley, her ministry in education began at St. Michael’s primary school and then as a gifted teacher of Maths in Scoil Mhuire secondary school, Athy. Her kindness endeared her to generations of Athy girls, but also her determination to empower them as able and educated young women.

In 1981 Sr. Helen was appointed Principal of Scoil Mhuire, a position she would hold for eighteen years and during which time she oversaw the transition to the new premises in 1984. It was an onerous task but one which she performed with generosity and humour. Sr. Helen got things done without fuss; her style was never aggressive or aloof. Amazingly, she could welcome each new first year by name on their first day at Scoil Mhuire.

One of her great gifts was her ability to respond to people of all ages; regardless of her plans or schedules, she always had time for you.

In 1999 Sr. Helen was appointed to work in the Education Office in Limerick, then subsequently elected onto the Provincial Team. She really believed in Christ as the way, the truth and the life and acted out that belief in sixty-six years of gospel living. Her devotion to assisting those in need of justice and a helping hand led her to Nairobi, Kenya in 2008 but sadly that work was cut short and Sr. Helen returned home due to ill health.

Sr. Helen had a beautiful soul, she lived in this world with kindness and humility. She will be missed dearly. We are thankful that she is free from her suffering and that He who sent her has taken her lovingly home.

May she rest in peace.