Sister Margaret Devlin
1922 – 2011
Born: 1st March 1922
Entered Religious Life: 12th January 1942
Died: 28th June 2011
Appreciation of Sr Margaret Devlin
Eulogy given at Sr. Margaret Devlin’s funeral by Sr. Jacinta Boland
Today we gather to celebrate the life of Margaret Devlin. Margaret joined the Sisters of Charity in 1942. She had known arid worked with the Sisters in Rock Ferry prior to going to Milltown. She was born in Birkenhead and was one of nine children. Her last surviving sister, Tess, was very close to her and they spent every Wednesday together until Tess died. Margaret’s journey as a Sister of Charity took her from St. Vincent’s hospital to Bath and from there to Harold’s Cross and on to Merrion where she lived for twenty three years. She returned to Rock Ferry and lived there until it closed in 2005. Margaret was the last person to leave the house that morning and she was the one who turned the key in the door for the last time. She had lived in Rock Ferry for twenty nine years. She then went to live in 139 Park Road North where she remained until Tess died. Margaret recognised that the time had come to accept more care herself. We talked about her leaving Birkenhead and looked at the possibility of her staying in the area and going into Nazareth House. In the end after a lot of thought and prayer Margaret said she would prefer to come here to Hackney. This was a big decision and a brave one. Even at eighty plus she was available for Mission. She was willing to leave the familiar and go into the unknown.
Margaret was close to her family and was so upset when her niece, Barbara, died. She missed contact with the family and often wondered how they were. She had a large circle of friends who always kept in touch with her by phone, letter or visits. I would like to thank those of you present for coming today to celebrate her life.
When I read the first reading it reminded me of Margaret. “On this mountain the Lord of Hosts will prepare a rich banquet.” Margaret spent her life preparing meals for others. One comment made about her was, “She was one of the most compassionate, kindest sisters I ever had the privilege of living with.” Another spoke of her kindness to the staff with whom she worked. She knew their circumstances and would often send them home with a fruit cake for the family. She had a great sense of humour and always had a story to tell or a song to sing.
There is a story told of her trip to RTE to see “Wheel of Fortune”. Off she went with her companion. There she was In full habit sitting in the audience. What she did not know was that the cameras beamed in on her and she in turn she was beamed into almost every community room in Ireland. I am told she was hardly in the door when she was sent for. I will leave the rest of the story to your imagination… There are many other stories about Margaret. I know most of you here will have your own personal story and memory.
Margaret lived life to the full she loved playing cards, she also enjoyed watching Deal or No Deal, Emmerdale and Coronation St. One evening, not so long ago, I went in to see her and there she was sitting on the side of her bed praying along with the tape for night prayer. It is really good to know that three days before she died she was enjoying a day out in Epping Forest and having a pub lunch. I think Margaret’s was a fulfilled life. She was a peace with herself, her God, and for the last three days of her life she was an example to those who looked after her. The Charge Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit said it was a privilege to look after her and now I say Margaret may you now rest in peace.