Sister Thérèse Foley
1925 – 2018
Born: 1st June 1925
Entered Religious Life: 4th February 1946
Died: 14th July 2018
The following is the reflection given at Sr Therese’s Funeral Mass by Sr Josephine McDonald RSC.
In the first reading Isaiah tells us that Sr. Therese is now enjoying the ‘feast’ of Heaven in the presence of God and that all tears are now wiped away. The words of St Paul in the 2nd reading are so true of Therese: ‘I have fought the good, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’
And she certainly has.
In the Gospel Jesus tells his disciples as He is talking with them just before His crucifixion and death: ‘I am going to prepare a place for you. And when everything is ready I will come and take you home with me.’
Such beautiful words. Therese is now ‘at home’ with God in Heaven, forever.
Therese Foley, the daughter of Denis Foley and Alice Gould, was born in Limerick on 1st June 1925. She entered the Religious Sisters of Charity on 4th February in 1946 and was received into the Novitiate on the 6th August 1946, receiving the name of Sr Mary Ethna. She was professed on 10th August 1948.
She died very peacefully on Saturday last, 14th July 2018 aged 93 years.
Therese came from a family of 7 with 2 brothers and 4 sisters.
She loved her family; she was very close to them and she enjoyed very much their visits and phone calls and her holidays with them.
In the not-so-distant past she suffered the loss of her brother Fr. Joe Foley S.J. Her brother, Denis also died. Some years ago her sister, Sister Rosaleen, who was also a Sister of Charity, died. Two other sisters – Gerardine and Marie, are also with God.
Anne alone remains of the family now and to Anne we offer our deepest sympathy and condolences and our prayers.
When Sr Therese was first professed she was missioned to Walthamstow just outside London. Indeed she spent most of her Religious Life in different parts of England, north and south, and in Scotland, working as a pastoral/social worker in different parishes. She did spend a short time in the Irish Province also as a social worker. She was very committed to her ministry wherever she was.
Therese returned finally to Ireland on 25th May 2006, 12 years ago, to retire, and was missioned here to Temple Street, her final resting place. She soon became very much part of the community in Temple St and participated in many activities. She joined a club in the area and became very interested in their regular meetings and various events; and also in their outings which she really enjoyed.
She responded to a call for volunteers for Eucharistic Ministers here in this parish and was very regular and faithful for the Evening Mass on Saturday which was assigned to her. But she had great interest in all parish activities and loved to attend daily Mass until she was unable to do so about a year ago. She found the availability of Church services on the internet a great consolation and was now able to participate in the Mass in various places daily. However she really wasn’t able to master the use of the internet but she always ensured that somebody (and sometimes she looked for several ‘somebodies’ in case the previous one forgot!) was there to turn it on for her. It just meant so much to her to have Mass available on the screen.
Therese suffered from a hearing loss for several years and in recent years found this very stressful. It was also difficult for the sisters at the table to include her in their conversations and keep her connected with them. But she always tried to keep abreast of what was going on. She loved to read and her interests were wide and varied.
Therese was a great woman of prayer. She was always praying. She loved the Mass and her daily prayer and adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament. She had great devotion to the rosary, 3 parts each day, and always included her family, community and Congregational intentions, as well as parish and world events. She seems to have been quite conscious of those around her and with whom she lived and was especially sensitive and supportive of those members of the community who themselves suffered bereavement. For as long as she could she was always ready to be helpful and she liked to take care of house-hold tasks that were of their nature regular and routine.
A few weeks ago she was moved to St Monica’s Nursing Home as she needed some care.
She was admitted to the Mater Hospital last Friday for a check up as she wasn’t at all well. The next day, last Saturday the 14th, she deteriorated rapidly and died very peacefully in the afternoon surrounded by her family and members of her community.
Paul tells us in Philippians: ‘Our homeland is in Heaven and from Heaven comes the Saviour we are waiting for, Christ the Lord.’ This is so true of Sr. Therese. She too has too has been waiting and now has reached her homeland, and her Saviour, Christ the Lord was certainly waiting for her.
It reminds me so much of the last verse in the hymn to Our Lady:
‘Thou hast waited Blessed Mother and thy waiting now is o’er,
Thou has seen Him blessed Mother and will see Him evermore.
O His human face and features, they were passing fair to see.
Thou beholdest them dear Mother,
Mother show them now to Sr. Therese’
Therese is at home with God in Heaven, forever. And with Our Lady is gazing on the face of Christ. She had a special devotion to Mary and the rosary. Mary is surely looking after her.
She is enfolded in God’s tender love and in peace.
The words of today’s Gospel are so very consoling.
Jesus says to His disciples: ‘I am going to prepare a place for you. And when everything is ready I will come and take you home with me.’
And that’s what Jesus has done for Therese.
She has now heard those beautiful words: ‘Welcome home Therese,” “Cead Mile Failte.”