Fr Bernard O’Connor (18 April 1934 – 17 September 2017)
Fr Bernard O’Connor was born on 18 April 1934 in Ballymote, County Sligo, Ireland, and educated in Ballymote Boys National School and St Joseph’s College, Ballinasloe, before joining in the Columbans in St Columban’s, Dalgan Park, Navan, in 1952.
Fr O’Connor was ordained in St Columban’s, Dalgan Park, on 21 December 1958 and appointed to the Philippines. After language studies in Tagalog he began his many years of work in the Archdiocese of Manila. His first years were spent in Silang and Binangonan but from 1969 he was engaged in Student Catholic Action. This was a dynamic ministry of leadership-training among university students in Manila founded by Columban Fr Edward J. McCarthy in 1936. Father Barney served, mainly in Far Eastern University, during the turbulent years of Martial Law when all student organizations were suspect and many banned.
Far Eastern University, Manila [Wikipedia]
Having served as Superior in the District of Luzon he returned in 1988 to parish ministry in Our Lady of Remedies, Malate, until he was appointed to Britain in 1995. Mission Awareness and House Manager were two of the roles he carried during his thirteen years in Solihull and, as he put it, up to the last he was still seeking new veins on the coalface of British mission.
Spaghetti Junction’, M6, near Birmingham [Wikipedia]
Father Barney made his way through this many times while going on weekend mission appeals.
During all these years Fr Bernard suffered from poor health and he returned to Ireland to begin dialysis treatment in 2009.
Eventually he needed treatment three days every week but always tried to bounce back as quickly as possible. As one of the first Columbans to develop computer skills along with his cryptic crosswords and stamp collection he always had ways of coping with the long hours of treatment and recovery.
Father Bernard will be remembered for his droll humour, for his hope and indomitable courage, a witness to all of us on how to cope with life’s difficulties.
Fr O’Connor died suddenly on 17 September 2017. May God reward this generous and faithful missionary priest.
May he rest in peace.
^^back to top^^
Fr David Padrnos
(7 September 1944 – 18 August 2017)
The son of Joseph E. and Rosalie (Bueltel) Padrnos, Father Dave grew up in Holy Name Parish in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. He had two sisters, Teresa (who preceded him in death) and Sally, as well as a brother, Wayne.
Father Dave studied at Holy Name Grade School and Cathedral High School, Omaha, before going on to St Columban’s College and Seminary, Milton, Massachusetts, and St Columbans College and Seminary, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. He did his Spiritual Year at St. Columbans, Bristol, Rhode Island. His theology studies were at St John’s Seminary Brighton, Massachusetts, (while residing at St Columbans, Milton, MA). He was ordained at St Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha, on 28 May 1971 by Archbishop Daniel Sheehan.
The young priest arrived in Japan in September 1971 and resided at the central house in Roppongi, Tokyo, during the twenty-two month period in which he was engaged in full-time language studies.
From July 1973 to February 1980 Father Dave was assistant pastor at St Patrick’s Catholic church in Toshima, Tokyo, while engaging also in studies for a master’s degree in Comparative Cultures at Sophia University in Tokyo.
From 1978 to 1979 he was editor of the Region of Japan Newsletter. From 1978 he also began serving as Regional Education Officer. In September 1980 he set up an Education Office in the central house in Tokyo, where he began working on various education projects. Among these were building a library of books on theology, spirituality, counseling, as well as on Japanese life and culture. He also worked alongside Fr Jose de Vera SJ of Sophia University and Fr Augustinus Takehiro Kunii CP on a series of videos about the Eucharist.
St Teresa of the Child Jesus Church, Sawara
In February 1981 Fr Padrnos was appointed pastor of the Catholic Church in the city of Sawara in Chiba prefecture. However, he continued his work as Education Officer. In 1983 he combined these two responsibilities with that of supervisor for Columban seminarians who had come to Japan on an overseas training program (OTP), with membership of the editorial staff of the Japan Missionary Bulletin and working as an assistant to the Scheut Fathers (CICM) who were engaged in a recording project.
Back in the US, from September 1987 until May 1989, Father Dave did a master’s program in spiritual direction at Loyola University in Chicago. (In 1988 he was one of the moderators at the Chapter in Pusan, South Korea.) Then in 1989 he became the US Regional Coordinator for Retirement, working alongside the late Fr Ernest Sullivan. In that role he visited members of the Region to discuss with them their experience of aging as well as their retirement needs. From March 1990 he continued with these responsibilities, while assisting also with the Columban vocation apostolate.
In August 1991 Fr Padrnos returned to Japan and was appointed assistant pastor of the Catholic church in Fujisawa city, Kanagawa prefecture. One year later he became the acting pastor of that community.
From 1993 to 1995 he was back in Chicago, studying at Chicago Theological Seminary where he obtained a Doctor of Ministry degree in pastoral psychotherapy. After graduation he returned to Japan where he was appointed pastor of St Joseph’s Catholic church in Goi city, Chiba prefecture. He served in that position from 1995 until 2003. He combined this role with that of supervisor for both Columban lay missionaries, as well as seminarians engaged in OTP.
St Joseph the Worker Church, Goi
Father Dave was appointed District Superior of Chiba prefecture in November 1998 and became the Vice Director of the Region of Japan in March 2000. He was a representative for the Region of Japan at the Columban General Assembly in Australia in 2000. In 2006, having completed six years as Vice Director of the Region of Japan, he was appointed Regional Director, and continued in this role until March 2012. From 2003 to 2011 he also served as pastor of the Catholic church in Kisarazu city, Chiba prefecture.
Facing various health challenges, Father Dave retired in 2012 and stayed at the central house in Tokyo. However, as his health declined further, in spring 2014 he was assigned to the US Region, and soon after became a resident at St Elizabeth Manor in Bristol, Rhode Island. There, both his physical and mental health continued to deteriorate, and in the early morning of Friday 18 August he entered into eternal life.
A man of considerable intellectual ability, Father Dave was known for his dedication to learning in a wide variety of disciplines. In his ministry, he was committed not only to his Japanese parishioners, but also provided a warm welcome and pastoral support to migrants. Furthermore, he actively encouraged other priests, seminarians and lay missionaries to be more responsive to the various needs of migrants. During his final years, he bore his on-going debilitation with patient acceptance and was grateful for the concern and kindness of those who accompanied him ‘through the valley of the shadow of darkness’.
Father Dave’s final resting place is in his hometown of Omaha. May he find eternal light, peace and joy in the risen Lord.
