The unexpected, yet peaceful passing of Sr. Sheila McKenna took place on July 29, 2017.

On April 2, 1938, Mary and Patrick McKenna (Brockagh,Tempo) welcomed a baby daughter, Sheila, to their happy family. She grew up in the warm companionship of her sisters – Mollie, Sue, Ena, Eileen – and her brother, Pat.

She was surrounded by the peace and beauty of the countryside, and by a love of music which permeated her home.

There was much fun as the young McKennas made their way to Dooneen for their primary school education. This was Sheila’s stepping-stone to Mt. Lourdes for her secondary education, following in the footsteps of her sister, Mollie. At the conclusion of her studies, she again followed Mollie and joined the Sisters of Mercy in the nearby convent on October 3, 1956. In 1957, she was received into the Congregation and given the name, Sr. Dominic Savio.

Two years of prayerful formation followed. 1959 saw Sheila going to Sion Hill, Blackrock, Dublin to follow a three year course in teacher training. This was the launching pad for a teaching career in the Convent Primary School, Enniskillen for one year and the Girls’ Primary Castleblayney (1963-2001).

She proved herself a much-loved, caring teacher, who guided her young pupils in the ways of God, of learning and human development. Her past pupils speak particularly of her great gentleness, and, indeed, this was the trademark of her life in school, in the parish and in her religious community.

Within the Convent, Sheila carried the roles of community bursar and sacristan with quiet efficiency. Her faith shone out in the care she gave to the ordering of community, parish and school liturgical celebrations, facilitating the local and visiting clergy most graciously. Nothing ever seemed too much trouble!

On her retirement from school, Sheila enjoyed a sabbatical in Marianella, Dublin, and also visited her sister, Mollie (Sr. Anita) in Florida. She was devoted to her family and her many nieces and nephews, and enjoyed visiting them over the years.

In 2013, Sheila’s health began to deteriorate, and she moved from Castleblayney to her alma mater, the Convent, Enniskillen. Her health continued to fail, but she remained peaceful, gentle and pleasant, always appreciative of the least kindness.

On July 27, 2017, she was hospitalised in the SWAH, Enniskillen, and on July 29 she passed away very unexpectedly, yet peacefully, to her eternal home. Her death, like herself, was gentle and quiet, as she returned to the God whom she had loved and served so well.

On July 30, Sheila was welcomed back to Enniskillen Convent by her religious community, her family and friends. During the ensuing wake, many came to offer sympathy and prayers, and to share memories of Sheila’s kindness and concern. Past pupils, colleagues and friends from Castleblayney and Tempo joined her family and religious community to pay tribute to the sterling quality of her life.

On July 31, Requiem Mass was concelebrated by Monsignor Peter O’Reilly, P.P. Enniskillen (main celebrant), Very Rev. Canon Pat McHugh, P.P. Castleblayney,Very Rev. John Halton, P.P. Tempo, Rev. Kevin Duffy, C.C. Lisnaskea, Rev. Des Corrigan, S.M.A. The convent chapel was filled to overflowing with family, friends, religious sisters, and local clergy.

Afterwards Sheila was laid to rest in the Convent Cemetery, accompanied by her many relatives and friends. Even the sun shone!

Sheila is survived by her sisters, Mollie (Sr. Anita), Sue Fee, Eileen Bannon, her brother-in-law, John Bannon, and her many nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. She was predeceased by her brother Pat, her sister, Ena Scanlon, her brothers-in-law, Phil Fee and Tommy Scanlon. 

The funeral arrangements were by Enda Love Funeral Directors, Enniskillen.