Hundreds pay respect to Sister Enda Ryan, founder of SMK Assunta


Sister Enda's funeral at St Francis Xavier Church, Petaling Jaya Selangor.

PETALING JAYA: Hundreds of friends, former students and family members gathered at the St Francis Xaviers in Petaling Jaya to pay their last tribute and bid a poignant farewell to the late Sister Enda Ryan, 96, who founded SMK Assunta.

The funeral mass began at 10.30am on Thursday (April 11) with a hymn playing in the background.

The mass ended at 11.30am and it was followed by a ceremony where a hearse carrying Sister Enda’s coffin was driven around the grounds of SMK Assunta.

Sister Enda's family members described her as a person who touched many lives throughout her service.

Her niece, Marie Healy expressed sadness over the passing of the former Assunta all-girls school headmaster.

“She was such a person that was full of life and enjoyed life so much,” said Healy.

ALSO READ: Selangor Sultan conveys condolences to sister Enda Ryan's family

Healy was at the funeral with her husband Victor Healy and her children Zara and Andrew.

Zara said that whenever Sister Enda was back in Ireland, they would get really excited to see her playing the keyboard.

“She would be playing (the keyboard) and singing. Always singing,” added Zara.

Sister Enda's dedication to service and giving through education and charities dates back to her arrival in Malaya in 1955.

She had made significant contributions throughout her lifetime – from championing women’s education to assisting her Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) sisters in the growth of Ave Maria Clinic, which has expanded to Assunta Hospital today.

ALSO READ: Assunta schools' pioneer Sister Enda Ryan passes away aged 96

During her 31 years of dedicated service, Sister Enda received numerous awards, including the Excellent Service Award from the Education Ministry (1985), the Pingat Jasa Cemerlang (1986), the Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (PJK.) from Sultan of Selangor (1987) and the Anugerah Tokoh Guru Selangor (1990).

Sister Enda was also conferred an honorary doctorate in humanities from Taylor’s University in 2022.

She was born Eileen Philomena Ryan on Dec 30, 1928, in Galbally, Ireland.

She joined the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in 1947 and arrived in then-Malaya in 1954 following a request by Sir Michael Hogan (the then-Chief Justice of Malaya) to set up schools to cater for girls whose education had been disrupted during the Communist insurgency.

She became a Malaysian citizen in October 1966.

The Assunta girls schools have produced some of the nation’s most notable women including former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Aziz, Nurul Izzah Anwar, Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood and model Kavita Kaur.

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