Fr Charles Duster
(15 September 1934 – 7 March 2017)
Father Charlie was born on 15 September 1934 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA, where his parents Charles Henry Duster [‘DOOster’] and Cleo Catherine Handley Duster owned and operated a supermarket. He has an older brother William C. Duster (Audrey) of Littleton, Colorado, a sister Mrs Robert Enns (Katie) of Fort Pierce, Florida, and eleven nieces and nephews and their families. His older sister, Margaret Jeanne Duster, died in 1972.
Fr. Charlie attended Immaculate Conception Grade and High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, (1952). After high school he attended Regis University, Denver, Colorado (1952-53) and Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1953-1954).
After briefly considering medical school he instead decided to enter the seminary to become a Columban missionary priest in 1955. He studied at St Columban’s Seminary, Milton, Massachusetts. As an exchange student, he studied theology at St Columban’s, Dalgan Park, Navan, Ireland (1958 – ’61). He did his fourth year of theology at St Columban’s, Milton, where he was ordained a priest of the Missionary Society of St Columban on 21 December 1961. He celebrated his first Solemn High Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Cedar Rapids on 31 December.
Fr Charlie in Japan
In 1962 Father Charlie was assigned to Japan where he spent the next six years. The first two of these were spent studying Japanese language in Tokyo, the third one as Acting Regional Bursar, and the last three years as Associate Pastor at Shingu Catholic Church, Wakayama Prefecture, in the Diocese of Osaka.
In July 1967 Father Charlie visited the Philippines, accompanied by a Columban confrere. After spending some days with Columban colleagues on the island of Negros, they narrowly missed their flight from Bacolod City to Cebu on 6 July because the plane departed a few minutes ahead of schedule, due to severe weather conditions. The next morning they learned that the plane, a Fokker F27 Friendship, had crashed into a mountain and all 17 passengers and four crew members perished. Father Charlie wrote about this in A Close Shave in the May-June 2016 issue of MISYONonline.com.
From 1969 – 1972, Father Charlie was the Columban Vocation Director for the Midwest Region of the USA based in Omaha. Afterwards, he continued a similar ministry while residing at the Columban house in Chicago. He then served a year in the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis as chaplain at Hennepin County General Hospital in Minneapolis accompanied by studies in Clinical Pastoral Education.
With the late Archbishop Petero Mataca of Suva
In November 1974, Father Charlie was assigned to Fiji, Archdiocese of Suva. After initial language studies, he was appointed as Associate Pastor in Holy Family Parish, Nabala, Macuata, and a year later as Pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Solevu, Bua, where he served for six years.
Following home leave in 1980 he did renewal studies at Notre Dame University. On his return to Fiji he became the Regional Vice-Director. He returned to the USA to undergo by-pass surgery in Houston, Texas, in 1982. Upon returning to Fiji later that year, Father Charlie was appointed Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Suva, and served in this position for four years.
In September 1986, he was appointed Rector of Collegio San Colombano in Rome where he was Superior of the sixteen-member community. During his eight years in Rome, he also earned a licentiate and doctorate in Canon Law at the Angelicum University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. Before being reassigned to the Fijian Region, he worked for six months in the Marriage Tribunal in the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, in order to gain experience in matrimonial law.
Father Charlie returned to Fiji in November 1994 and served for six years as the Coordinator of the Columban Lay Mission Program, while teaching Canon Law at the Pacific Regional Seminary. In December 1998 he returned to the USA to undergo by-pass surgery for the second time, but returned to Fiji seven months later to continue his ministry to Columban Lay Missionaries. In December, 2003 he was appointed Associate Pastor at Holy Family Parish, Labasa, where he served until returning to the USA in September 2005. This was prompted by the recommendation of his doctors that he should reside in a place where he could receive monitored medical attention, which was unavailable in Fiji.
With old friends in Fiji
He was assigned to the Columban Magnolia house in Chicago where he worked on Mission Promotion and Vocations (2005 – 2011) and served as house Superior (2008 -2011). In 2011 he began work at the Omaha office in Planned Giving and Development, and later combined this ministry with Superior of the Omaha community (2012 – 2016).
Father Charlie’s warm and outgoing personality, many talents, and deep commitment to his vocation as a Columban missionary priest, drew many people to God in the various places where he ministered. Wherever he was sent, his ability to recognize and celebrate all that was good in the world around him made him a truly joyful messenger of the Good News.
There is one thing I ask of the Lord,
for this I long,
to live in the house of the Lord,
all the days of my life,
to savour the sweetness of the Lord,
to behold his temple (Psalm 27:4).
With Fijian Columban Lay Missionary Serafina Vuda in Peru
Serafina died unexpectedly on 31 May 2014
I met Father Charlie at long intervals over the years. My abiding memory of him is that he was a joyful person, as the photos of him above indicate. I visited Rome for the first time in April 1988. My first full day there happened to be my birthday and he insisted on taking those of us in the house at the time to a restaurant to celebrate the occasion.
In 2007, if my memory serves me right, he gave a retreat to Columban priests in the Philippines at St Scholastica’s Center of Spirituality in Tagaytay City, south of Manila and much cooler than the latter because of its elevation. The retreat was truly a fraternal one, exemplifying what the psalmist wrote:
How good and how pleasant it is,
when brothers live in unity (Psalm 133:1).
My first time to meet him was in St Columban’s, Dalgan Park, Ireland, during Easter Week 1961 when I went there to be interviewed and to have a medical examination before entering the seminary the following September. I went back to Dublin, where I lived, with a group of the seminarians going to the city for the afternoon. I remember him singing a parody on a popular song from 1911, I Want A Girl (Just Like The Girl That Married Dear Old Dad). I never heard Father Charlie’s version again until today when I found it on YouTube.
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also (John 14:2-3).
May Fr Charles Duster enter the place prepared for him by Jesus and may he add to the joy of the saints in heaven.
Fr Thomas Parker
(28 March 1924 – 31 January 2017)
Fr Thomas Parker was born in Glasson, County Westmeath, Ireland, on 28 March 1924. He was educated at Glasson National School and St Finian’s College, Mullingar.
He entered St Columban’s, Dalgan Park, Navan, in September 1941 and was a member of the first class of Probationers in the new building. He was ordained priest on 21 December 1947. Due to the accidental death of one of his brothers in March 1948, he was not sent immediately to the missions but was assigned for a year to pastoral work in the Cathedral Parish in Galway. He was then assigned to Korea.
He arrived in Korea on June 1950, but with the onset of the Korean War he and other colleagues were assigned to Japan later that year. Those were very difficult years in Japan: parish congregations were tiny and huge efforts were made to reach out to people who had little interest in Christianity. For the next 17 years Tom served in Fukuoka, in Gobo, in Hashimoto, in Montana, in Kamogawa, in Shingu and in Wakayama City where he was Area Superior.
