Recently the Sisters in the Irish Province have been having remembrance celebrations for those who have died – both recently and throughout the history of the Congregation. In this article we hear about what happened:
On the 1st of July, 1846, Mary Aikenhead wrote:
“To be able to save the memory of the dead which ought to be held sacred… is truly gratifying”.
It was indeed very gratifying for us in the Irish province to celebrate the memory of our sisters who have died this past year at our annual Mass. It was held in the little Chapel in Donnybrook on the 5th November. The date was appropriate as it is the one listed for this remembrance I our Congregational manual. The location was equally appropriate as this little chapel is full of the memory of the prayers and suffering, the joys and the tears of the sisters and residents for over 100 years.
The Mass was simple and symbolic. A candle was lit for the 20 sisters who had moved into Eternal Life during the previous 12 months. The music and singing was uplifting, the altar beautifully prepared and the liturgy appropriate to the occasion.
Afterwards we enjoyed the traditional ‘cuppa’ in the Mary Aikenhead Centre across the avenue from the chapel.
A number of our graveyards are no longer attached to Convents or Churches. It was decided that over the course of the next few years we would have a remembrance celebration in all of these and this year we chose St Joseph’s Kilkenny and Kilbarrack in Dublin. The service was simple, with hymns, prayers, the blessing and incensing of the graves and the distribution of candles (Kilkenny) and flowers (Kilbarrack).
The weather was cold in Kilkenny and very cold in Kilbarrack. Nevertheless the atmosphere in both was happy and peaceful as we gave thanks for the lives and ministries of our 24 sisters in Kilkenny and 311 in Kilbarrack – the youngest of whom was Sr Beatrice O’Brien whom most of us remember fondly.
The Sisters in Kilkenny invited us back to St Patrick’s where we warmed up with a lovely cuppa and after Kilbarrack we were invited back to Thornville Drive where we were equally entertained to tea and coffee, biscuits and cakes.
Mary Aikenhead would be happy that we were ‘holding’ sacred the memories of our dear sisters in both places.