Final Farewell to Sr. Juliana O’Neill. 

Monday 4th Nov. 2019

Words of Welcome by Sr. Rose Gallagher.

On behalf of the sisters here in Magheramore, it is my privilege to welcome you all and in particular to welcome you, Sr. Juliana’s family, relatives and friends who have come to say farewell to your beloved Therese.

Welcome also to our priest friends, the Columban Fathers, our valued Staff members and our own sisters who have travelled to be with us.

Our gratitude to Fr. John, our resident chaplain, who will lead us in our Liturgy, together with our priest concelebrants.

 As a young sister, Jesus’ love captivated Juliana’s heart and she gave him her all…choosing as her Motto “Love is repaid by love alone”.  

In latter years, unable to speak, Juliana was invited to share in the deep silence of God…learning to live her motto and mission in unimaginable fruitful ways…

Drawn deep into the heart of God, she would have discovered God’s inside story on love…. Her life now speaking eloquently, of a love that endures all things, transforms all things, redeems all things.

Love was to be Juliana’s goal, her path, her mission, her destiny….and she didn’t disappoint the One who first loved her. Jesus was the beloved of her heart.

              

Sr. Juliana would want us to say thanks to the N.H. Staff, for their attentiveness and gentle care. Her fidelity to her mission to the very end, was powerfully enabled by the constancy of their care. The Staff shared with me how they learned to read her need through her eyes. For certain she will be there for them and their families in their time of need.

Our Eucharist will be our Hymn of gratitude to God for the unforgettable blessing that Juliana has been for us; for you her family and for the Korean people whom she loved and served so well.

May angels sing you to your rest dear Juliana.

You will continue to live on, in love, in our hearts.

Homily for Sr Juliana O’Neill.

By Sr. Nora Wiseman.

Good morning and welcome to everybody as today we gather to celebrate the life and death of Therese Frances O Neill, known to all of us as Sr Juliana or ‘Julie’.

Julie – a proud Dubliner was born on Oct 3rd 1934. She was the second youngest of a large family. Her birthday was on the feast of St Therese and it was on that Feast Day that she entered our Congregation in 1957. Julie had a lifelong devotion to St Therese and she chose as her motto “Love is repaid by love alone” which was the essence of St Therese’s spirituality. Julie’s vocation to the Columbans was thanks to her meeting a Columban Sister when she was in St Vincent’s hospital. When Julie began her life as a Columban her companions included a Korean, two Chinese as well as other Irish young women.

After her profession in 1960 she was assigned to the catering service in Magheramore for two years. Incidentally, her group were the first to enter in Magheramore after we transferred from Cahircon. Already her culinary and creative gifts and her love of nature were being recognized. Her beautiful singing voice was much appreciated as she enhanced the community liturgy and other festivities.

At the end of two years’ service Julie, like all of us, who were young an enthusiastic, could not wait to go on the missions. She was not interested in doing third level studies. Julie’s mission assignment was to Korea, a country still recovering from the effects of the Korean War. It was a country with great needs. Her first assignment was to Sam Chok, a city in the east coast of the country where the sisters had a clinic and an outreach programme. Here, while studying the language she took care of the catering for the community and the clinic staff.

For the next thirteen years Julie continued her ministry in Mokpo and Seoul. Her great organisational ability, creativity and welcoming and cheerful attitude endeared her to the Korean people. As local superior in Mokpo and Regional Superior for the Region, Julie constantly strove to provide and promote more vibrant communities and through her creativity and giftedness in Liturgical preparation, and her beautiful singing voice she helped all of us to celebrate with joy the various liturgical Feasts and our own special days.

At the 1981 Chapter. Julie was elected as one of our Central Leadership Team. For the following six years through visiting our various Missions, Julie shared her life and her giftedness with her Sisters worldwide. On completion of her term on the CLT, Julie did her studies in the US for one year to enhance her Missionary work. Julie returned to Korea in 1991 and remained there until 2006. During this time she carried the role of Regional Bursar. One of Julie’s great dreams for Korea was for us to accept Korean candidates into our Congregation. During this final period in Korea she had the joy of seeing this dream come to fruition. In the profession of many Korean Columban Sisters. She must be so happy today that Sr Susanna, one of these Sisters and our Congregational Leader is here with us.

Another great joy for her was seeing Cardinal Kim lead the Church in Korea, so single mindedly.  Julie was a great admirer of the cardinal and had met him on numerous occasions. She always carried a photo of him on her. In 2006, Julie came to Ireland for treatment of some health problems. As her health began to deteriorate, she who loved a good chat and spending quality time with friends and family, and who loved to sing, gradually lost her ability to do so. As her ill-health progressed Julie’s ability to do anything for herself gradually deteriorated. In the past twelve years, the Sisters, her family and the Nursing and caring staff in Magheramore have surpassed themselves in the respect and dignity they have shown in caring for Julie. The efforts that have been made to try and communicate with her:

– The one to one visits

–The little songs – many of them in Korean that were sung for her

– The little stories that were shared and most of all the smiles and eye contact that were shared.

Julie’s sharing of love was completely nonverbal and almost tangible.

Research has shown that when we communicate 55% is through body language, our facial expressions, posture and gestures, 33% is the tone and pitch of our voice, and 7% are the words that we use. Our hope and prayer is that during her ‘silent years’ Julie was able to feel the love that we so much wanted to communicate to her. In Korea we have a belief that anybody who dies in the month of November goes straight to Heaven. We now know that Julie waited until Nov 1st. As if to confirm it, the Lord called her home on the Feast of All Saints, where with the white robed army she can sing ‘Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God of Hosts’. Now she knows that:  Love is repaid by love alone. 

 

May angels sing you to your rest dear Juliana.

You will continue to live on, in love, in our hearts.

 

 

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