Supper at Emmaus, Hendrick Terbrugghen [Web Gallery of Art]
But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them (Luke 24: 29).
‘Father Tom was an excellent host . . .’
In January 1977, he was assigned to the USA and to the General Mission Office in Omaha, Nebraska. Over the following twenty years he served in many of our houses including Quincy, MA, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Father Tom was an excellent host wherever he was assigned, and his friendly, open personality made him very effective on promotion work. When his health deteriorated he returned to Ireland, and entered the Dalgan Retirement Home in 2008.
Man Praying, Vincent van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]
Father Tom was a dedicated missionary priest. Asked in an interview what kept him going over the years he replied, ‘Well, I suppose saying one’s prayers, and all the prayers offered for us by people at home and in many other places . . . you can’t explain what kept you going . . . a miracle, really, when you look back at it now’.
Father Tom died peacefully on 31 January 2017. He is survived by one brother, Brother Colman Parker, a Marist Brother. His funeral will take place on Friday 3 February in Dalgan Park.
[Text by Fr Cyril Lovett, slightly edited here.]
Fr Charles Flaherty
(15 January 1926 – 20 January 2016) [Source]
Fr Charles B. Flaherty, son of Catherine Bowen Flaherty and James F.F. Flaherty, was born on 15 January 1926 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA.
His grade school years were spent at St Joseph’s, Pawtucket, RI. Between 1940 and 1944 he went to high school at St Columban’s Minor Seminary, Silver Creek, NY, and in 1944-45 he did his Spiritual Year at St Columbans, Bristol, Rhode Island. From Bristol he transferred to St Columban’s Major Seminary, St Columbans, near Omaha, Nebraska, where between 1945 and 1951 he studied Philosophy and Theology. He was ordained on 23 December 1950 at St Joseph Cathedral, Buffalo, New York, by Bishop John F. O’Hara.
After his ordination, Father Charlie returned to St Columban’s Minor Seminary, Silver Creek, NY, this time as teacher, from 1951 to 1953, and then attended Catholic University of America, Washington DC, from 1953 to 1955 where he received an MA in Classics.
From 1955 to 1956 he served as Dean at St Columban’s College and Seminary, Milton, Massachusetts. There he also taught. In 1956 he became Rector of his old high school, St Columban’s Minor Seminary, Silver Creek, NY, and there, until 1962, he oversaw the greatest growth of the student body as well as the expansion and renovation of the seminary buildings. Through participation in the campus sports activities during those years he developed an excellent relationship with the student body.
During his time at Silver Creek Father Charlie was struck with a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis. It was thought that he would never walk again. However, thanks to his own determination and the help of medical personnel he regained his mobility during a six-month stay in hospital. Some of those medical personnel became life-long friends.
Because of his expertise in running a successful high school, Father Charlie was called upon in 1962 to head up a new project, this time in England: a high school for boys in the town of Whitby, Yorkshire. While awaiting the opening of the new school he spent a year teaching Greek and Latin at St Laurence College – the Benedictine college at Ampleforth, Yorkshire – where he got to know the Abbot, Basil Hume. They became fast friends during that year and on Hume’s invitation Father Charlie continued to teach the classics there, one day a week, commuting from Whitby from 1963 to 1967. Their friendship continued long afterward and in 1976, when Hume was made Archbishop of Westminster, London, Father Charlie received from him an invitation to attend his inauguration.
Statue of Basil Cardinal Hume OSB
Newcastle upon Tyne, England [Wikipedia]
Two unforeseen circumstances brought the Whitby project to an end in 1967: first, the mansion purchased for the school was a ‘listed’ building, that is, its external structure could not be legally altered – a revelation that was not made prior to purchase. Secondly, the school’s restricted grounds were completely surrounded by public school property. Therefore there was no possibility of expansion, and without expansion little hope of a future for the school.
So Father Charlie was next appointed to the Columban seminary in Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia, where he taught from 1967 to 1971.
From 1971 to 1974 he was the Education Director for the whole Columban Society. This was a particularly important role in the Society during in the post-Vatican II era. After those years of educational guidance he served from 1974 to 1976 as Rector of St Columban’s Major Seminary, Milton, MA, and following that he served as a member of the U.S. Regional Council from 1976 to 1983. Almost concurrently, he was Vice Rector of St Columban’s Theologate and Director of Spiritual Year at 40 Mt Vernon St Cambridge, MA (1977-83). In June of 1980 he received an MAS degree in Spirituality from the University of San Francisco, California.
After all those years in academe he got an appointment to Vocation work in June of 1983, and worked out of the Columban house in Quincy, MA, where he lived until 1989.
Prior to his retirement in 2001, he served as parochial vicar at St John Chrysostom Parish, West Roxbury, MA. After retirement he did weekend ministry in the same parish, where the content and style of his preaching continued to be appreciated. He developed close friendships with many people in that parish.
While there he helped to provide space for celebrations during reunions of Columbans and former Columbans with their wives and families. At the July 2000 reunion the organizers made him the honoree since he was then celebrating his Golden Jubilee.
With his passing, his welcoming smile and cheerful disposition will be missed by many. May he rest in peace.
St Columban, Bristol, Rhode Island, USA
[The obituary was written by Fr Timothy Mulroy, Columban Regional Director, USA, and is slightly edited.]
Fr Michael Harrison
(21 March 1924 – 17 January 2017)
Michael Harrison was born on 21 March 1924 at Bunduff, Castlegal, County Sligo, Ireland. He was educated at Castlegal National School and Summerhill College, Sligo. He came to St Columban’s, Navan, in 1942 and was ordained priest on 21 December 1948.
Mullaghmore, County Sligo
This is near where Fr Harrison grew up
The following year he was appointed to graduate studies in the USA. He completed an MA in history at Fordham University, New York City, and followed this with training in journalism at the Denver Catholic Register.
In 1952 he was appointed to the Philippines as Far East correspondent of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, , the forerunner of today’s United States Conference of Catholic Bishops a post he held until 1956. He was then called back to work in the Central Offices of the Columbans in Bellevue, just south of Omaha, Nebraska, USA, and travelled through Korea and Japan on his way home. He spent the next fifteen years in charge of the Mission Office where he was credited with organising the mail operation to new levels of efficiency.
St Columbans, Belleview, Nebraska
He is like a tree that is planted beside the flowing waters, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves shall never fade; and all that he does shall prosper (Psalm 1:3, Grail translation).
