Sister Sheila Geaney
1947 – 2016
Born: 22nd February 1947
Entered Religious Life: 17th October 1966
Died: 18th July 2016
Sheila, daughter of John Geaney and Mary Daly, the first of four daughters, was born in Castlemaine, Co. Kerry on 22nd February 1947. She entered the Novitiate of the Sisters of Charity on the 17th October 1966 and received the habit and the names Marie Perpetua on the 25th April 1967. She made her Religious Profession of vows on 22nd May 1969.
Sheila’s area of ministry throughout her religious life, apart from a year in Basildon, was in the Irish Province. She ministered in Milltown, Basin Lane, St. Joseph’s Kilkenny, Benada, Cappagh, St. Vincent’s Cork, St. Vincent’s Elm Park, Dublin. She was involved in the catering ministry and in childcare.
Sheila successfully completed a one year full time Diploma Course in Pastoral Ministry in 1993/94 which was held at the Dublin Institute of Adult Education in Mountjoy Square, Dublin. Here she was commended for her essays, group project and particularly for the quality of her work in her personal project which dealt with Basic Christian Communities. Sheila’s placement was based in an active middle income parish where she had the opportunity of familiarising herself with the work of the locally based parish sister. She visited quite a number of elderly in their homes which led her supervisor to make the following comment about her: “Sheila’s easy manner endeared her to anyone she visited and I could see her journeying with many a lonely person if she takes up parish work”.
Following a year of practical experience in parish ministry in Basildon she was missioned to Sandymount, first in Lakelands (1995-2008) and then in Park Avenue, (2008-2016). It was in her years in Sandymount that she blossomed in her true element. Sheila loved people and enjoyed her visits to the elderly and the housebound. She was also involved in the Ladies Sodality and in the ministry of Neighbourhood Retreats. She had a great interest in prisoners. One gentleman who spoke to her before she died said ‘Sr. Sheila you were my prayer warrior’ and went on to thank her for the important role she played in his life. He spoke about his own faith now and the seeds she had helped to plant that had nourished the growth of that faith.
Sheila was very interested in Charismatic Renewal as she saw the effect it had on people’s lives. She attended many of the prayer meetings and always had a great love for the Holy Spirit. She often prayed to be surprised by the Spirit and she loved the feast of Pentecost.
About a year before her death Sheila was stricken by Motor Neuron disease, which began by depriving her of her power of speech. This meant that she had to write down whatever she wanted to say, which must have been very tiring, but she never complained. Eventually she lost the power of her leg muscles and was confined to bed. It is no exaggeration to say that Sheila smiled her way through her illness.
Sheila had great devotion to the Eucharist. As this is her Golden Jubilee year, a priest friend celebrated Mass for her and a number of her ‘coes’ in the convent chapel. Sheila was present in a wheelchair and was genuinely happy. She also enjoyed the little celebration that followed.
Sheila died very peacefully, surrounded by her family and the Lakelands community on the 18th July. Her remains were received in the Convent Chapel on July 20th and she was removed to Star of the Sea Church in Sandymount for her funeral Mass on July 21st. The large attendance at her funeral bore testimony to the love and appreciation of those whose lives she touched. She was laid to rest in the community cemetery in Donnybrook.
May she rest in peace