Benevolent Fund Committee
I was delighted to take over the role of Chairperson of the Benevolent Fund from Sarah Stapleton last September at our 2020 AGM. Sarah has done an excellent job at the helm for the past 3 years and we cannot thank her enough for her dedication and work.
Last May we welcomed Sr Mary Shiel via Zoom, as our new Religious Representative. Sr Mary is a wonderful addition and brings with her considerable expertise. Perdita Quinlan has finished her term as Treasurer and passed the mantle on to Luci ODonohoe who joined us a year ago. Rhona O'Connor has kindly taken over from Ruth Thornton as Secretary. Our thanks to everyone for their unflinching dedication and commitment.
Our primary goal in 2021 is to support Past Pupils who need assistance. We do this with the generosity and help of the past pupils from all the Sacred Heart Schools. This year we are also focusing on Good Governance and are busy redrafting our Constitution.
Let me introduce you to our Committee who work so hard for the Benevolent Fund. If you would like to join us there is a vacancy for 3 people on the committee. You can contact me, directly on 086 3332722 or via the past pupils office on +353 1 278 3362 and I look forward to seeing you all soon.
Rosie Crimmins, Chairperson
Rosie Crimmins (nee McCambridge) Class of 1987
My name is Rosie Crimmins (nee McCambridge) and I started in Mt Anville Montessori and left in 1987. My eldest daughter has just finished there and my three others are currently in the Senior School.
I studied Sociology and Geography at Trinity College followed by the DBS in Smurfit/UCD Business School. My professional background is in Sales & Marketing and Property Management. I returned to Ireland 11 years ago after 10 years spent in UK for my husband’s work.
Four years ago, I joined the Benevolent Fund and am now privileged to have taken over as Chairperson from Sarah Stapleton. The Sacred Heart Community is truly global and all past pupils from the Irish Scottish Province are eligible to receive help. As many of us on the committee are Mount Anville Alumni, the Benevolent Fund is very lucky to benefit from the support structures of the Past Pupils' Office and MAPPA. Together, we are working towards building a dynamic framework of services for our past pupils, whilst never forgetting those who may need help, short or long term.
My name is Luci O’Donohoe. I left Mount Anville in 1987 and went on to do Commerce in UCD and then qualified as a Chartered Accountant. I joined the Benevolent Fund committee about 18 months ago and have recently taken on the treasurer role.
Before joining the committee I had no idea of the great work the Benevolent Fund are doing, providing financial support to past pupils of all the Scared Heart schools in Ireland and Scotland. We’ve all had expenses like needing a new boiler or medical expenses for our children, and the BF have helped girls like us, whose life circumstances have meant that they are not in a position to pay for these things. Most of us have been very lucky, but life hasn’t been fair to all of us, and for every success story we read about in the e-zine, there are others, who through no fault of their own, have found themselves in straitened financial circumstances. Relationship breakdown, addiction, mental health issues are all real issues facing our past pupils. If you or a friend need support from the Benevolent Fund, please contact us in complete confidence.
Rhona OConnor Class of 1977
I left Mount Anville in 1977 having started in the Montessori at 4 years of age. Not being academic I joined Bank of Ireland where I worked as a Computer Operator in the 80’s a very different role today. I took a redundancy package and ventured into the real world where I had a variety of roles including working for Hugh Wallace and owning my own restaurant. This was my university. I then joined Bank of Scotland Ire as a Debt Collector where I learn about people and how they struggled financially. My next role in BOSI was as CSR Manager where I facilitated grants of 1.8M to 130 charities. This gave me a great understand of what a small grant to do to make a big difference in people’s lives. When the Bank closed, I then worked for Age Action and the RNLI.
Deciding it was time for a change again I went to college and a Mature Student and was introduced to Digital Marketing which I love. I did several part degrees courses which lead to a Masters in Digital Entrepreneurship. Today I run a small company helping SMEs with their Digital Marketing.
As one of the organisers of our decade reunions I have kept my connection to my classmates and the school. I was approached to join the Benevolent Fund Committee, joined and have been a member now for 4 years. This year I became the Secretary for the next 3 years. Hopefully we will bring news of the Benevolent Fund to more people with our website and Social Media – especially people who need a little help from the Fund.