From 1972 to 1975 he was editor of the magazine of the Columbans in the USA, now known as Columban Mission. In the years that followed he served in the Columban houses in West Chester, near Philadelphia, in Quincy, near Boston, in Philadelphia and in Westminster, California. In 1984 he was appointed secretary to the Columban Central Administration in Ireland for three years.
Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God (Psalm 42:1, Grail translation).
There followed appointments to Los Angeles and Omaha before being asked to serve as Superior of Collegio San Columbano in Rome in 1992. Health problems cut short this appointment and he was assigned instead to Bristol, Rhode Island, where he served as vice-superior and bursar. He left Bristol for Ireland in 2011, where, from his room in St Columban’s, Dalgan Park, he relied on modern technology to stay in touch with a wide circle of relatives and friends.
The variety of the tasks entrusted to Father Michael over the years are an indication of his many gifts, his discretion and his quiet competence. Congenial, wise and never judgemental, he was deeply appreciated by his colleagues and by the staff of the many houses in which he served. He transferred to the Dalgan Nursing Home at the end of 2015 and died suddenly there on 17 January 2017.
Perhaps the best know person associated with Fr Harrison’s native county is poet WB Yeats (1865-1939). And perhaps his best known poem is Lake Isle of Innisfree.
Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
Fr Fintan Murtagh
(12 February 1940 – 23 December 2016)
Fr Fintan J. Murtagh was born at Moyvore, County Westmeath, Ireland, on 12 February 1940. He was educated at Moyvore National School and at St Finian’s College, Mullingar, County Westmeath.
He came to St Columban’s, Dalgan Park, Navan, County Meath, in September 1957 and was ordained priest there, on 22 December 1963 and died on 23 December 2016.
Appointed to the Philippines, and to the Diocese of Iba, which covers the province of Zambales, he served initially in San Marcelino, and Botolan. He spent longer periods in San Antonio, before returning again to Botolan and later to Candelaria and to Olongapo City.
In 1972 Father Fintan became aware that he was suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. With his sunny temperament, he did not allow his condition to determine what he could or could not do, and he actually continued to play golf long after others would have given up. From 1985, he began to develop a systematic approach to parishioners of Candelaria with disabilities.
Father Fintan with friend
The result was Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) for People with Disabilities and Families. By 2010 this organization was serving in thirteen parishes of the Diocese of Iba. In all, it was serving 1,037 members in a broad variety of programmes for persons with disabilities. It is serving those with cerebral palsy, stroke victims, those with Parkinson’s Disease, spinal cord injuries, and epilepsy.
With friends in Zambales
It also helps persons with learning disabilities such as those with Down Syndrome. There are programs too for the profoundly deaf, the blind and the partially blind, and a variety of other disabling conditions.
Friends of Father Fintan
You can read articles by Father Fintan about his work here, here and here.
As he coped with his own disability, Father Fintan gave courage and hope to so many other families in the Philippines and elsewhere. When he could no longer cope he came home to Ireland, but a mechanized wheelchair, and a special vehicle enabled him to be part of everything that was going on until he suffered a major stroke earlier this year.
Father Fintan will be remembered as a man of humor, hope and indomitable courage, a witness to all of us on how to cope with life’s difficulties.
He was buried in St Columban’s Cemetery on 27 December.
Solas na bhFlaitheas air! The light of Heaven upon him!
The students in Dalgan Park produced My Fair Lady for St Columban’s Day, 23 November 1962. If your editor’s memory serves him right, Father Fintan was one of ‘Eliza Doolittle’s’ Cockney companions in this number.
Fr Keith Gorman
(21 January 1920 – 19 December 2016)
Keith Francis Gorman was born in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, on January 21, 1920, an only son between two sisters. In 1937 he came to St Columban’s, Essendon, where he did his Spiritual Year and Philosophy. Then in 1940 he went to St Columban’s Seminary in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, to do Theology as WWII prevented him from travelling to Ireland. He was the first Australian Columban seminarian to do this but he was joined by others the following year. He was ordained in St Joseph’s Cathedral, Buffalo, New York, USA, on 18 December 1943 by Bishop John Aloysius Duffy.
In 1944 Father Keith returned to Australia and worked in a number of parishes until 1948 when he was appointed to China but this was changed to Japan after a few months in Shanghai. He studied the Japanese language in Yokohama and was then appointed as pastor at the parish of Chigasaki, Diocese of Yokohama. After vacation in 1955 he was appointed pastor at Yakatamachi in Wakayama City.
In 1964 Father Keith was appointed to the Australia – New Zealand Region, stationed at first at the Columban House in Toowong, Brisbane. Then he did parish supplies for three years and Columban promotion in the Archdiocese of Perth. This was followed by a few years as Bursar at the seminary in Turramurra, New South Wales, and then as Vocations Coordinator in the state of New South Wales.
Father Keith the gardener
In 1975 Father Keith began a ministry to the aged as chaplain at Nazareth House Aged Care, Turramurra. After a sabbatical and some studies in the subject of ageing he continued in this ministry as chaplain to the retired Presentation Sisters at Windsor in Melbourne. Around the same time he helped to found ROTA – Religious of the Third Age – a social and spiritual organisation for retired Religious. During this period he wrote a number of articles on the theme of ageing, some of which were printed in The Far East.
Embracing the 21st Century
Read Father Keith’s Old Age, a Gifted Time.
Father Keith himself retired to St Columban’s, Essendon, a suburb of Melbourne, in 1997 and was a lively and cheerful presence there until a fall in September 2012 resulted in hospitalization and a subsequent move to Mercy Place Aged Care, Parkville.
‘A humble man with time and respect for everyone’
He is remembered as a humble man who always had time and respect for everyone. He excluded no one. He was fun-loving and always ready to laugh, share a joke – even one on himself – and join in whatever was going on. In one of his articles he wrote that his idea of heaven was having breakfast with Jesus on the shores of eternity, following the scene in John 21. May he be enjoying that breakfast now.
Having breakfast with Jesus on the shores of eternity’ [1:57 – 2:50]
From The Gospel of John directed by Philip Saville.
You may read some of Fr Gorman’s Reflections here.
St Columban’s, Essendon
I met Father Keith on my first visit to Australia in May 1990 in St Columban’s Seminary, Turramurra, near Sydney, which is now closed. I was struck by his delightful personality and sense of humor. I remember him laughing when I quipped that he had been ordained so long ago – the year I was born – that the ceremony had been in Aramaic! I met him again in Essendon in 2009 when I was doing mission appeals in Melbourne. While I was there he won a very large TV in a raffle in a nearby Anglican parish and his delight was utterly childlike when it was delivered.
And what a beautiful image of heaven he had: Having breakfast with Jesus on the shores of eternity.
