New Heritage Room now open in St. Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney
Sr. Rita Dawson, Provincial of the Religious Sisters of Charity, officially opened the new Five Sisters Heritage Room on 21st May, 2019. She was accompanied by members of the Board of Trustees, Senior members of staff and community members.
It is called The Five Sisters Heritage Room, located in the Hub of the Hospice, because it tells the story of the five Sisters of Charity who arrived in Hackney from Dublin in 1900, leaving behind their families and friends so that they could help the poor and dying of East London. They were pioneering, brave women who, working with Father Peter Gallwey, and with a generous donation from Grace Goldsmid, a Jewish woman of means, opened St Joseph’s Hospice in 1905.
These sisters are:
Sister Catherine O’Flynn, first Superior who was born in Cork in 1867 and died in 1946. She is buried in Donnybrook Cemetery, she like all of the others eventually returned to Ireland. Sister Winefred Sugrue was born in Cork 1866 and died in 1935. She is buried in Kilbarrack Cemetery. Sister Agnes Aloysius Martin was born in Dublin in 1866 and died in 1937. She is buried in Little Bray Cemetery. Sister Mary Sabas O’Connor who was born in Louth in 1868 and died in 1923 is buried in Ballaghaderreen Cemetery. Sister Mary Uriel Duffy who was born in Mayo in 1874 and died in 1954 is also buried in Ballaghaderreen Cemetery.
The Five Sisters Heritage Room contains some wonderful artefacts, including records of the first patients who were cared for at the Hospice and some fabulous footage going back many decades. The annals of the time record that the very first patient was carried into the hospice on someone’s back. A record reveals the occupations of some of the first patients as ‘soldiering’, ‘barman’s wife’, ‘maid’ and ‘tailoress’.
Mr Tony McLean, Chief Executive, St Joseph’s Hospice said, “I hope that the Five Sisters Heritage Room will be enjoyed by anyone visiting, working or volunteering at the Hospice and will share the story of these five remarkable women.
“I’d like to thank Sr Rita Dawson whose Congregation has funded all the interior work, and TNA Building Services who did all the external construction work free of charge.”
Sr. Maria Coates – who worked as part of a team to bring into being a new Heritage Room