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Sister Rosarii Darby.
Sister Rosarii Darby.

'Outpouring of love' for Cork nun on her 88th birthday as locals organise a special surprise

Innovative residents in Passage West devised a clever way of celebrating a local nun's birthday while adhering to the government guidelines by holding a car parade in her honour.

It was a great show of community spirit in the town yesterday as residents, local Gardaí and members of the Red Cross showed up in their cars en masse to celebrate Sister Rosarii Darby's 88th birthday.

The parade came as a great surprise to Sister Rosarii who is currently cocooning in her home.

"I set up a chair for her outside her house and told her to step outside at about 2pm as there was a surprise organised for her," Passage resident, Mary Foley, told The Echo.

"She was absolutely delighted with it. Most of the time she was standing up waving at all the cars as they drove by."

Decking out their cars with banners, parishioners did two laps of the town beeping, waving and wishing happy birthday to Sister Rosarii as they drove past her house.

"We are so thankful to the local Gardaí and the Red Cross who led off the parade," Mary said. 

"It was wonderful to see such an outpouring of love for Sister Rosarii. 

"There must have been 50 cars which showed up for the parade and that's a testament to how loved she is. 

"She really is like an angel. She's been so good to so many people."

Sister Rosarii Darby who celebrated her 88th birthday yesterday.
Sister Rosarii Darby who celebrated her 88th birthday yesterday.

After the car parade, some locals gathered on the pavement around Sister Rosarii's house and, observing social distancing, sang her 'Happy Birthday'. 

Sister Rosarii first arrived in Passage 30 years ago and since then she has touched the lives of many people in the town, Mary said.

"It was great to see the vast array of people at the parade. People of all ages participated, from people who would have known her the thirty years when she first came to Passage, to people who had only just met her before the pandemic."

Sister Rosarii was due to leave Passage to return to her convent, the Sisters of Mercy in Clonakilty, but this has been delayed as a result of Covid-19.

"The only bit of silver lining is that we have her for a little longer," Mary said.

"There won't be a dry eye in the Parish when she has to leave."
Speaking about the celebrations yesterday, Mary said it was a true testament to the community spirit which is burning bright in Passage.

"The people in Passage West have amazing heart," she said.