Sister Margaret Hilliard
1946 – 2017
Born: 8th April 1946
Entered Religious Life: 10th February 1969
Died: 4th October 2017
The following is the reflection given by Camellia D’Cruz at the memorial Mass of Sr Margaret held on 14th November 2017 at the chapel in St Michael’s Hospital, Dún Laoghaire.
“It is with mixed feelings of sadness that we miss Sr Margaret and of gratitude for her life that I stand here to reflect on the life of Sr Margaret. I recall the first day I met her was in the chapel at the third pew where she usually sat. She recognised it was my first time to visit the chapel and made me feel at home.
Sr. Margaret was a lady of strong values. A woman who did not compromise the love of Jesus to anyone. Her role as a chaplain was far beyond supporting patients spiritually. Sr. Margaret would do her rounds every single morning and many, many patients and staff were assured of her love, her guidance, her support and her prayers. The spiritual needs of a patient was fully supported and upheld by Sr. Margaret. Her work was always recognised when patients verbalised that it was great to have a chat with Sr. Margaret. The holistic nature of healthcare demands spiritual well-being and this was constantly provided by Sr. Margaret.
Her presence and her encouragement is very, very sadly missed around the hospital. Staff who need a word of upliftment today have to only hold on to the memories of the goodness we received from Sr. Margaret.
Our gratitude to God will always stand. That the Lord blessed us with a lady personified with love and values which went beyond culture, creed, race and faith. She was there for anybody in need. Now Jesus we give Sr. Margaret back to you. Every time we miss her, we will remember and be reminded that she is now with you. May your favour and love uphold her. Amen.”
The following is the ‘Welcome’ given at Sr Margaret’s Funeral Mass on Saturday, 7th October, by Sr Mary Christian, Superior General and a member of the community where Margaret lived in Sandymount.
“On behalf of the Caritas Community and the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity I welcome all of you here today.
I welcome Fr. Dan O’Connor who is our main celebrant, Fr. Tom McDonald, CSSp who ministered very closely with Margaret at St. Michael’s Hospital and Fr. John McDonagh, our Parish Priest.
A special welcome to her family – her sisters Mary and Pauline, brothers Tommy and Paddy, sisters-in-law Bernie and Clare, brothers-in-law Mick and Oliver, her nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews and the extended family, Religious from other Congregations, her former colleagues at St. Michael’s Hospital, Members of the Choir, Margaret’s many friends and Sr. Una O’Neill our Provincial Leader and the many members of the Religious Sisters of Charity present.
Margaret was a woman of great faith, determination and hope. For twenty years she battled lymphoma and up to two weeks ago she would say over and over again ‘I just have to weather this bout’. God had other plans for Margaret and called her to himself.
As a Religious Sister of Charity. Margaret was just two years short of her Golden Jubilee. During these forty-eight years she ministered in many different aspects of healthcare in many different places. She began in Marycrest Manor in Los Angeles. Then it was back to Ireland to St. Joseph’s Kilkenny, over to Scotland to Airdrie, then back to Ireland for the remainder of her life where she ministered in Baldoyle, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin, St. Patrick’s Kilkenny, Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross, St. Patrick’s Cork and finally as Chaplain at St. Michael’s, Dun Laoghaire.
I have only lived with Margaret for the last seven years. I am absolutely certain that she loved her ministry and her one hope was to go back to St. Michael’s for two mornings a week. In her head she had it all worked out. She loved singing in the choir here in Sandymount and before that in Bray. She was also part of Project Messiah and this time last year when she was undergoing chemo nothing could stop her from attending practices and being part of the choirs. She was a very generous woman who thought only of others and was a real friend to many people. She had a wonderful devotion to the Rosary and I am sure she would be very happy to have her funeral Mass on this the feast of the Holy Rosary.
She will be missed greatly by her family, her community, her former colleagues, choir members and many, many more people.
Margaret, may you rest in peace.”