Sister Francis Dolores Martin
1916 – 2013
Born: 29th August 1916
Entered Religious Life: 7th October 1935
Died: 27th June 2013
Sr. Francis Dolores (Teresa Mary Ita), daughter of John Martin and Maria Brooks was born in the Rotunda Hospital on the 29th August 1916. She was one of a family of four children and they had their home in Kildare. Sister entered the novitiate in Milltown, Dublin on the 7th October 1935 and made her religious profession on the 28th May 1938.
On the 9th August 1938, after her profession, Sister was missioned to Hammersmith, London and ministered there as ‘Companion on the Mission’ to an experienced ‘Missioner’. She was there until August 1941, and then returned to Ireland and was missioned to Blarney community, Cork, where she worked on the mission until June 1942. Between June 1942 and October 1952 Sister ministered in St. Patrick’s Cork, Cappagh Hospital, St. Patrick’s Kilkenny as Housekeeper/Helper.
In October 1952 Sr. Francis Dolores was missioned to Bath, England and ministered as Parish Sister until May 1961. From 8th August 1961 to 5th September 1964 she lived and ministered as Parish Sister in Macclesfield. On the 6th September 1964, Sister returned again to Bath community and continued her ministry as Parish Sister for nine years. From September 1973 to July 1979 she lived and served in Airdrie and Rockferry as Parish Sister.
In November 1979, Sr. Francis Dolores returned to Ireland and was missioned to Mountjoy Street community and began her ministry as Parish Sister in Berkeley Road. Here she enjoyed many happy and fruitful years. Sister was a great woman of prayer, had a deep faith, and a great devotion to our Foundress Mary Aikenhead. She was tireless in her work, always aware of people who were struggling and in need, and responded in practical ways. Sister visited the sick, the housebound, the elderly in their homes, in hospital and in nursing homes. She had great organisational skills, she gathered a team around her and every year organised pilgrimages to Lourdes and Knock. One of her parishioners wrote, “As Parish Sister Sr. Francis Dolores won the hearts of many people, she was a real gift to young and old, especially to people with special needs. All her ministries were carried out with great love and dedication. She organised the ‘Meals on wheels’, arranged rota for the ‘Ministers of the Word’ and was a very committed member of S.V.P. To us here in Berkeley Road Parish, she was a true ‘Sister of Charity’ and we feel privileged to have known and worked with her”. Members of the Garda Siochana assisted Sister in many ways and were always at hand when needed, especially for the pilgrimages and events in the parish. Two of them were present at her bedside a short while before she died.
Sr. Francis Dolores built up lifelong friendships, with people from the various places where she had lived and this was very evident by the big number who came to visit her during the last few weeks of her life and then attended her funeral, including friends from Bath, England. In a letter which arrived a few days after her funeral a gentleman wrote “I have just heard that Sister Dolores has died. Those of us old enough remember well what a remarkable impact she had on St Mary’s Bath in her years as Parish sister. May she now rest in peace.”
Sister maintained a strong bond with family members, her nieces, nephews, and cousins who lived in U.S.A. One of her yearly highlights was when they came on holidays and together they went visiting other relatives and friends.
In July 1988, when Mountjoy Street convent closed Sister moved to Temple Street and continued with her ministry in Berkeley Road Parish.
On the 8th December 2009, when she needed more care, she moved to Mary Aikenhead Ward, Our Lady’s Hospice. After a busy life it was not easy for her to settle, but once she did she expressed her appreciation for the care she was receiving. Sr. Francis Dolores had some very loyal friends from her days in Bath and Berkley Road, who visited her frequently and took her out when she was able on outings to theatre, cinema etc. which she thoroughly enjoyed.
Gradually her health deteriorated and Sr. Francis Dolores was called home by her Master (as she called Him) on the evening of Thursday 27th June 2013. Her funeral took place in Berkeley Road Parish and ten priests concelebrated her Requiem Mass. A large circle of her good friends, sisters and people from the parish were present. Sr. Francis Dolores, who was always organised, had arranged her own funeral liturgy. May she now rest in eternal peace.