Sister Ethel was born in Lissycasey on the west coast of County Clare – a part of Ireland famed for its hospitality, music and song. Her parents instilled in her life values and an appreciation of people less fortunate that continues to sustain her to this day.
In 1963 Sister Ethel joined the Little Company of Mary and was sent to South Africa in 1972. When she arrived in South Africa, she was based at Eersterust, outside Pretoria. A nurse by profession Sister Ethel spent her earlier years in Missionvale, attending to the sick and dying in their homes. She later went on to establish a local clinic, a nutritional and educational program, children’s health and development programs and other humanitarian work. Sister Ethel’s work in South Africa has garnered local and international recognition, including a visit from Mother Teresa.
Despite her successes, Sr Ethel is humbled by the sobering thought that we are reaching only a fraction of the people who need help. In the whole scenario of this deepening poverty and having to make less go further, alI she has at times on a personal level to give, is compassion and love.
To any person, this looks insurmountable at times. But Sr Ethel is a great believer in that if each of us takes a part of the whole and works on our piece, then together, some day the vicious cycle of poverty will be broken and the children who are now deprived of happiness, play, education, nutrition and security will enjoy this – their right of childhood!