The light of heaven upon Father Keith – and may we all join him with Jesus for breakfast on the shores of eternity when our time comes!
Fr Maurice Vincent Foley
(2 February 1933 – 18 December 2016)
Fr Maurice Foley was born at Castlefinn, County Donegal, Ireland on 2 February 1933. He was educated at Dunbeacon National School, Ballydehob, County Cork, Belvedere College Preparatory School and Belvedere College, Dublin, St Patrick’s College, Armagh, and University College Dublin. He entered St Columban’s, Dalgan Park, Navan, in 1952 and was ordained priest there on 21 December 1958.
Appointed to Korea in 1959, Father Maurice was assigned to Ulchin and Chunchon after language studies. After the division of the Diocese of Chunchon, he was assigned to the new Diocese of Wonju and to the new parish of Tokgae. He ministered there for most of the remainder of his years in Korea during the difficult period of the military dictatorship.
By 1977, it was clear to him that the Church in Korea was growing rapidly and producing enough priests to cater to its own needs. He asked the Superior General to be assigned to Peru; as he wrote himself ‘I saw space for my missionary zeal in the land of the Incas’. After language studies his initial assignment was to Huancavalica, working at high altitude in the Sierra, until he was advised that working at sea-level would be easier on his health.
Cathedral, Huancavalica [Wikipedia]
Assignments in the Lima area included the parishes of Santíssimo Redentor, Santa María de la Reconciliación and Nuestra Señora de la Paz. In all these areas he enjoyed a happy and successful ministry. He could come across at times as rather abrupt, and could be impetuous, especially when the poor were being treated unjustly. However nobody could doubt his goodness and kindness, and the love that he lavished on the people was repaid with interest.
High Altar, Cathedral, Lima [Wikipedia]
In 2012 his health had begun to deteriorate and he returned to Ireland. For a short period he had enough energy to ride his beloved bicycle but in recent months his illness confined him to his room. There he loved to welcome visitors. Father Maurice was blessed with a childlike simplicity, a generous heart and a quality of being so genuine that his sincerity could not be doubted. We will miss his truly unique presence.
Father Maurice was buried in St Columban’s Cemetery, Dalgan Park, on 21 December, the 58th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
Crucifix, St Columban’s Cemetery, Dalgan Park
Silent Night / Sumaq Tuta
Sung in Quechua, the mother-tongue of the majority of people in Huancavalica, where Father Maurice first worked in Peru.
Fr Michael Augustine Duffy
(28 November 1931 – 21 November 2016)
Father Michael died peacefully in Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan, on 21 November 2016. Born on 28 November 1931 in Johnstown, County Meath, Ireland, he was educated at Loreto School, Abbey School, St Patrick’s Classical School, all in Navan, and at St Mary’s College, Rathmines, Dublin. He came to St Columban’s, Dalgan Park, in September 1950 and was ordained priest there on 21 December 1956. During his student days he was outstanding at sports and regularly played for the Dalgan team against visiting teams in Gaelic Football, Hurling, Soccer and Rugby. Dalgan Park is very near Johnstown, where he grew up. He was a younger brother of Columban Fr Fergus Duffy who died in 1983.
Father Michael was appointed to post-graduate studies at St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, where he obtained an MA in Social Studies; this was followed by studies in Journalism at Denver in 1959 while awaiting a visa to Burma. In May 1960, when his request for a visa had been refused, he was assigned to promotion work in the US from Westminster and San Francisco houses. In 1962, he was appointed to the college staff at Milton, MA and in 1963 to Silver Creek.
Zambales Mountains, San Narciso [Wikipedia]
In 1966 he was appointed to the Philippines. He spent 18 years in Zambales in the parishes of San Narciso, San Antonio, San Felipe, Castillejos, Poonbato, and Botolan. In 1984 he was appointed the College Formation Program in Cebu City and in 1988 was sent to Manila where for three years he worked on Justice and Peace issues from a base in Tondo.
In 1989 he was appointed to the Region of Britain where he served until 2003. During those years he worked on Mission Promotion and served several terms as Vice-Director of the Region from 1995 to 2003.
River Boyne, Brú na Bóinne, County Meath [Wikipedia]
The Boyne flows by St Columban’s, Dalgan Park, by Johnstown and through Navan.
Appointed to Ireland in 2003, he served as editor of the Regional Newsletter until deteriorating health confined him to the Dalgan Nursing Home. Father Michael was a gentle, quiet man with a self-deprecating sense of humor. He deeply appreciated the care that he received during his years in the Dalgan Nursing Home.
May he rest in peace.
Blessing of St Columban’s Formation House, Cebu City by Archbishop (later Cardinal) Ricardo J. Vidal of Cebu, 23 November 1984, St Columban’s Day
L: Fr Seán Coyle, R: Fr Michael Duffy
A Philippine Folk Dance in San Narciso, Zambales
Thanks to Fr Patrick Raleigh, Regional Director, Ireland.
Fr Bernard E. Toal
(17 October 1915 – 14 November 2016)
The greeting above was for his 100th birthday on 17 October 2015. He was the first Columban to reach that age.
Fr Bernard E. Toal died at St Elizabeth’s Manor, Rhode Island, on November 14, 2016. Please remember him in your Masses and prayers.
Fr Toal was born on 17 October 1915 in Gloucester, New Jersey, USA. There he attended the local parish school. Thinking of becoming a missionary priest, he entered St Columban’s Minor Seminary, Silver Creek, New York, for high school studies in 1931. After graduating in 1937, he entered the Columban Fathers spiritual formation program in Bristol, RI. Back in Silver Creek he studied Philosophy 1938-1940. He completed his theological studies in St Columbans, Nebraska, and was ordained a priest on 18 December 1943 at the Cathedral of St Joseph in Buffalo, NY.
A baptism in Ozamiz City
Because of World War II he did not immediately go to the missions but did parish work in California and Arizona. At the end of hostilities in 1945 he went to the Philippines where, in Ozamiz City, he taught in the parish high school.
In 1951 he returned home for vacation. He was then appointed as Spiritual Director and Bursar of the seminary in Bristol, RI. In 1957 he became Director of Probationers there, a position he held until going to Lima, Peru, in 1968.
Fr Toal (L) with Columban seminarians in Bristol, 1962-63
Fr Toal worked in Peru for eleven years and spent most of that time in the parish of ‘The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary’ in Reynoso, Callao. Before he left, he had just completed a new parish church and rectory and had built up a thriving parish community.
Returning to the USA in April 1979 he was appointed assistant pastor in Blessed Sacrament Parish, Westminster, California. After seven years there he was assigned to Immaculate Conception parish in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Then, in the summer of 1992, he was assigned to Immaculate Conception in Grand Prairie, Texas, where he served with Columban Fathers, Dennis O’Mara and Gerald Wilmsen.
