Sr. Philomena O'Sullivan, a Columban sister originally from North Cork, has been named June Cork Person of the Month in recognition of her life's work as a nursing missionary in Korea.
Following Sr. Philomena’s profession in 1949, she trained as a nurse at Mercy University Hospital.
She left Ireland for Korea in June 1955 with Sister Mary David Mannion and they were only the second group of sisters to arrive in Korea.
On arrival in Korea in 1955, Sr. Philomena and her colleagues faced an extremely turbulent environment. It was the end of the Korean War and there were significant challenges in treating the many thousands of people who attended their Clinic.
A large number of their patients had been forced to flee North Korea and were suffering from tuberculosis and malnutrition, in addition to many people who required treatment for land-mine injuries inflicted during the war.
Sr. Philomena travelled home to Ireland in 1971 to study midwifery at St. Finbarr’s Hospital. In 1974, she returned to Korea, establishing a base in Cheju, an island off the coast of Korea, where she set up a clinic together with developing a weaving industry providing local employment.
Sr. Philomena continued her work in Korea until 2009, following which she returned to Ireland. Having spent more than 50 years working in Korea, she celebrated her Diamond Jubilee with her fellow Columban Sisters in Maghermore, Co. Wicklow on August 24th, 2009. Now retired, she continues to reside in Co. Wicklow.
Sr. Philomena O’Sullivan will now go forward, with the other Persons of the Month chosen so far this year, for possible selection as Cork Person of the Year, at a Gala Awards Lunch at the Rochestown Park Hotel on January 19th, 2018.