Sister Maeve Kelly
1945 - 2011
Born: 19th May 1945
Entered Religious Life: 7th October 1963
Died: 21st April 2011
Appreciation of Sr Maeve Kelly
Eulogy given at Sr. Maeve Kelly's funeral by Sr. Jacinta Boland
I am going to begin this reflection with a story. I feel this story captures something of Maeve. There was a woman who lived on the side of a very bleak mountain and every day she was seen walking around the mountain and every now and then she would stoop and place something in the earth. People often asked her “What are you doing?” Her reply was always the same. “I am changing the face of the mountain.” Years went by and the children who had lived on the mountain grew up and moved away. One year there was a great reunion. Many people returned to where they had been brought up. They had often told the story of the bleak mountain and how hard life had been so when they arrived home they were surprised to see the mountain covered in foliage and vegetation. The sun was shining. “What has happened here?” they asked. Then one person said “Remember the woman who went out every day and stooped down to plant something in the earth? She always said ‘I am changing the face of the mountain’ but she, herself, never saw the fruits of her labour.”
This story reminds me of Maeve and of how she lived her life. She lived in Ireland, England, and Venezuela. She touched the lives of so many people. Maeve was a passionate, enthusiastic woman. She loved life and loved social occasions. She loved her family, her brother, Tim and his wife Catherine and her Auntie Peggy. She was so proud of her nieces and nephews and of Ben, her grand-nephew. Maeve loved the earth, the environment, she loved cosmology.
She had a great sense of justice. Many, many times she got herself into trouble because she challenged situations where people were being treated unjustly. Maeve was an advocate for those who had no voice and she stood by many people who were not able to speak for themselves. She was a good listener and also a good leader.
Maeve was a woman with strong views and she would argue her point to the bitter end. This sometimes presented challenges especially when she was up against someone with equally strong convictions!
I believe wherever Maeve went, she went with an open heart. Her one desire was ‘to change the face of the mountain.’ From Milltown, to Foxford; from Lakelands to Walthamstow; from Beanada to Basildon; from Birkenhead to Macclesfield; from Chingford to Venezuela and back to Bristol. She did this in her many ministries from child care to social work, from parish ministry to family outreach, from Provincial Team Leadership to local leadership. Maeve also, returned to Ireland to care for her mother. When she came back to Bristol, she was engaged in Filwood Hope, Family Advocacy, the Alzheimer’s Society and the 125 project. Her last ministry was her involvement with the Reconciliation Service here in this Church. It seems fitting that it was at this service she completed her ministry here on Earth.
I have heard many testimonials of Maeve since she died.” She was a true friend to me.” “I will never forget the support she gave me when I was new to Religious Life.” “She helped me to realize how important God and my Faith were in my life. To let go of things that did not matter.” She was non Judgemental, and had a “great love for people.”
We, who are left behind, are sad and shocked by our loss. Maeve, on the other hand, went to join her God and her mother and father, Mary Aikenhead and a very large circle of friends. I am sure that there was great rejoicing as she entered the Holy of Holies and I am sure that we will continue to be astonished at the fruits we will reap from her continual sowing and planting of ideas and initiatives among us.
May she now rest in peace.
Reflections read at Sr. Maeve's funeral by two Altar Servers
If you were to write a book about Sister Maeve, of her work, of her friends and of the love she gave, the book would have no end. Sr. Maeve was an inspiration. She kept everyone on their toes. She was always looking for new ideas for the young people of our parish. The memory of her laughter, love and warmth will live on with us and in the hearts of everyone who knew her. God Bless Sister Maeve.
There was magic in her touch
And sunshine in her smile.
There was love in everything she did
To make our lives worthwhile.
We could find both hope and courage
Just by looking in her eyes.
Her laughter was a source of joy,
Her words were warm and wise.
There was kindness and compassion
To be found in her embrace
And we saw the light of heaven
Shining from her face
Her life was full of loving deeds
Forever thoughtful of our special needs
Today and tomorrow, my whole life through,
I will always love and cherish you.