In 2001, Fr Toal was asked to move to Los Angeles while waiting for his assignment to St Mary’s Parish in Fontana, California. He enjoyed serving at St Mary’s for almost ten years and was beloved by the parishioners. In the fall of 2011 he moved to the Columban House in Bristol, RI. In the last few years he suffered from declining health. He was cared for at St Elizabeth Manor in Bristol, where he remained cheerful and did not complain. He was 101 when he passed away.
Fr Toal (R) 26 September 2015
Thanks to his gentle spirit and genuine interest in all those who crossed his path, Fr Toal touched the lives of a great number of people and maintained personal contact with many of them for several decades up until the end of his life.
100th Birthday Mass, 17 October 2015, with Fr Charles Lintz
Funeral Mass will take place at 10:30am on Friday, 18 November at St Columban’s Retirement Home (65 Ferry Rd, Bristol) in Rhode Island. After lunch, burial will take place at the cemetery of St Mary’s, Bristol. May he Rest In Peace.
Thanks to Fr Timothy Mulroy, Columban Regional Director, USA.
The great Russian-born American songwriter, Irving Berlin (1888 – 1989), like Fr Toal, lived to be 101. The year the latter was born Berlin wrote When I Leave the World Behind. This version, sung by Al Jolson, is from a radio broadcast in 1943, the year Fr Toal was ordained.
+Sister Eileen Rabbitte passed away peacefully in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin, on Tuesday, 2nd May 2017. Removal of Remains on Friday, 5th May at 5:30pm to the Convent Chapel, Magheramore, Wicklow. Funeral Mass on Saturday at 11.30am followed by Internment in the Convent Cemetery.
Lord, we ask you to receive our Sister Eileen Rabbitte into the eternal joy of your Kingdom. As she endeavoured to honour you during her life, so now allow her to taste the everlasting happiness which you promised to your faithful followers. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Sr. Rose Gallagher, SSC, the community Leader of Magheramore, gave a warm welcome to everybody before the Mass:
On behalf of the sisters here in Magheramore, It is my great privilege to welcome you all… and in particular, to welcome you, Sr. Eileen’s family Paschal, Aine, Sr. Mairead, Fionnuala and Brendan, Sean and Margaret, and Noreen; extended family and friends who have come to say farewell to your beloved Eileen.
Welcome also to the Columban Fathers, the Presentation Sisters, our valued Staff members and our own sisters who have travelled to be with us.
Our thanks to Sr. Margaret Devine who is our homilist and to Fr. Pat, our resident chaplain, who will lead us in our Liturgy together with our priest concelebrants: Frs Pat Raleigh, Owen Doyle, Paddy Hurley, Cyril Lovett, Donal O’Dea and Paddy Dooher and Paul Kenny.
Eileen’s sudden passing, has left our hearts floundering … the loss of her dynamic presence, hard to bear. From her youth, Eileen’s heart was captivated by a story… the story of a God
bent on loving the little and the least… she threw her entire self into the telling of that story… up into the high Andes mountains, down into the dusty foothills, into Parishes and pulpits…
fearlessly, courageously, disregarding boundaries and barriers! … the story needed to be told -a story that would transform lives…stir up hope… and lift the burdens of little ones.
To this God, we turn now to say thanks, through the Eucharist … for the unique gift of Eileen in our lives and in the lives of so many across the globe.
Gracias querida Elena, que te vaya con Dios.
Please click below the Reflection of Sr. Margaret Devine, SSC, during the Funeral Mass:
A Reflection about Sr Eileen Rabbitte SSC
+Sister Francesca Garvey passed away peacefully in St. Columban’s on the Lake Home, Silver Creek, NY, USA, on Sunday, 12th March 2017. Funeral Mass on Saturday 18th March 2017 followed by Internment in the Convent Cemetery.
Lord, we ask you to receive our Sister Francesa into the eternal joy of your Kingdom. As she endeavoured to honour you during her life, so now allow her to taste the everlasting happiness which you promised to your faithful followers. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Please click below to read more about Sr. Francesca:
Sister Francesca Garvey, SSC
+Sister Mary Bernardine Rush passed away peacefully in St. Columban’s Nursing Home, Magheramore, Wicklow, on Tuesday, 31st January 2017. Removal of Remains on Thursday, 2nd February at 5:30pm to the Convent Chapel, Magheramore, Wicklow. Funeral Mass on Friday at 11.30am followed by Internment in the Convent Cemetery.
Lord, we ask you to receive our Sister Mary Bernadine into the eternal joy of your Kingdom. As she endeavoured to honour you during her life, so now allow her to taste the everlasting happiness which you promised to your faithful followers. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Below is the Reflection of Sr. Ann Breen, SSC during the Funeral Mass of Sr. Bernardine:
We come here today with sadness certainly, but also with a sense of joy and hope, to celebrate the life of Sr. Bernardine. We come in faith too, believing that the God who called her into mission as a Columban Sister more than 70 years ago, has now welcomed her into eternal life. I join Rose in welcoming all of you who have come here today to be with us, especially you her family whom she loved so much. She will be missed: by you whose visits she cherished; by all of us here in the community in Magheramore ; by her many friends, and throughout the Congregation where she served so faithfully throughout her long and dedicated life.
In a message for Mission Sunday 2015, Pope Francis defines the “true missionary” as one who is “passionate for the Gospel” and he defines mission itself as “a passion for Jesus and at the same time a passion for his people”. These two phrases admirably sum up the spirit in which Sr. Bernardine lived out her missionary call, from the day she responded to it, to the day she died. As I have mentioned, it was more than seventy years ago, that she heard and said “yes” to a call from God to be a missionary, and, more specifically, to be a Columban Sister. At her final profession she took for her motto: To Jesus, through Mary. That was the framework within which she lived her Religious life. She knew, as we heard in today’s Gospel, that God had chosen her, not the other way round, and that she was to go out and to bear fruit. She took this call seriously.
