Marking a remarkable contribution
Published: Fri, 4 Dec 2015
Sister Bernadette Healy has spent over two decades working with homeless families at the Housing Executive’s Grosvenor House hostel in Belfast.
The Minister for Social Development, Mervyn Storey MLA, recently made a presentation to her to mark this considerable contribution.
During her tenure at Grosvenor House, Sister Bernadette has helped 500 plus families. The presentation was made as part of Homelessness Awareness Week (28 November - 5 December) as Sister Bernadette prepares to retire from her current role in the hostel.
Speaking at the event Minister Storey said:
“It is a great honour to join with everyone today in marking the extensive contribution Sister Bernadette has made in supporting homeless families for over 20 years. Making families feel comfortable and providing stability in a time of severe stress and crisis has always been central to Sister Bernadette and the Marist Sisters’ approach. It is clear that Sister Bernadette has been central to the services provided here within Grosvenor House hostel, and her daily hands-on leadership has been an inspiration to all. I want to thank Sister Bernadette and all the Marist Sisters for their commitment and dedication.
“It is testament to Sister Bernadette’s compassion that, as she moves on from her role here at Grosvenor House, she continues to dedicate her life to helping others as she returns to Dublin to work with women who have been trafficked and those with alcohol addiction.”
The Housing Executive’s Director of Regional Services, Siobhan McCauley, commented:
“The work carried out by Sister Bernadette for the past 22 years is remarkable. Her care for others, support of furthering education and her strength of character are an example to us all. I am delighted we were able to mark her work at Grosvenor House today.”
Originally from Roscommon, Sister Bernadette joined the Marist Sisters and has spent all of her life devoted to helping others. She is a trained nurse, a qualified midwife and was the first Marist Sister to go to Brazil where she worked in a small hospital in South Brazil and was instrumental in helping save the lives of premature babies.She then spent almost a decade in the Amazon region (North Brazil), working in abject poverty, fighting corruption and persecution of the poor.
On her return to Ireland in 1993 she took up post at Grosvenor House and has worked there over a 22 year period with families who have found themselves homeless. She also lives in the hostel.
Sister Bernadette will officially retire from the hostel on 4 January 2016. However, her work is not done as she intends to work with women who have been trafficked and those with alcohol addictions on her return to Dublin.
On 4 January 2016 the Housing Executive will be formally transferring the management of Grosvenor House, from Sister Bernadette and the Marist Sisters to The Salvation Army. Sister Bernadette and her Team have been working closely with The Salvation Army to ensure a smooth transition of the service.