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Union: US Sister Rita O’Connell Retires from Health Care Ministry
After serving for 42 years in the health care ministry of St. Irenaeus parish, Cypress, Calif., Sister Rita completed her work there with a joyful parish celebration on June 10, 2018. In her letter to the parish she recounted her call to religious life at age 16 but told no one, not even her parents, until after attending a vocation exhibition.
She entered the Presentation Sisters in Balieboro, Ireland, at age 20. Two years later she set off on a rough seas trip across oceans for 19 days to minister with the Presentation Sisters in Pakistan. The following year she professed her first vows a year. Five years later, she professed final vows. She served in Pakistan for eight years and three years in India.
She and a number of other sisters from the Rawalpindi (now Islamabad) Pakistan congregation answered the call for missionary sisters to minister in southern California. They established themselves in Cypress, Calif., in 1967 and from there branched out into several areas nearby. Sister Rita’s early years were spent in teaching until she began her ministry in the parish from which she is now retired.