After her Profession and studies she and a companion were assigned to Burma (now known as Myanmar), but, because their visas were delayed, they were sent to the Philippines. After just one year there the Burma visas came through and in 1958 the two Sisters set out for Myitkyana, northern Burma, to join the community who had been there since 1947. For the next eight years, they ministered among the Kachin people. These were eight eventful and often very difficult years, but they were the most influential years in her missionary life and the years which in many ways defined the remainder of her many and varied ministries in the service of mission in the Congregation. During those eight years, among other things, a young Sister died, and later, as the political situation worsened, a Columban priest was shot. A medical mission set up by the Sisters further up the country had to close after a few months. And then one morning Government soldiers walked in and announced they were taking over the school with immediate effect. This, naturally, was a terrible blow, after the Sisters had built it up to a high standard, but they continued their ministry among the people with the aid of two bicycles which the Bishop bought them. This enabled them to travel further afield and meet more of the people of the area. In spite of the difficulties and dangers of the time, it was a time of joy and fulfilment for them, and a time when they drew very close to the people. But early in 1966 this too was taken from them: their visas had expired and would not be renewed, so they had at last to leave their beloved people.
Sr. Bernardine was involved in many ministries after that, most of them involving heavy responsibility, and she carried these out with zeal and enthusiasm, as well as a high degree of efficiency and success. She worked in school administration in Ozamis, in the southern Philippines. Next she was appointed Regional Superior, also in the Philippines, and this was followed by her becoming a member of the Central Administration of the Congregation. During her time in this last position she had special responsibility for Mission Promotion in the Congregation, an area of mission where she excelled, as she had the capacity to recruit helpers and communicate her zeal to them. In 1982 she was appointed Superior here in Magheramore, a position she held for six years. She then transferred to Dublin, to the Promotion Office in Crumlin, where she worked on the Sale of Work as well as visiting Churches and schools to promote the missions. Those of us who worked with her at that time can testify to the dedication, hard work and enthusiasm she showed as she carried out a demanding schedule, clearly exhibiting that passion for Jesus and his people of which the Pope spoke. Then, in 1992, at the age of 70, she expressed a desire to be assigned once again to overseas mission, and in that year she set out for Lima, Peru, to a new country and a new culture, and there she spent the next ten years.
Returning to Ireland in 2002, Sister was once again assigned to Promotion Work in Crumlin. The energy was not as high as before, but again she took up the task of Mission Promotion, and also worked with the dedicated Sale of Work committee on the organisation of that event. She was also very much involved during this time with Burma Action Ireland, attending their meetings, helping to raise funds, and speaking to groups about the situation in that country. Then, in 2003, she enjoyed one of the most treasured experiences of her life. Earlier that year a small community of Columban Sisters had been able to re-enter Burma, and were working in Myitkhana, in the same area where the first group of Sisters had been. They met many people who had known the first Sisters, and these people were extremely happy to hear that some of the Sisters they had known and loved were still living. An invitation was issued and later in that same year, she had the great joy and privilege of visiting once more the country and the people where she had spent eight happy and fruitful, if traumatic years. This visit was one of the high points of her life, and this is evident in the moving account she wrote of the visit, where she met many old friends and where she had the added joy of witnessing the zeal and enthusiasm of a new generation of Columban Sisters who were meeting new missionary challenges. Eventually she returned to Magheramore where, as long as she was able, she remained involved with the Sale of Work. However she grew more frail she finally, with regret, had to give up her active involvement, though never her interest. She remained a devoted missionary in her heart and in her prayer.
In all of the varied missionary activity I have mentioned, there was evidence of this tremendous passion for Christ’s mission and Christ’s people that the Pope has spoken of. Whatever she did, whether she was in the frontline of mission or raising awareness of mission at home, it was imbued with this passion. But of all the activities, all the places where she was on mission, there was one which was written on her heart, and that was Burma. When she wrote the book on Burma her energies were declining, but she wanted to do it and she persevered. In it she has left us a unique, first-person account of the turbulent but richly fruitful years she spent in that country at the beginning of her active missionary life. Its launch here in Magheramore, in the newly opened Nursing Home, with all her family present, was a very special occasion for all of us who were privileged to be there. Indeed the writing of that book, was in many respects the culmination of her eventful and dedicated missionary life. With Simeon she could say: Now Lord, dismiss your servant in peace!
There is one aspect of her life I have not referred to, and that is her gift and her love for music, especially for singing. She was a gifted musician and had a lovely soprano voice, and she loved to sing! I remember her many times singing at celebrations in the Philippines and also here in Ireland, and the people loved to hear her. One song that was always requested during those celebrations was The Holy City; it was her “party piece” and she was always happy to oblige. As I remember that, and remember too her joy in singing, I like to imagine that now, having reached the real Holy City at the end of her life’s journey, she is once again singing her party piece., this time in company with the angels.
+ Sister Damien Rooney passed away peacefully in St Columban’s Nursing Home, Magheramore, Wicklow, on Thursday 29th December, 2016.
Removal of Remains on Friday, 30th December at 5.30pm to the Convent Chapel. Funeral Mass on Saturday, 31st December at 11.30a.m, followed by Interment in the Convent Cemetery.
Lord, we ask you to receive our Sister Damien into the eternal joy of your Kingdom. As she endeavored to honour you during her life, so now allow her to taste the everlasting happiness which you promised to your faithful followers. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Below is the Reflection of Sr. Josephine Hong during the Funeral Mass of Sr. Damien:
There is an old saying in Buddhism that says even brushing past a person is called one’s karma. The relationship between people no matter how small it is needs to be treasured and cherished. Throughout 95 years Sr.Damien, in her lifetime, not only brushed passed countless people but also had very deep relationships with many, many people.
Sr.Mary Damien Rooney was born on 5th February 1921 in County Roscommon the eldest of 6. Sr.Damien’s mother, Rose used to get the ‘Far East’ magazine and through that she had a great interest in the Columban Sisters life in China as Missionaries and she realized that was what she wanted to do with her life. She entered the Missionary Sisters of St. Columban at the age of 19. Sr.Damien was trained as a nurse in the Mercy Hospital Cork. After qualifying as a nurse in 1946, she was assigned to China. She felt very lonely not knowing when, if ever, she would see her family again, especially her 5 year old and 2 year old younger brothers. Her brothers Joe and Eamon are here, and her sister Irene and other members of the family are also here today to say a farewell to Sr.Damien.
The Second World War just ended, so there was no passenger ship going to Asia, only an aircraft carrier. After a month sailing to Hong Kong by aircraft carrier and then taking a train, Sr.Damien finally arrived in Han Yang in China just before the Christmas of 1946. Bishop Galvin on welcoming the newly arrived to China, gave them good advice “respect my people, you’ll get to love them. They may be poor but they have a rich wisdom, help them as much as you can and learn from them”. Sr. Damien treasured this advice as she busily treated people in the hospital and visited patients in the area.
When there was a rumor of the Communists coming to the city, Bishop Galvin asked each sister in turn did they want to stay or to go. Each sister individually answered and each of them wanted to stay and to be of use. He was pleased and he said ‘that is the Missionary spirit’. The number of Communists grew in the city. The Communists knew about 1916 uprising in Ireland and asked Sr.Damien about her family. However, the situation worsened and eventually the sisters were forced out from China. In spite of their intimidation Sr.Damien never felt afraid of the Communists.
