Sister Ita Keane of St Mary’s Convent in Handsworth, Birmingham, has died after a collision on a city street. The 74-year-old had been crossing a road in the Aston area of Birmingham when she was struck by a vehicle on Friday afternoon (April 26) and died in hospital a few hours later.
Sr Ita was a well known community activist, involved with Citizens UK Birmingham. The organisation paid tribute to her on Twitter : “Very sad news. The amazing Sr Ita Keane of St Mary's Convent passed away yesterday. She was our rock & a dedicated Organiser building the power of poor families in the city. Our prayers & thoughts are with the Sisters of Mercy family & her loved ones… Everyone is in shock & will deeply miss her. The Sisters of Mercy are at the heartbeat of broad based community organising in Brum.”
The Citizens UK Organiser in Birmingham, Saidul Haque Saeed added: “Sr Ita no longer with us. I've lost a great mentor & a dear friend, who helped me become a better Organiser. Still in shock. Hurts!”
Councillor Khalid Mahmood, of Perry Barr also paid tribute to Sr Ita, describing her as a “hard-working community member” who worked tirelessly to help young children in the community, along with pupils at St Francis Catholic Primary School. He said: "She looked after local children and local people and also helped with the school next door; a huge amount of work in the community, she worked tirelessly and beyond her duty….. she will be hugely missed by the community. We have suffered a great loss.”
The Revd David Butterworth of the Methodist Church in Birmingham also paid tribute on Twitter: “A beautiful & very wise Sister who had time & heart for everyone. The Birmingham Methodist District & Birmingham Circuit counted her a close friend, family... Our condolences with all who knew her & especially her family within the Convent.”
Individuals and organisations that Sr Ita came into contact with in the Lozells area of the city have also been expressing their sense of loss. Local resident, Altaf Kazi posted: “Sister Ita Keane- a true legend of Lozells and an advocate of the poor- she lived and died in the service of others.”
The Councillor for Lozells, Waseem Zaffar wrote: “This news has sent shockwaves across #Lozells - Sister Ita was an amazing community activist from our neighbourhood & even at the time of her tragic death, she was in the process of helping a vulnerable local family. I visited St Mary’s Convent this morning to pay my respects.”
A community organisation in Lozells – Aspire & Succeed – which offers after school tuition, youth work and free citizens’ advice added: “Sr Ita was a true hero for us in Lozells, helped shape so many projects currently being delivered, her legacy will live on. Our prayers and love go out to her loved ones and the Sisters of Mercy.”