Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald said he and wife Georgina were honoured to help mark Edel House founder Sr Colette’s milestone birthday yesterday.
“It was an honour to be in her presence,” he said.
“Although originally from Waterford, she has been living in Cork for around 80 years and her contribution to the vulnerable in our city, her compassion and dedication, has been phenomenal.”
Sr Colette Hickey, of the Good Shepherd Sisters, founded the Edel House night shelter in the city centre in 1972 as part of the Good Shepherd Services, to provide accommodation and support to homeless and/or vulnerable women and children.
She led the development of various support services over the next 30 years and was named the first Cork Person of the Year in 1993 for her crusading and campaigning work.
Good Shepherd mission leader Sr Jane Murphy, who has known Sr Colette for over 35 years, described her as a remarkable woman.
“Colette has lived through remarkable changes in religious life and in the world around her,” she said.
“I’ve known her as a very positive, practical, and down-to-earth woman. She is compassionate and kind and has always treated everybody with great respect.”
She was born Bridget Teresa Hickey on January 31, 1918, in Barracree, Co Waterford, in the shadow of the Comeragh Mountains.
She joined the Good Shepherd Sisters in Limerick in September 1935, aged 17, and was received into the congregation and given the religious name Colette a year later.
She made First Profession in July 1938 and was appointed to the community in Sunday’s Well, Cork, where she worked in the bakehouse and kitchen.
In 1972, Sr Colette began working in what was to become Edel House. “Having lived an institutional and enclosed way of life, this must have been a daunting challenge at that time but Colette more than met this opportunity,” said Sr Jane.
“Her compassion and care for those who needed a place to stay were appreciated by all who came to the door.”
Meanwhile, a teenage virtuoso who has released a solo CD and played Carnegie Hall before being old enough to vote has been named Cork Person of the Month for January.
Classical pianist and violinist Kevin Jansson, 17, from Wilton, was described by awards organiser Manus O’Callaghan “as one of the finest musicians of his generation”.
“The awards won and the accolades received for someone so young speak for themselves,” said Mr O’Callaghan. “Kevin has a very bright future and I look forward to seeing him perform in the greatest music venues in the world over the coming years.”