Sr Stanislaus Kent, pbvm recently celebrated her 100th birthday in Youghal, Co Cork, Ireland. The following article was written by John Walshe and was printed in the East Cork News & Advertiser on 17 June 2021.
At midday on Thursday last, as the morning rain ceased and the sky brightened after the partial eclipse of the sun, Sister Stanislaus Kent emerged onto the front steps of the Presentation House on Youghal’s Front Strand to celebrate a momentous occasion, that of her 100th birthday.
The previous day, Bishop William Crean had celebrated Mass in the Holy Family Church in honour of Sr Stan’s century which was attended by local dignitaries, friends and townspeople. And so on Thursday it was the turn of the fellow members of her Presentation order to mark the occasion and it was appropriate it took place at their residence looking out on Youghal Bay, a view that Sr Stan has no doubt enjoyed and appreciated during her 80 years in the seaside town.
In a remarkable recent interview by Tommy Collins on local radio CRY104FM, Sr Stan recalled with amazing clarity her young days growing up in Ballymona, just outside Mitchelstown, the town which she described as that old sponsored advertisement used to say “the home of good cheese”. Born in the turbulent year of 1921, Sr Stan explained that during her secondary school years a nun with the same name she would later take made a prophetic statement: “I was told to go in to see Sr Stanislaus, my namesake, and she said to me ‘I want you to continue your studies because I have a little cell for you down in Youghal'”.
She arrived in Youghal in the year of 1939 and has remained there ever since. Teaching in the Presentation Primary School, Sr Stan recalls the big classes of the time. “I remember 50 pupils in sixth class one time; they were so close together I couldn’t get around the desks, so that was a challenge. But Youghal children were great, I loved the teaching and I always got great satisfaction teaching any children who had difficulty.
I was 40 years teaching and I’m now 37 years retired,” she says with a laugh. Asked if she had received the ‘big cheque’ from President Higgins, she replied “sure I couldn’t use it anyway, as I have a vow of poverty, but I suppose it will go to the Convent.”
At the conclusion of the special Mass held in Sr Stan’s honour, Canon Bermingham thanked Bishop Crean and the priests from the parish and all who helped to make it so special an occasion. Cllr Mary Linehan-Foley, Mayor of the County of Cork, then made a presentation to this remarkable centenarian and paid her the following tribute: “Just to say a very happy, happy birthday to Sr Stanislaus. I have happy memories of Presentation Convent, it must be 50 years since I darkened the door there and I suppose it has to be said I was no easy task! As the County Mayor I’m honoured to be here but I’m more honoured to be here as Mary Linehan, the girl that started in the Presentation back those 50 years ago. Little did I think, Sister, all those times I was told to stop talking that talking would eventually be my job. You taught me well, and all the fun we had will always stay with me. So happy birthday Sister from all the people in the area and thank you so, so much for your service throughout the years.”
Submitted by: Sr Placida Barry, pbvm