At the beginning
of 2014 we are delighted to welcome Sr. Anita O’Leary who has joined the Parish
as our new youth co-ordinator.
Sister Anita is a St John of God sister, from Ferns in Ireland, and in
2004, she took the opportunity to travel Sr. Anne Marie Ryan, Sr. Johanna
Klep and Sr. Corona Gainford to work in a new ministry in Tzaneen in the
Limpopo Province of South Africa. Much of the work was to look after HIV/Aids sufferers and their families in St. Scholastica's
Mission in the diocese of Tzaneen
We asked Sister Anita to write a little
When asked to write about myself for this ‘Parish Magazine’, I did wonder:
Where do I start? So maybe the
beginning is always a good place.
I am Anita O’Leary, originally from Ferns Co Wexford Ireland. Those who
have a keen interest in history, can
actually Google Ferns and see that in the centre of the village there is
a ‘Norman Castle’. I suppose one could say that it was the people
of Ferns that brought the Normans to Ireland. I am the only daughter of the
late Thomas and Mary O’Leary. I have three brothers, who now have families
of their own. I am the aunt to five nephews and two nieces.
I entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. John of God in 1979.
I like to tell the story that it was only going to be for five weeks. Just
to get it out of my system. ‘It’ being a vocation to religious life.
I have celebrated my silver jubilee so the five weeks have multiplied. For
more information on my congregation, please feel free to visit our website:
During my formation years, I completed my teacher training at La Sainte
Union Southampton. I have my B.Ed in History. My first teaching post was
in London. Christ the King Tollington Park. Following my first year teaching,
I returned to Ireland where I studied in the Mater Dei Institute for
I returned to England where I took up my post at St. John’s Catholic School
Trowbridge, where I taught both in the infant and junior departments. While
in Trowbridge, I was actively involved in the parish.
In 2003 I heard the call to respond to a congregational call to be part
of mission to South Africa. On the 27th September 2004 three sisters and
myself left Ireland to be the founding members of this mission. Our
task was to work with caregivers who cared for those living with HIV/AIDS
across the Diocese of Tzaneen. For nine years I was part of this ministry
working at various levels of out-reach to the most vulnerable.
I left South Africa on the 1st December 2013 and arrived in London Gateway
on the 21st December. The twenty days on board a container ship gave me time
to reflect and to give thanks for nine most blessed years.
A new chapter in my religious life begins now. This role within the Parish
brings with it many opportunities. I take this opportunity to thank you all
for your welcomes.