Sister Elizabeth Kelly RIP

  • M P Mulhall, csb

Sister Elizabeth Kelly

Sister Elizabeth Kelly

Tributes have been paid to a former Denbigh school headteacher who has sadly died after a short illness. Sister Elizabeth Kelly, teacher and headteacher at St Brigid's School for 42 years until retiring in 2004, died aged 79 on December 11.

Sister Elizabeth, known fondly by generations of pupils as Sister Liz, was a popular figure in Denbigh and has been described by colleagues as the "strength and backbone" of the school.

Born in Dublin, Freda Kelly - later to become Sister Elizabeth - attended St Brigid's as a pupil from the age of 12 years old and stayed until she completed her sixth form studies.

She entered into the Brigidine novitiate in 1958 and devoted her life to the Brigidine order with a special devotion to Mary.

Sister Liz became a teacher at the school in 1962 under the headship of Mother Dolores. She later succeeded Mother Dolores and was the headteacher from 1981 until her retirement in 2004.

Tony Hannigan, chair of governors at the school, said: "Sister Liz was a shining example of humanity - kind funny, wise, empathetic and a friend to all that met her. The school community feels her loss profoundly but we know that she is now with God."

Sister Liz was a drama teacher and during her time the school became renowned for its annual pantomime show, a tradition that continues today. She also taught RE and art and offered spiritual and pastoral guidance to pupils.

The school had boarders during Sister Liz's tenure and she built strong relationships with the girls who were living there during term and for some in the school holidays. She took part in every facet of school life, including helping with Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and taking boarders out for weekend excursions.

Sister Liz continued to be the school chaplain after her retirement and was still holding assemblies and saying the rosary with pupils up to several weeks ago when she became unwell after having fallen at home.

Rona Jones, St Brigid's current headteacher, said: "Sister Liz was known was the embodiment of the school motto 'Fortiter et Suaviter' ('Strength with Gentleness'). Sister Liz will be remembered by past and current pupils, staff and parents as a beloved member of the St Brigid's family."

The funeral took place at St Joseph's church in Denbigh on Wednesday, December 19 at 11am, where she was a parishioner for over 40 years.

Sister Liz was buried in Pantasaph next to her former colleagues and Brigidine sisters, Sister Dolores and Sister Rosario.

Donations can be made to Glan Clwyd Hospital's ICU and Ward 7.

Tags: Brigidine, Sister Elizabeth Kelly, Sister Liz, Pantasaph

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