‘She smiled through every moment we shared with her’

Amy and her parents, Brendan and Triona, lighting the diocesan candle in Lourdes with Bishop Ray Browne and Diocesan Secretary, Fr Nicholas Flynn (partly hidden)

A DEDICATED group of volunteer carers, who look after and support ill people on pilgrimages to Lourdes, have paid a very emotional tribute to Amy O’Connor, the 11-year-old Killarney girl who passed away last Sunday after a two-year battle with illness.

Amy was part of the official Kerry pilgrimage to Lourdes last September and she made quite an impression on the mainly teenage members of the Kerry Diocesan Lourdes Carers Group who this week paid tribute to her on social media.

The young Killarney schoolgirl was accompanied on the five-day pilgrimage by her parents, Brendan and Triona, and the Bishop of Kerry, Ray Browne, who invited Amy, her dad and her mum to light the special diocesan candle during the closing Mass of Healing.

A smiling Amy in Lourdes enjoying some of the gifts she received from the carers

In a poignant message this week, the Carers Group remarked: “Every so often, we are lucky enough to meet someone so incredibly strong that they leave a lasting impression on us, even after just a few short days.

“Amy and her parents, Brendan and Triona, travelled with us last year and helped make it a truly special trip to Lourdes.”

The group added: “Words don’t do justice to the joy she brought to the pilgrimage, from her impressive magic tricks, to hustling grown adults at cards, whether singing at the party or going out for girls’ night.

“Even in the pouring rain, as we desperately tried to cover her up with ponchos, she smiled through every moment we shared with her”.

The group members said it was a privilege to watch Amy and her parents light the diocesan candle at the closing Mass and there wasn’t a dry eye in the church as they did so.

“We will forever remember Amy each time we light the diocesan candle in the years to come,” the group members added in their statement.

Amy (fourth from left) enjoying a night out with the young carers in Lourdes

At the Mass of the Angels in St Mary’s Cathedral on Wednesday, celebrant Fr Kieran O’Brien also recalled Amy’s visit to Lourdes and the impact she made on others there.

“People were like a magnet to her; people were drawn to this child,” he said.

“Whether they were sick themselves, whether they were old or young, or helpers, I heard them speak about the emotion when Amy was called forward to light the group pilgrimage candle,” he remarked.

Fr O’Brien said Amy made many new friends, especially young people, on that trip and they maintained contact since last September.

“Amy made such an impression,” the Killarney Parish Administrator added.

Pictures shared from Kerry Diocesan Lourdes Carers Group Facebook

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