Sr Mary Shiel Class of 1965
I grew up in Mount Merrion, where I attended Scoil San Treasa Primary School, and then Secondary School in Mount Anville, followed by UCD, first in Earlsfort Terrace, and eventually I finished in Belfield when the University moved out of the city. My degree is in English and French. I did a Higher Diploma in Education, and much later a Diploma in Guidance and Counselling.
As a student, I felt I might have a call to be a Religious of the Sacred Heart and decided to try it. Happily, I am still here! I made my Final Profession as a Sacred Heart Sister in 1980 in Rome, followed by three months teaching in a rural school in Uganda. I am very blessed in all I have done, and have had many interesting experiences, including two years living with two other Sacred Heart Sisters on a site in Coolock, North Dublin, with the Travelling people during the 1970s - a time I loved.
I taught for many years, in the Secondary Schools of Mount Anville and Roscrea. I enjoyed the work in the schools, whether meeting students at class level or helping them individually as a Guidance Counsellor. In the 1990s, I worked with younger religious in their formation training, and part-time with students for the priesthood in Dublin’s Clonliffe Seminary. I was ten years on the team of the Sacred Heart Schools Network, an Association of Sacred Heart Schools in Ireland, Scotland and Malta- working mainly with groups of teachers. In 1999, I returned to Mt Anville Secondary School as part-time Guidance Counsellor for six years.
More recently, I have worked part-time in spirituality, which included doing Meditation with children in Mt Anville Primary and Junior Schools. (I hope to resume this when the Covid restrictions end.) The last few years took me out of Ireland to improve my Spanish, with short stays in Spain and Mexico; and then to work in Rome, as a translator with our younger Sisters who were preparing for Final Profession. I returned to Dublin in February 2020, and I continue my translation work online.
I was asked to replace Sr Gillian Dempsey as religious representative on the Benevolent Fund Committee. I have great admiration for the work of this Committee. They work hard to raise funds. The money goes to help past pupils who may find themselves in difficulties. Anyone who has been a pupil, for even a year, from any of our Sacred Heart Schools – Primary or Secondary, in Ireland or Scotland - can ask for help. If any of you know of a friend, a past pupil in need, please feel free to contact the Benevolent Fund. Discretion is assured, as the work of helping is confidential. Thank you to all of you who have helped the Benevolent Fund over the years!
Perdita Quinlan Class 1967
After school I studied in UCD for a B Comm (first group of students in Belfield) and subsequently a H Dip in Career Guidance and also a H Dip in Bereavement Studies.
I have four daughters and 10 grandchildren – many of them have been or are in Mt Anville.
I have always considered it a great honour and privilege to be on the Benevolent Fund Committee. I would like to pay tribute to Sister Eileen Hannan, Sister Gillian Dempsey and Sister Mary Shiel for their help over the years and all the committee members who have worked so hard - helping our past in need. Giving them that little dignity and peace of mind. It is one of the most amazing charities.
Eimear Cahalin - Class of 1988
My name is Eimear Cahalin and I attended Mount Anville Primary School and Mount Anville Secondary School, leaving in 1988. After school I studied Commerce in UCD and became an accountant. After 10 years in London, I returned home in 2005 so my children could go to school in Ireland. Having spent most of my career working in banks, I moved into the green energy sector in 2008, initially working on large scale wind and solar projects. More recently I got involved in a start-up in the energy efficiency field, where we support large organisations to reduce their carbon footprint.
Having attended a Sacred Heart school is no guarantee of a charmed life, and we are all thrown challenges at some point on our journey, usually when we least expect it. Sometimes the difficulties can even seem to pile one on top of the other. I see the Benevolent Fund as a safety net to help you deal with those challenges, so whether you are struggling with redundancy, bereavement, depression, illness or some other personal crisis, please reach out and we will do what we can to support you. Having spent one year at any Sacred Heart school, primary of secondary, is all it needs to be able to avail of our support.
It can be hard to ask for help, so we ask our community of past pupils to be aware of their old friends and classmates, and support them in reaching out to us if they need help. Please also be aware of the people you have not heard form in a while, and who may have dropped off your radar; they may need our help, and even if they don’t, your phone call might be just what they need to give them a boost.
