An Irish Rose whose goodness blessed this country

Rev. Sr. Mary Adrian

When I first met Rev. Sr. Mary Adrian many decades ago, I was too small to think that this special person would not only influence me during my growing-up years but also for the rest of my life. No doubt this is true of all those who passed through the hallowed precincts of Sacred Heart Convent, Galle and whose lives were touched by Sr. Adrian.

Sr. Adrian was an Irish Rose who lived the life of a Sri Lankan by choice. Born in Ireland, she put down roots in our soil and bloomed fragrantly here for more than half a century.

She came to this country 58 years ago as a young missionary belonging to the order of the Sisters of Charity. Her years here were dedicated to serving humanity. Most of those years were spent at the Sacred Heart Convent, Galle as a teacher and then as the well-loved principal.

Rev. Sr. Mary Adrian’s patience, compassion and love transcended all ethnic and religious differences. She understood the heartache of a little girl new to boarding school crying for her mother, her face smudged with sticky tears. She was always there to console unhappy children with her tender loving care. She also understood the heartache of many a pig-tailed, starry-eyed teenager who had experienced the tears of a broken romance. She was always there for us, and always sensitive to the beauty of the unspoiled and innocent love of adolescence. She was a Fairy Godmother to all those who came under her care.

She was soft-spoken, yet strong. She was kind, yet firm. She was simple, yet she inspired awe in her students. The radiance she spread around her mirrored her inner beauty. She was devoid of anger, hatred or malice.

Neelani Wickrema Wijesinghe

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