Sr Olive Buckley
1937 – 2023
Born: 23rd July 1937
Entered Religious Life: 25th June 1956
Died: 22nd April 2023
Sr. Olive was born on 23rd July 1937, in Cobh to David Buckley and Kathleen Irwin. She was the 2nd eldest of the family and a favourite of her Grandmother Nan.
Cobh was her beloved native town and Cork was her special place. She loved her family dearly and in recent times spent long hours on the phone to each of them. Esther, her sister, a member of the Bon Secour Congregation, was her ‘go to’ person when she was troubled.
Before entering Religious Life, she trained in dress designing, tailoring and children’s wear in the College of Dress Design, Grafton Academy Dublin and worked from home long before covid made that fashionable or necessary.
Olive entered the Religious Sisters of Charity on 25th June 1956 and like most Sisters, she was a pilgrim person, living and ministering in different convents in Ireland. Following the novitiate she was missioned to Clonmel and worked in the dry cleaning dept of the laundry; from there she was missioned to Lakelands and was involved in child care; then to Foxford doing Parish visitation among the people of the West; missioned then to Kilkenny and childcare once again; from there she was missioned to Waterford where she became ill and was granted exclaustration for a period of three years.
On her return to the Congregation, in 1976 she was missioned to St Mary’s home and school for the Blind (as it was called then) living initially in St Mary’s and then transferring to Shalom community, when that house was built for Sisters on the campus. She loved living in Shalom. She remained linked to Shalom community during her stays in the nursing homes. In St Mary’s she was in charge of the ‘workroom’ and sacristy. It was in this ‘workroom’ that Olive excelled herself and could use the skills she had learned many years before. She loved working with the blind and partially sighted women who were resident in St Mary’s and it was they who gave her the nickname ‘buttons and bows’.
While in charge of the Sacristy, she was most attentive to all the priests who came to celebrate mass, but Fr Flavin CSSp and herself had a great friendship. She was particularly fond of an Indian Group who used the church in Merrion on some Sundays each month to celebrate the Eucharist in the Maronite rite. She loved this group and was delighted to help them.
In 2016 it was obvious that Olive needed a bit more care and so she moved into Loyola nursing Home in Merrion. At this time, St Mary’s was a general nursing home with three wings – Loyola where the sisters resided, St Oliver’s which was for those needing full time care and the ‘houses and apartments’ for those with ‘sight’ difficulties but could live semi-independently. The nursing home was run by a Company on behalf of the Religious Sisters of Charity. It was with great difficulty that she retired from the workroom as this had been her life and ministry up to then.
IN 2019 this nursing home closed quite suddenly and Olive with several other sisters moved to Beechlawn Nursing Home, Drumcondra. In Loyola and Beechlawn she loved when visitors arrived with any news and always had a smile for them. Her friend Jackie who worked in Loyola for many years had stayed as her faithful helper right up to the end, doing her shopping or topping up her phone. Her phone was her lifeline to family, community and friends.
Her faith was strong and it was this that held her in the difficult patches of life that she had to contend with. The love of Her Lord, Jesus was ‘the essence of her life and her standby’ as mentioned in the communion hymn sung at her requiem. She loved the Eucharist, the mass, and loved to send a gift of a mass to her friends on special occasions. Another friend, Sr Marie Smyth RSC was her helper and secretary in this regard for the number of mass cards was mighty. She also loved to receive cards. She had other good friends and helpers especially Srs. Pauline MItchell and Marcella Cassells from Shalom community.
She had great devotion to Our Lady also and visited Lourdes many times. With Esther she visited Knock many times and had many lovely happy holidays with her.
Her quality of life in the last few months of her life was poor. Her last few weeks were spent in the Mater hospital and at first it was thought she would recover but the Lord had other ideas. Her death ended her suffering. The Lord is wiping away all tears. (Is 25:6-9). The peace she longed for in life and echoed in psalm 130 (131) is now hers. The Lord has taken her to be with Him for evermore. (Jn:14:1-6 ibid)
May she rest in His peace.