Belfast Telegraph

Co Tyrone missionary Sally O'Neill Sanchez who died in crash lived a 'life of care for others'

Commitment: Sally O'Neill Sanchez
Commitment: Sally O'Neill Sanchez
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A Co Tyrone charity worker who was killed in a car crash in Central America last month, has been remembered as "a missionary of love, truth and justice" at a special memorial mass.

Sally O'Neill Sanchez (68) originally from Dungannon, had dedicated her life to working with the poor until she died alongside three of her colleagues while on a working trip in Guatemala on April 7.

She had played a prominent role in Trocaire for 37 years and following her retirement in 2015, continued to carry out volunteer work with prisoners and migrants in Honduras, where she lived.

Irish president Michael D Higgins yesterday joined family members and friends at the memorial service for the mother-of-three in the chapel of Saint Patrick's College in Maynooth, Co Kildare.

In his homily, Bishop John Kirby, a former chair of Trocaire, said Mrs Sanchez was not just a member of the overseas development agency, she was in many ways "an embodiment of its attitudes and ideals".

"Sally had a very strong commitment to Catholic social teaching and to the mission of Trocaire," he said.

"She did not tolerate half-measures. If you wanted to disagree with her, you had better have well considered arguments to support your view."

The cleric stressed that the late Trocaire worker brought the organisation's ethos and mandate and "made it real for millions in Ireland who began to see poverty and disaster not as natural or inevitable but the results of decisions taken by the powerful and the wealthy".

"She also lived that commitment herself and working for justice was a major aim for her."

Bishop Kirby told the congregation that Mrs Sanchez was always very close to women in the many communities and villages where Trocaire worked.

"Despite being retired from Trocaire for the past few years, she was still wearing herself in a life of care for others," he added.

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