Sister Enda Ryan, FMM, born as Eileen Philomena Ryan on 30th December, 1928 in Galbally, County Limerick in Eire (Ireland), is best remembered as the foundress of both the Assunta Primary and Secondary schools in Petaling Jaya.
She joined the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in 1947 and, as was then the custom on pronouncing religious vows, was given the new name Sister Enda. She graduated from the National University of Ireland in the Summer of 1954, with a B. A. and Higher Diploma in Education.
In 1954, she arrived in then-Malaya 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 Emergency”. Their families had been forced to live confined to the “New Villages” to prevent them helping the Communists in the surrounding jungle.
Without any delay, she helped establish Assunta Primary School. Simultaneously, she covered the Primary syllabus for the older girls to enable them to sit for the Entry Exam for Secondary School in late ’57.
Hence, January ’58 saw the start of Assunta Secondary School and Sister Enda became the first headmistress of the school. She composed the school song which Assunta students sing till today.
Under her guidance and through her passionate motivation, the Leo Club, Interact Club, Assunta Military Band, Girl Guides and Assunta Welfare Organization (later renamed as Sister Enda Welfare Organization – SEWO) were among the first school clubs to be formed.
On October 10th 1966, Sister Enda took the oath of loyalty and was henceforth declared a citizen of Malaysia.
During her 31 years of dedicated service, Sister Enda received numerous awards, including the Excellent Service Award from the Ministry of Education (1985), the Pingat Jasa Cemerlang (1986), the Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (PJK.) from DYMM Sultan of Selangor (1987) and the Anugerah Tokoh Guru Selangor (1990).
Although Sister Enda retired in June 1989, this did not stop her from taking a keen interest in the affairs of the school. She still graces school occasions like Teachers’ Day, Prize Giving Day, Assunta Spirit Week and the annual Sports Day.
In December 2007, Sister Enda was conferred the Darjah Kebesaran Dato’ Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (DSIS) by DYMM Sultan of Selangor, which carries the title ‘Datin Paduka’.
Currently, Sister Enda is the chairperson of the SM Assunta Board of Governors.