Sr. Bella – Elizabeth Carroll
of Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland
who died at St. Joseph’s Home, Killorglin
on 14th April 2021
aged 79 years, 59 of Religious Profession.
Bella was born in Enniscorthy, Wexford on April 3rd 1942 to Mary Kirwan and Jack Carroll. She was one of 11 children (6 sons and 5 daughters) and is survived by 3 sisters, Eileen, Bebe and Mary. From her earliest years Bella had a great awareness of our Creator and the beauty of the cosmos and spoke about being taken outside on moonlit nights to gaze in wonder at the starry skies – a practice and need that stayed with her throughout her active life.
Bella entered the Srs of St. Joseph on 12th. September 1959 in Llantarnam Abbey and was given the name Sr. Dominic Savio. She made first vows in August 1961 and final vows on 3rd September 1964.
She studied at Cardiff University obtaining a BA and later an MA in English Literature. She did her P.G.C.E or teaching Diploma in London.
Her ministry of teaching took place in both the Private and State sectors – she was most at home in the Private sector. Staff and past pupils recall her enthusiasm, professional dedication, and sensitivity.
Bella also worked for 10 years in West Africa on various projects – particularly connected with the teaching of the English Language. This motivated her in engaging with the APSO Organisation - the precursor of Misean Cara, in obtaining funds for medical, social, and educational needs for our missions in Africa and India. She lived in community in West Africa but also travelled to India with consultants from Apso to help assess, with our sisters, the greatest needs.
In fact, her last fundraising effort was publishing a book called the Knot Thing (A pun on the word Nothing) – to raise funds for our missions. She also, with her characteristic persistence, persuasion and perseverance got her family and home parishioners involved. We are deeply grateful for this ongoing commitment to such a worthy cause.
Bella the person we lived with in community had the eye, mind, and heart of a poet. She saw God’s creative presence I n all family and community relationships. Her generous and kind personality was marked by both depth and simplicity. When she spoke of what faith meant for her she gave St. Joseph as an example describing him as a “Great and good human being and a Silent, Smiling Sage” (her own words).
For all of us Bella was a colourful personality. At different times, she was Dom, Dominic Savio, Elizabeth and of course Bella. In her kindness and generosity there were times when boundaries were blurred, and the limitations of time and space were secondary. She would stay up into the early hours of the morning to do a job for someone or arrive home oblivious of the time or concern that people had for her safety. Walking was a lifelong passion for her and in her own words – “It helps me feel free and keeps me in touch with Mother earth".
In her last few years at the Abbey Bella continued to walk and walk in spite of increasing frailty. She was diagnosed with Primary, Progressive Aphasia and agreed to travel to our home in Killorglin where she would receive sensitive and professional care, in a safe, loving and familiar place. During her first months there, she was the same kind, smiling Bella, able to go for a daily walk with Sr. Benedicta and happy to mingle with the other residents in the Home.
Gradually, as predicted, however, Bella progressively declined, losing the ability to orally communicate or walk. She received the best of care on every level from our dedicated staff in the Home and from our own community of Sisters in Killorglin. To all of them we say a BIG thank you. During her last few days, she was never alone having the best of palliative care. She peacefully breathed her last on 14th April.
Dom, we say goodbye to you with these consoling words from St. Paul to Timothy; “You have fought the good fight, you have finished the race”
You have indeed walked the talk.
Bella, receive the well-deserved crown and rest in peace.