Sister Marie Veronica McMahon
1935 – 2021
Born: 6th August 1935
Entered Religious Life: 6th October 1958
Died: 10th June 2021
Reflection given by Sr. Mary Teresa Clarke, Provincial Leader of the English/Scottish Province, at Sr Marie Veronica’s Funeral Mass
We have come together today, to give thanks to God, for the life and ministry of Sr Marie Veronica McMahon. On behalf of the Community here at St Andrew’s Convent. I welcome you, to our Mass celebrated by Fr Breslin, Fr Keegan and Fr John.
We welcome Sr Marie Veronica’s: Brother, Jim, Sisters, Frances, Brenda and Anne – Nieces and Nephews who are with us today and many other family members joining us from Ireland, Germany, Canada and the US.
We welcome too, Sisters of Charity joining us from the English/Scottish Province, from Ireland and beyond, reminding us too; Sr Marie Veronica, served God for nearly 60 years in the Religious Life. But we are sad that our gathering here in St Margaret’s Church in Airdrie does not include the many Sisters, family and friends whose lives have been touched by Sr Marie Veronica over many years and who would have liked to be present with us today.
Sr Marie Veronica, Rena as she was known to her family and friends was born to parents Susan and Daniel, in Clydebank in the summer of 1935. Rena was the eldest of six and very soon as a young child, Rena and her family experienced the bombing blitz of March 1941.
Their home was damaged but the family were thankfully unharmed and were evacuated to Renton, near Balloch and later, her mother Susan, took 4 of the children to Fahan, in the north of Donegal for safety.
These traumatic memories remained with Sister all her life, as indeed they did for so many ‘Bankies’ of that generation. But for Rena out of these experiences, came great courage and resilience, which she drew upon in later life in coping with illness.
The family returned in 1942, to a Clydebank devastated by the bombing, where over one thousand people had been killed or injured. Rena went on to attend Notre Dame School in Dumbarton. After School she worked in an NHS Accounts Department, Rena had always enjoyed working with figures and Book Keeping.
The Sisters of Charity came to Clydebank in early 1950’s, Rena helped with Fundraising, then went on to join the St Agnes’s Guild and the Children of Mary, where she got to know Sr Mary Spinolla Mooney, whom she always said had been, a great influence on her life and vocation.
Rena travelled to Mount St Anne’s, Milltown, Dublin and entered the Noviciate with the Religious Sisters of Charity on the Monday 6th October 1958. After Profession, Rena now Sr Marie Veronica, began her journey as a Sister of Charity, this took her first to Howth, Dublin, in 1961, later to Donnybrook and then back across the Irish Sea, to Hackney in London. Sister’s journey continued on to Birkenhead, Chester, Airdrie, Bath and then back to Airdrie in 1993. Sr Marie Veronica worked in Parish Ministry for almost 50 years touching the lives of countless people in that time in many places from Howth to Airdrie.
Sr Marie Veronica was always mindful of the Sisters working on the Zambian Missions and as she said ‘she did her bit to help’, by running Coffee Mornings to help raise funds for ‘Sr Philomena’s (Reid) Mission’ who was another Bankie!
Even late in life, Marie Veronica had a very keen mind, loved her iPad and working out ‘Code Words’ from her numerous puzzle books! She was also very interested in the healing abilities of Aromatherapy and would make special recipes to relieve many aliments for sisters and friends.
Family always, meant a great deal to Marie Veronica, she loved being in Clydebank, for her birthday in August and having the opportunity to catch up with all the family and especially meeting the latest arrivals!
But one aspect of Sr Marie Veronica’s life we were, all very aware of and indeed inspired by was her courage and resilience in coping with illness, and disability. Marie Veronica made light of the pain and discomfort she undoubtedly suffered over many years, and rather interested herself in the lives of and stories of others.
Finally I would like to add – to all the Sisters, the Medical Staff, the Nursing and Care Staff here in St Andrew’s, you have been part of Sr Marie Veronica life over these last years. Thank you, for the love, care and companionship you gave her. Grateful thanks too, to Fr Breslin and Fr Keegan for your faithful spiritual care of Sister over these last years.
May she now Rest in Peace. Amen.