May 1927 – April 19th 2022
Sr. Maureen Ita was born in Dungannon, Northern Ireland, in May 1927, one of five children. All her siblings have pre-deceased her. She was educated locally at the convent schools and joined MMM just a year after finishing school. After her initial religious formation, she was not sent for further studies, but remained in Drogheda for nine years, one of the essential workers in the early days of the International Missionary Training Hospital (now, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital). In those days she was known as Sr. M. Joseph Enda, but she returned to her baptismal name later. As a grandniece of the then Archbishop, Cardinal MacCrory, she would have been widely known by all the visiting clergy. She worked at the “front end” of the hospital, in reception, in the shop, welcoming visitors and guests.
In 1957, Mother Mary asked her to go the Apostolic Nunciature in Dublin. There she was involved in the running of the household and her skills at welcoming people and making them feel at ease was well utilized. This was a three-year assignment after which she returned to Drogheda for a further three years. In 1960, another Nunciature assignment arose. This time to Ethiopia for a period of nine years.
On her return to Ireland and working in the hospital, Maureen Ita realised that a lot of the work she was doing was actually Pastoral Ministry and she began working with Sr. Eileen Carmel in Chaplaincy work. Her gentle personality was well suited to this ministry, reaching out to the patients on a more spiritual level. In the early 1980s she went to USA and did some units of Clinical Pastoral Education in Boston for qualification. On her return to Ireland, she worked in Cluan Mhuire, an Alcoholic Rehabilitation Centre in Newry with Sr. Consilio Fitzgerald.
Maureen Ita was always known to have a kind heart and a listening ear. She enjoyed the interaction with people and they seemed attracted by her kindness.
In 1995, she realised that her visually impaired sister, Eithne, in Dungannon, needed her help. This started a long process of care-giving and mutual support between the two sisters. Eithne eventually needed to be hospitalized in 2015 and Maureen Ita returned to Drogheda and was soon admitted to Aras Mhuire Nursing home for her own care needs. Her health remained stable for many years and she enjoyed the company of the Sisters and staff in Aras Mhuire. In 2022 her health began to decline and she died in the early morning of April 19th. She is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery.