Sr. Rita Deegan’s Farewell.
Sr. Rita Deegan’s Farewell.
Address by Sr. Rose.
On behalf of the sisters here in Magheramore
It is my privilege to welcome you all…
and in particular, to welcome you
Sr. Agnes, Nina, Linda,
family members, relatives and friends –
who have come to say farewell to your beloved Rita.
Welcome also to our priest friends –
The Columban Fathers…
Sisters of Charity
Our valued Staff members
and our own sisters who have travelled to be with us.
Our gratitude to Sr. Abbie who is our homilist today.
Gratitude also to Fr. John Leydon, Columban Father,
who will lead us in our Liturgy
together with our priest concelebrants…
Fr. Pat O’Conor, our resident chaplain, and
Fr. Eddie Walshe, Kiltegan Father.
When speaking of Our Lady, Pope Francis has repeatedly referred to her “revolutionary tenderness”….
And over the years we could observe in Rita’s life, a constancy in her tenderness – in her way of relating, especially in relating to the least and the last…..
leading us to safely surmise, that the
source of Rita’s gentle approach,
lay in her enduring devotion to Our Lady….
a devotion that was honored by Rita being
invited to Heaven for the lovely Feast of the Assumption.
And now, as we begin the Mass,
we give thanks for Rita’s life
and call to mind the people of those places
where Rita worked:
Hong Kong, Pakistan, Scotland and laterally,
as a Chaplain in the Hospice in Harold’s Cross,
where she is remembered with great fondness.
After the burial, we look forward to having you join us for a meal in the Convent Dining room.
May choirs of Angels lead you to your rest dear Rita
Sr. Rita Deegan’s Funeral Mass
Homily by Sr. Abbie O’Sullivan 16th August 2018
When I was asked to say a few words I wondered what I would say. What could I say and how much could I say because I know that no matter what I say I will never be able to capture the essence of the person whom Rita was. Her story is recorded only in the Book of Life and we will know it all only when we meet her again in Heaven. But we all have our memories of her and these will always be very precious and always treasured.
We are gathered here in our Chapel to celebrate Rita’s life among us and also to celebrate her passing into Eternal Life. It is a day of remembrance and a day of looking forward in expectation.
We stand in awe before the wonder and the mystery of life and we stand in awe before the wonder and the mystery of death. Perhaps death is the only mystery that we can’t fathom. Today Rita knows all the answers. Her mortal being has merged into Eternal Being. She has gone HOME – Home where she has always longed to be. And so we know and believe that her life has not ended. It is changed — changed profoundly. She has left us but she is still with us.
This is our belief —– For we are a Resurrection people.
Rita has gone home. She has gone to the place she always longed to be where she will be in total peace and infinitely happy for all Eternity.
Home was always very important to Rita. She loved to go to Mountrath and when she came back she proudly spoke of everyone she met. She loved especially her sister-in-law Nina, her niece Lynda and nephews. She always prayed for them as she followed their careers and rejoiced at their success. Agnes of course was always her No. 1 always so faithful to her. Family was so important to her and it broke her heart to hear of families suffering or dis-functional. In Community she was a home-maker – always welcoming, hospitable and interested in everyone. Wherever she went she radiated contentment and joy. Her presence was that of sensitivity and tranquillity. She gave of her utmost in the areas where she lived to the people whom she served.
After her Profession Rita was missioned to Dalgan Park where she served the Columban Fathers and Seminarians with dedication and enthusiasm.
In the Ruttonjee Hospital in Hong Kong she used her nursing skills to the full. She loved to serve the poorer patients who came there and she often went the extra mile to visit their homes and help in any way she could. While there she made life-long friends with whom she kept in touch until she was no longer able to do so.
In Pakistan hers again was a caring apostolate in which she brought the same dedication.
Scotland was similar – visiting the people and befriending them.
When she retired back to Ireland she was so happy to work in the Hospice in Harold’s Cross as a Pastoral Care Worker. This was very special to her – the privilege of accompanying bereaved families. She had a gentleness and an empathy that touched hearts and eased the pain of loss.
During the past couple of years Rita had her own share of suffering. Her greatest frustration was that she couldn’t communicate what she wanted. She knew what she wanted to say but she couldn’t verbalize it. During that time the word she used most was ‘Thanks’. She would often whisper ‘Thanks be to God’ ‘Thanks to everyone’. ‘Everyone is so good to me’. And I know that she would want me to say a very special ‘thank you’ to everyone here for their friendship and love during her lifetime among us. And a very special ‘thank you’ to the Staff of the Nursing Home who cared for her over the past few years with such graciousness, sensitivity and genuine love.
Rita was a very private person – in no way ostentatious or attention-seeking. Gratitude was her great characteristic. She was deeply. Genuinely grateful for everything. This, I believe, grew out of a simply spirituality learned in her home and deepened throughout her life. She never read any complicated theological tracts or philosophical essays. Hers was the wisdom and the easiness that came from a deep relationship with Jesus and Mary. Her motto was ‘All for Jesus and Mary’. These were the companions of her life – the Rocks on whom she built her security and confidence. This was the ground of her Faith, of her conviction, of her unshakable trust in Someone far greater than herself Who was ever loyal to her, ever united with her. Thus she epitomized serenity – an at-homeness with herself knowing and believing that she was in the very best company with Jesus and Mary in the present moment. This was so simple, so humble and so true. It was her unshakable belief.
In Hope we all live within God’s promises and the goal of our hope is God Himself and He is very near. When Jesus groaned in agony on the Cross Hope sang its song and echoed throughout the world ‘This day you are with me in Paradise’. Today is Rita’s Day and we rejoice with her. Her earthly journey is over. She has arrived home – to where she has always longed to be. And so we too live in Hope and we celebrate with her.
So maybe for a couple of moments we could close our eyes and do a bit of Spiritual imagining.
Let us go to Heaven – a place of brilliant light imbued with peace. There we see the Father, Son and Holy Spirit surrounded by the whole Host of Heaven – angels, saints and all those who have gone before us. Coming into their presence is Mary our Mother with her arm around Rita.
They move forward as Jesus stretches out His hand and says ‘Come Home Rita, welcome into the Home prepared for you from all Eternity’. Rita steps forward radiant and infinitely happy. Jesus guides her into the Heart of the Trinity where she will live for all eternity. This is the great love story of Rita and her God.
Today is a special day of celebration. Rita has arrived safely home. She is profoundly changed and infinitely happy. She is at peace with her God – Peace for all eternity.
This is our belief. We are a Resurrection people.
And so for those of us who believe in God we never have to say a final Goodbye
To Rita we say ‘Adieu Rita. Au revoire’.
Be with God Rita until we meet again.
If you would like to know more about the Columban Sisters:
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