Farewell to Sr. de Pazzi Farrell, Date:10th March 2022
Good afternoon and welcome to all. We are gathered today to bid farewell to a very special person, a motherly, humble, genuine, caring, prayerful, down-to-earth woman, Sr de Pazzi Farrell. We are indeed very sorry to see her depart from us, but we thank God for the gift that she was, for her long life of almost ninety-seven years, lived in the service of God and others, and with faith we entrust her back to God. Today, she joins her parents Thomas and Bridget, and her five siblings who have gone before her: Patrick, Owen, John, William, and her only sister Margaret. May they rejoice to be reunited in heaven and may they intercede for us all from above
We are thankful today, that many of our OLA Sisters living in Ireland can be here in this chapel for this funeral mass together with some of Sr. De Pazzi’s family members and friends. All are very welcome.
To some family and friends who cannot be with us today we send our sincere condolences.
Welcome and thanks to our SMA Brothers who are here and to Fr Eddie O’ Connor our chief celebrant.
Sr de Pazzi, born in Clogheen, Co Tipperary, and baptised Mary Teresa, entered Ardfoyle in 1944, at the age of nineteen, and made her first profession in March 1946. Like all who entered here, De Pazzi ‘s dream was to serve God’s Mission in Africa. This she did with great generosity of heart and not sparing herself in any way She spent her years serving in Ireland and in England, working from here so that there were SMA priests and OLA Sisters for these African missions as well as money to support them. A woman of great Faith she firmly believed that it was God’s will that she live out her Call to Mission in obedience, doing whatever was asked of her, which was primarily through service to young SMA students and young Priests in the seminaries, through service to OLAs in our communities, and on the roads collecting mite boxes. All this she did with a full heart and generous spirit.
Sr de Pazzi, spent twenty-eight years serving in various SMA houses throughout Ireland, including Clough Ballymore (Kilcolgan), Wilton Dromantine and BlackRock Road. SMA priests have often shared very fond memories of her great care, compassion, generosity, and thoughtfulness during their years of formation, when work in the kitchens and laundries was very difficult and working hours very long. We are delighted the SMA are well represented here on the altar today. It was while she was in Dromantine that as a sixteen-year-old I first encountered Sr.De Pazzi. It was the caring, joyful witness of her life that enflamed the first sparks of my vocation and led me to OLA. One of the happy memories I have is of the day Sr. De Pazzi representing the Institute received my Final Vows. Thank you!
Sister de Pazzi also served in OLA Communities: in Ardfoyle, in Dublin, in Castlemagarret, in London and in Lancaster. She looked after the human needs of those in her care, always with the same genuine, down-to-earth, committed, motherly care and dedication. She also had a lovely relationship with the staff she worked with, who have continued in faithful friendship with her to the very end of her days. And of course, her other very faithful companions in the laundry were the cats, and her great friend Fuffy, the last cat who died and who was nearly as old as de Pazzi herself, will always be remembered in Ardfoyle.
From 1987, de Pazzi spent many more years travelling the roads of Ireland to collect mite boxes, working mainly with Sisters Catherine Devane and Mary Martin, who she has gone to heaven to join today.
For the last few years, she has been in the Infirmary here in Ardfoyle, and until very recently she very much enjoyed looking out the window, feeding the birds, and chatting, despite her poor hearing, to anyone who called to visit her. Even at the great age of nearly 97 years, she continued to transmit always that basic, earthy, no-nonsense beauty of God’s motherly presence and love. I have no doubt she will continue watching over us all from above. May she rest in peace in God’s eternal embrace and may she continue to spread a mother’s wisdom and sense of no-nonsense among us all.
Before I finish, I take this opportunity to thank Nurse Joan and all the staff in the Infirmary as well as Sr. Katherine and the House Council, Michelle and all our staff here in Ardfoyle who show such respectful care and compassion daily to our elderly and infirm sisters. I also thank Sr de Pazzi’s family for the love they showed to her throughout the years. May she, reunited in heaven with her parents, her siblings and all who have gone before her, send many blessings from above.
Go raibh mile maith agaibh go leir.
