Sister Teresa Gerard Donovan
1940 - 2011
Born: 1st July 1940
Entered Religious Life: 8th December 1956
Died: 30th October 2011
Appreciation of Sr Teresa Gerard Donovan
Eulogy given at Sr Gerard's funeral by Sr Jacinta Boland RSC
We are gathered today to celebrate the life of Sr. Gerard or Annie Donovan as she will be known to many of you. Gerard is a woman who has lived her life as a Sister of Charity for fifty four years. During all those years her ministry was catering and staff supervision which meant her life was concerned with the needs of others. Gerard did this with her whole heart and she certainly looked out for other people. Her journey as a Religious Sister of Charity took her from Mountjoy St. to Airdrie and from Ollerton to Marycrest in the USA, from Basildon to Walthamstow and from Bath to Clydebank. Here she has spent the last eighteen years of her life.
How do we begin to describe Gerard? How do we do her justice? Each one of us will have a different response. Members of the family would say, she was my sister, my aunt, my cousin, some of her community would say, she was my friend. She was a woman who had a deep love for the God she served so faithfully and some would say she was a woman of few words. Some would even say she was a very stubborn woman and once she had made her mind up nothing would change it. Others would talk about her loyalty and her love for the sick and those who were lonely and afraid. She was a woman who loved fun and enjoyed a bit of banter with others. Sometimes Gerard hid her light under a bushel. She was a talented artist and extremely creative. If you ever saw the intricate detailed work of her designs on the many cakes she decorated to celebrate weddings and jubilees they were truly works of art!
We all know that for the past twelve years or so Gerard has not enjoyed good health. As a result sometimes she was frightened and worried. This, I think, helped her to be more compassionate and understanding to those whom she visited daily on the wards. At this point, I must mention the faithful companion who helped Gerard find the confidence to be able to carry on her ministry. Misha, her Yorkshire terrier, who loved her with an unconditional love. They were a familiar sight in the hospice and they visited the wards daily bringing comfort and joy to the patients, staff and relatives. They enjoyed many walks in the grounds and in the park. Both came over to the convent each day for a visit. Misha showed Gerard there was life after sickness.
Gerard would never say three words if she could get away with saying two. In a sense it seems her leaving us was so sudden and unexpected. Often she would say I could die anytime! But somehow God knew that now was the right time and although we will miss her presence here in Clydebank somehow her spirit will continue to be among us. Gerard had great devotion to the Holy souls. She is now one of those Holy Souls. We are sad she has left us we are glad we have known her. She is now safely home and with all the people who loved her into life, her parents, grandparents, family and friends.
May she rest in peace.
You may also like to read the tribute to Sr Gerard on the St Margaret of Scotland Hospice website.