Congregational Register No: 107
First Profession: 08.09.1946
Died: 06.05.2008 Aged: 87 years
Joan Maria Purcell was born in Dublin and considered herself a ‘true blue.’ She was educated by the Sisters of Charity in Gardiner Street and had the Dublin sense of humour, a great interest in politics and a capacity to connect with people from all walks of life. There is nothing on record to indicate what first attracted Joan to MMM, but she entered in 1943 and took the name Sr. M. Teresa.
Sr. Teresa was missioned to Nigeria in 1948 and worked in Ogoja, Obadu, and Ikom. She was always a deeply conscientious religious.
In 1957 she went to the USA to do promotion work and returned to Ireland in 1959 to continue with promotion work in Europe. Sr. Teresa went to Ethiopia in 1965, where she is remembered for her warm hospitality to all who visited Gambo. She went next to Ndubia in Nigeria in 1969, where she was to stay for several years.
Sr. Teresa was kind and accommodating to others but was quite strict with herself. She preferred a simple, even austere, way of life. In 1975 she went to a house of prayer for three months to test her vocation for contemplative life. Her prayer life was of great importance to her and she drew much comfort and consolation from it.
Apart from a short period in Kenya in the early 1980’s, Sr. Teresa spent most of the rest of her working life doing promotion work, mission appeals, and mission awareness in the USA, UK and Ireland. Being on the road for long periods of time can be a demanding way of life, but Sr. Teresa worked at it with her usual conscientious zeal.
During the early 1990’s, Sr. Teresa was part of a team that gave An Siol retreats in west Dublin. She also did ministry in the Methodist Centre in Abbey Street, Dublin. From 1994 until her retirement in 2004, she worked in the refectory in Drogheda.
In 2006 she became very ill but she recovered due to the great care and love she was given in Áras Mhuire, Teresa blossomed once again into her true loving self. She had the time to connect with her nephews and grandnephews and was in regular contact with them through visits and phone calls, which gave her much pleasure. She enjoyed quite a good quality of life and continued to play a mean game of Scrabble until shortly before her final illness. Ten days before she died, Teresa suffered a stroke. She was unable to talk but she responded to others with a gentle smile or nod. Her nephew Peter and his wife visited her several times during the week and were very attentive to her. She was called from this life on 6 May 2008. May she rest in eternal peace.