Maura Cranney on behalf of Kathleen McGarvey OLA, Provincial Leader
Tues 8th, the day Sr. de Pazzi died, was 76 year since her First Profession in 1946. To speak of Sr. de Pazzi is to speak of a journey of faith and trust.
We think of her in the freshness of her youth, full of enthusiasm when she heard the call of the Lord, “The harvest is great, and the labourers are few/’ and her response from the words of the Letter to the Hebrews, “Here I am Lord: I have come to do your will. “
This response took many of those who answered the Call to the vast strange territories of Africa — to Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and other countries, but not all. Others, as happened with Sr. de Pazzi, obeying the wishes of Superiors, lived out their missionary vocation without ever working in Africa but they were just as surely missionaries and just as surely dedicated as their sister OLAs who left Ireland. We SMAs were especially blessed by her presence among us from Blackrock Road to Kilcolgan, Wilton and Dromantine. Of the 41 years from 1946 when she made her first profession to 1987 when she was again appointed to Ardfoyle, 28 of those years were spent in SMA communities.
The adventure of living in African places with musical sounding names, of being immersed in the lives of the local people in the markets — was not to be for her. She had to be satisfied with the fast speech of the Cork people or the strong accents of the North, with the local markets of the towns she lived in in Cork, Dromantine, Galway, Mayo and London far from the bustle and noise of the markets of Lagos, Benin or Kaduna. Sometimes she may have wistfully thought of those far-away places and wondered “what if?” before focussing her attention on the tasks ahead of her in Castlemagarett, Rostrevor, Ardfoyle and the SMA houses.
Sr. de Pazzi was a realist — grounded and giving herself totally to her mission — living out her promises as an OLA Sister in her service of the Lord where she was. She had given herself totally over the years to the Lord and her journey was one of faith and this faith made all other things possible. Sometimes in her daily round of tasks in kitchens she must have thought of St. Therese and her ordinary life of little things. I would imagine that the words of St. Paul to the Colossians, “There is only Christ: he is everything and he is in everything” summed up her whole life — no important positions, no ifs or buts just “Thy will be done”.
The blessings she brought to us SMAs through her presence among us were, as a couple of my brother SMAs described it in the last 2 days, the blessings of a mother. Where she lived was her home and especially in her days of caring for seminarians she showed us concern, care, affection and patience in abundance — indeed, qualities of a mother. She listened to us and affirmed us as a mother would. She was truly gentle and always kind, always interested in us, not so much in what we were doing but in how we were — we were still her boys no matter our age — even if it was 50 years since we first met.
Words that come to mind in remembering Sr. de Pazzi are: Generosity, Faith, Gentleness and Kindness. We have just heard the Gospel reading on the Last Judgement where it says, “In sofar as you did this to one of the least of my brothers of mine, you did it to me”. The giving of herself that Sister did throughout her life in every place and with every group was done without counting the cost and came from a truly generous heart. Inevitably she slowed down over the years but the spirit that ruled her life was still strong until recent times when she had to accept the inevitable.
Seeing Sr, de pazzj lost in prayer in this chapel over the years it wasn’t difficult to believe that her whole self was caught up jn Paul’s words to the Romans, gm certain of neither death nor Nothing that exj$t$ can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord,” She lived and died, with the conviction that nothing could ever separate her from the love of God in Jesus, These last few months and especially, the last weeks were difficult for Sr, de pazzi but she faced her illness, her pain and weakness, with great courage, almost always managing a smile and rarely complaining, And as she became weaker and weaker with her head turned into the pillow, the words of St, Augustine surely echoed in her heart – the longing to be with the Lord; “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you. “
The Lord gives. The Lord takes away. We are grateful for the gift of Sr. de Pazzi’s life amongst us and even though she reached the good age of 96 we’re still sad at her going. As we give her back to God, remembering the fullness of her life, we can truthfully say about this good and generous woman: ‘Thanks be to God for her life with us.’
I would like to end with these words from John O’Donoghue in his book of blessings — Benedictus — entitled: Entering Death
May there be a beautiful welcome for you In the home you are going to.
You are not going somewhere strange.
Merely back to the home you have never left.
Fr Eddie O’Connor SMA