Sister Nuala McGinley
1931 – 2021
Born: 17th September 1931
Entered Religious Life: 3rd October 1949
Died: 11th April 2021
Reflection given by Sr Mary Teresa Clarke at Sr Nuala’s Funeral Mass
We have come together, to give thanks to God for the life and ministry of Sr Nuala. On behalf of Sr Jackie Doherty, the Local Leader, and the Community, here, at St Joseph’s. I welcome you, to our Mass here today, celebrated by Fr David Evans, our Parish Priest, We are also very happy to welcome Sr Patricia Lenihan, our Congregational Leader who is present with us today.
In a special way, we welcome Sr Nuala’s family who will be joining us from many parts of the world, but it is with some sadness, that our little gathering here, in St Joseph’s Convent Chapel, does not reflect, the many friends and family members, who would have liked to be present here today.
We welcome too, all or sisters, joining us from the Province, from Ireland and Zambia. We gather here, to remember and give thanks for the life and ministry of Nuala, who was a dedicated Teacher all her life. This was for Nuala, a vocation within her Vocation, as a Religious Sister of Charity; she gave generously and freely of herself, as an Educator all her life.
Nuala was born, to parents, Mary and William McGinley, in 1931, Dublin. Family was always very important to Nuala and she kept them close to her heart in prayer and shared in all their joys and heartaches over the years.
Nuala is the last of her family – and so today, we remember in a special way:
Her Sisters: Thelma, Pauline, Maura, and Una.
And her Brothers: Hugh and Joseph.
Nuala went to King’s Inn St, School. Later joining the Civil Service, before entering, Mount St Anne’s, at the age of 18. Nuala was one of 14 women, who entered that year on Monday 3rd October 1949, later receiving the name of Sr Rita Philomena.
Sr Nuala’s journey through life took her initially to Clonmel, then across the Irish Sea to Birkenhead and on to Sowerby Bridge, In 1958, after qualifying, as a Teacher, Nuala began her long teaching career in Birmingham, before being missioned to Chikuni, Zambia. The journey continued, taking Sister, back to Bristol for 13 years and on to Chester until in 1994, having spent over 36 years in Education, Sr Nuala began to retire! Her own Professional Development, was very important, and so over the years, Sister, added, a Master’s Degree in Languages, and a Bachelor’s Degree (Hons) in European History. After retirement, Nuala enjoyed, some Sabbatical time, firstly, in the Holy Land, studying and teaching, at the Biblical Foundation in Jerusalem and later in California. In her retirement, Nuala, found time to pursue her own particular passion, which was a great love of Music continuing her study of the Flute, Key Board, Guitar, and music composition. Nuala enjoyed teaching the flute and indeed, she shared generously her knowledge of Music, with the children in St Dominic’s School, Hackney. Despite a busy schedule in retirement! Nuala also found time to be involved, in three different Choirs; among them were, The Church of the Assumption, Bethnal Green, and St Joseph’s Hospice Choir. Sr Nuala also kept a keen eye on politics and the various social issues of the day. But one great joy, for Nuala, of living in London, was the opportunity to attend concerts and fellow music lovers, recall the happiness of attending wonderful, concerts together, in the Royal Festival Hall. But, Sr Nuala never really retired; continuing to volunteer as a Bereavement Counsellor and finally learning how operate the new Hospice Switchboard! In more recent years, Nuala was often found in very peaceful contemplation in the Chapel, surprising the unwary in the dim evening light!
Sr Nuala always sought to see the potential in a child and nothing gave her greater happiness than to see someone succeed in life. During her life, Nuala greatly valued knowledge and wisdom and a verse from the Book of Wisdom, her own choice of readings for today’s Mass, echoes that thought:
I learned without guile, and I impart without grudging;
I did not hide her wealth, for it is, an unfailing treasure, for mortals:
Those who get it, obtain friendship with God,
Commended for the gifts, that, come, from instruction. – Wisdom, 7:14
To all the Sisters and care staff, here at St Joseph’s, you have been part of Nuala’s life over these last years, thank you, for the love and companionship you gave her.
May she now rest in the Peace Amen.