Sister Noeline Maguire
1931 – 2020
Born: 29th November 1931
Entered Religious Life: 8th February 1954
Died: 8th April 2020
The following is the Reflection given by Sr Úna O’Neill, Provincial Leader at Sr Noeline’s Funeral Mass
Everything about the Liturgy today reflects the faith and fidelity of the woman whose life we are celebrating. Even the fact that we are doing this on Holy Saturday and in the midst of Covid 19, is very much in tune with Noeline’s simplicity and humility.
The readings this morning are both comforting and challenging. In the Gospel Jesus speaks of himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life. He invites us to put our hope and our trust in Him and in His promise to be with us, steadily and constantly as we try each day to walk his way, to speak his truth, to live his life. It is an apt description of the life and commitment of Sr. Noeline for whom last Wednesday was the completion of a life history that began with her birth to her parents Mary and James, in Dublin on 29th November 1931. She entered the Congregation on 8th February 1954. It was undoubtedly from her parents and family she received the gift of faith that eventually led to her decision to become a Sister of Charity.
She lived that love of Christ in all her journeying and ministry – a life journey that took her to Milltown and Bray, to Temple Street and Foxford, to St. Anthony’s and Lakelands, where she was the local leader, and in her latter years here to Our Lady’s Mount. Her longest period of time was the 31 years she spent in Foxford where her extraordinary facility in financial and organizational matters contributed richly to the success and growth of the Mill and where she is well remembered today, not just for her expertise, but for her humanity and concern for all with whom she worked. Undoubtedly in ordinary times this chapel would have been full of her friends and former colleagues from Foxford as well as the many from financial institutions in Dublin who held her in high regard and with deep respect.
While we associate her very much with Foxford, her contribution to the Congregation and to the Irish Province, together with Sr. Colette, in her ministry as Bursar is immeasurable.
Noeline loved her family deeply though she was not a demonstrative person.
On the 27th August 1848, our Foundress Mary Aikenhead wrote: “Pray that I may be faithful to the end”. Mary Aikenhead’s prayer for fidelity has surely been fulfilled in her. Her life was an example to all of us of love and trust in the Lord, of faithfulness to her vows and of commitment to the Congregation.
I use Colette’s own words: Everyone has the same to say about her – a lovely, kind, gracious lady and a real Sister of Charity and daughter of Mary Aikenhead. Her words are echoed by members of Davy’s who wrote: “All of us at Davy were so very fond of her and have lovely memories of such a gracious, humble and loving lady. She will be missed by all who knew her as a loyal and trustworthy friend”.
In these latter years she has known the weakness and lack of energy that is part of aging. Nevertheless she retained her broad interest in world and national affairs – and especially in rugby affairs! She valued the support of the community in Ard Mhuire and the care she received there and in the Hospice. She was particularly appreciative of the way in which all who cared for her respected her dignity and her privacy. In her dying days the staff could not have been more caring and attentive to her every need. When the call came on Wednesday evening, she yielded her spirit to the Lord, peace-filled, calm and trusting – blest with a death that had no struggle, no pain, no fear.
The darkness we experience at this time is real and frightening and challenging.
The future for Noeline is certain. The future for us is uncertain and full of questions and anxieties. Its good therefore to remember that as we pray our blessings on Noeline’s final journey we are assured of her presence with us – loving us, caring for us, willing what is best for us. We are the better for having known her and our best remembrance of her will be to allow her life to be a source of inspiration and thanksgiving for us. May we learn from her life a little of what it means to be faithful to Jesus by doing our best to live for others – in the spirit of the Psalm which encourages us to Hope in God, hold firm and take heart.
May she rest in peace.