Lisa Garavin Class of 1993
My name is Lisa Garavin (married name Kickham) and I am from the Mount Anville Class of’93. I had some recollection of the benevolent committee from school but only limited knowledge. A chance meeting with a friend of my sister’s who was on the committee saw me take up a post around 2013.
After school I went on to pursue a career in social work. I spent fifteen years at the frontline of child protection and welfare dealing with some of the most vulnerable children in our society. It was a job I truly loved and look back on with very fond memories of amazing children, parents, and co-workers. After my second and third children were born in 2015, I decided on a change of direction. Since 2016 I have been completing a part time PhD in the area of child protection and welfare and lecturing in UCD on the topic with both undergraduate Social Science students and Masters in Social Work students. It is a different pace of social work, but I have grown to enjoy this angle and continue to endeavour to complete my PhD notwithstanding the pandemic and all the interruptions it has brought!
As a member of the benevolent committee the first thing I can assure people of is the level of respect, kindness and confidentiality shown to any query or request that may come to the committee’s attention. The names of those seeking support are not shared and the communal goal is to endeavour to support the person seeking assistance to get through whatever struggle they are currently facing with their dignity and pride intact.
Hopefully, many people have happy memories of their time in school and of course there will always be those who do not. However, the support that is available to a person for having attended Mt Anville at a time in one’s life when they may be truly struggling with a very tangible burden is real. It is available to all and its sole purpose is to find a way to ease that burden for the person who is struggling. I hope if you need support you will feel able to reach out.
Shiena Connolly Class of 1984
My name is Shiena Connolly and I attended Mount Anville Montessori through to Secondary School, leaving in 1984.
I studied English Literature and German at UCD and spent my early career in London where I worked in investment management spending time in Europe and Japan. Returning to Ireland I continued to work in international financial services before undertaking an MBA and subsequent strategic business development roles in property and start up domain. Having taken time out for family I returned to professional life in recent years and at the same time have been lucky enough to pursue further studies in entrepreneurship and accredited governance program at Institute of Directors.
To some extent, I feel that I have never fully left Mount Anville as I am blessed with a diverse bunch of school pals spread over many years. My daughter, Ali is in Secondary School and is a constant reminder of how traditional values continuously evolve to meet the needs of the current times. In previous years I have served as Secretary to both MAPPA and MMJS Parent’s Council.
Our Sacred Heart origins inspire a spirit of social awareness that impels to action. For some, life is no easy ride and from time to time an unforeseen curve ball can land unexpectedly, leaving us feeling overwhelmed. The Benevolent Fund offers a confidential pathway to accessing help and in supporting our past pupil community in taking steps to overcome such challenges.
My personal wish is to expand awareness of the Charity to ensure that those who need help most, know where and how to reach out. If you know a former classmate who has slipped off- radar and is in difficulty, please encourage them to get in touch; Our service is confidential and we are continuously finding new ways to engage with members of our Sacred Heart past pupil community in advocating support for those who need it most.
My name is Maeve Cahalin. I am a past pupil of Mount Anville, class of 1975. I have had a varied life since leaving school. I graduated with a Commerce degree from UCD and went on to become a Chartered Accountant. I worked in Lesotho, Southern Africa on the Irish government Bilateral Aid Programme. On my return to Ireland I worked in various finance roles. I have been pursuing my own personal interests for the past number of years.
One of the main principles of the Benevolent Fund is of the Sacred Heart Past Pupils providing support to one another in whatever need that may be. Unexpected situations and difficult times arise for everyone. We understand that each individual’s circumstances are just that, individual. The Benevolent Fund can provide a lifeline at a low point in someone’s life. It can be difficult to reach out to ask for help but anyone seeking our help can be absolutely assured that details provided are dealt with in a strictly one on one, confidential, and non-judgemental manner.
I have been a member of the Benevolent Fund committee for many years and would like to assure all past pupils that each case is considered with compassion, care and empathy.
Remember there may be many past pupils who no longer have a connection to their school because of the difficulties life has thrown at them. These may be the very people who need our support. Please let them know we are here to provide that support.
Kay Leech - I was a boarder in Roscrea in the ’60’s and my main sporting interests were hockey, baseball and tennis there. I’m a volunteer with the RDAI for the last 17 years and the child protection officer for the Crepello Group. I joined the Benevolent Fund team 15 years ago.