Then, Sr.Damien went to Hong Kong and was assigned to the Ruttonjee sanatorium where many Chinese were suffering from TB. She spent about 28 years there and was also assigned to the clinic in Fanling where she felt she was as close as possible to China as it was right on the border. She loved China and the Chinese people and she valued them as wise people and among them she had many friends.
After spending some time in Ireland and U.S., in 1989 Sr.Damien moved to Handsworth in Birmingham a very multi-cultural city. The house was open to everyone, neighbors called in and loved to chat with her. She was like an old friend, a mother, a granny, and an aunty to them. But, she was never shy to tell them it’s time to go.
Sr.Damien did voluntary work in the maximum security prison. When she decided to move to Ireland in 2005, she received a letter from the Episcopal Vicar for Birmingham. He said in his letter:
On behalf of His Grace, Archbishop Nichols, I write to say many thanks for your witness to Christ among the prisoners and staff at Winson Green Prison. Your words and presence and example has been inspirational to all. The years pass along but your influence remains with those you met over the years.
Please take our thoughts, prayers and gratitude with you to your next mission- Oh! Don’t forget you must take your stick yourself!!!
On behalf of His Grace, Archbishop Nichols, I write to say many thanks for your witness to Christ among the prisoners and staff at Winson Green Prison. Your words and presence and example has been inspirational to all. The years pass along but your influence remains with those you met over the years.
Please take our thoughts, prayers and gratitude with you to your next mission- Oh! Don’t forget you must take your stick yourself!!!
In an interview with the Birmingham Evening Post in 1998, she mentioned that “If I had my life to live all over again I would take the same path but perhaps take it better. I have no regrets”. She loved Jesus, and she sincerely thanked God who had always been faithful in love and mercy. She was grateful to God for her life. When she retired to Ireland she said that she had more time for prayer as she was still a missionary until she would die.
She said that she received more than she gave! She shared her experience of meeting an old lady, ‘Listening to an old lady today who has just lost her son in an accident, just the way she took my hand and said “you’re so good”… these are the fringe benefits of being a missionary.’ In her prayer, she kept asking God to help her find wisdom to counsel people… She certainly had wisdom.
Sr. Damien had a Chinese name given by a Chinese priest. Deng minmin (鄧敏敏). Deng is a surname, which is the same surname as Deng XiaoPing, who became Leader of China after Chairman Mao. Her name ‘Minmin’ describes her character very well. Chinese people are usually given a name that express the particular hopes and desires for the future of the child, and the name become the character of the person. The meaning of Sr. Damian's name in Chinese character ‘min’ is clever, keen, quick, nimble, and agile. That Chinese priest undoubtedly sensed her character very well.
We are very sad at Sr.Damien’s passing, but we are also grateful to God for her cherished life. She will be remembered in our hearts as a woman of prayer, simple,
and straight forward. Personally, she shown me how to grow older with wisdom, and it was my privilege to get to know her. Her abundant experience and the passion for mission inspired many young sisters. She certainly was inspirational to all of us. One time someone said that Sr.Damien was a Missionary Extraordinary. Yes, indeed she was a Missionary Extraordinary.
I would like to conclude with a quotation from Isaiah, ‘as the rain and snow come down from the sky and do not return before having watered the earth, fertilizing it and making it germinate to provide seed for the sower and food to eat….it will not return to me unfulfilled or before having carried out my good pleasure and having achieved what it was sent to do.’ Certainly, Sr.Damien returned to God having achieved what she was sent to do.
+ Sister Catherine Courtney passed away peacefully in St Columban’s Nursing Home, Magheramore, Wicklow, on Monday, 19th December, 2016.
Removal of Remains on Wednesday, 21st December at 5.30pm to the Convent Chapel. Funeral Mass on Thursday, 22nd December at 11.30a.m., followed by Interment in the Convent Cemetery.
Lord, we ask you to receive our Sister Catherine into the eternal joy of your Kingdom. As she endeavoured to honour you during her life, so now allow her to taste the everlasting happiness which you promised to your faithful followers. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Please click below to read the Reflection given by Sr. Redempta Twomey, SSC during the funeral Mass of Sr. Catherine Courtney:
A Tribute to Sister Catherine Courtney
+Sister Mary Enda Staunton passed away peacefully in St Columban’s Nursing Home, Magheramore, Wicklow, on Wednesday, 16th November 2016.
Removal of Remains on Thursday, 17th November at 5:30pm to the Convent Chapel, Magheramore, Wicklow. Funeral Mass on Friday, 18th November at 11.30am followed by Internment in the Convent Cemetery.
Lord, we ask you to receive our Sister Mary Enda into the eternal joy of your Kingdom. As she endeavoured to honour you during her life, so now allow her to taste the everlasting happiness which you promised to your faithful followers. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Sr Rose Gallagher, welcomed everybody before the Mass:
On behalf of the sisters here in Magheramore, it is my privilege to welcome you all…
and in particular to welcome Sr. Enda’s family, especially you, Margaret, Sr. Enda’s sister, relatives and friends who have come to say farewell to your beloved Maureen.
We would like to include in our welcome Sylvia, the wife of the present Korean Ambassador and Maria the wife of the former and 1st Irish ambassador to Korea.
We are mindful of Sr. Enda’s brothers Gerard and Fr. Jim who are closely united with us now as we celebrate Sr. Enda’s life and her entry into Heaven.
Welcome also to our priest friends, The Columban Fathers, The John of God Brothers, Killian and Brendan, Our valued Staff members,
And our own sisters who have travelled to be with us.
In these latter years, through ill-health, Sr. Enda was invited on to the Cross, with Jesus, and from there, we can safely surmise,
she continued her mission among the Korean people whom she had come to love with all her heart and serve with her best energies for 50 years.
What joy it must be for her now to meet the Divine Physician, Jesus,on whom she modelled her long and dedicated life rendering help and healing.
And how fitting it is for us, now, to turn to God to give thanks, through the Eucharist, for Sr. Enda.
We are mindful that this Eucharistic celebration gathers in all those who are dear to Sr. Enda who cannot be with us today….
family and friends in England, Australia, the US and so, so many in Korea.
May they know God’s comforting presence as they too say their farewell to Sr. Enda.
My our Lady of Knock, Lead you safely home dear Enda.
Please click below the Reflection of Sr. Josephine Hong, SSC during the Funeral Mass of Sr. Mary Enda:
A Tribute to Sr. Enda