Sr. Mary Treacy was called home to God on Friday 19th February 2021. May she rest in eternal peace.

Sr. Mary Treacy, formerly of Ballinturley, Athleague, Co. Roscommon. She is deeply regretted by her sisters Jane, Nell, Josephine, Kathleen, Brid, Ann; her brothers Sean and Martin; nieces and nephews; grandnieces and grandnephews and the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles.In line with government guidelines, Requiem Mass was private and was transmitted live on our youTube Channel on Monday, 22nd February, at 11.30AM

Sr Kathleen McGarvey delivered the following words:

Farewell to Sr. Marie Treacy, 22nd February 2021

Good afternoon and welcome. We are gathered today to bid farewell to our much loved Sister, aunt and friend, Sr Marie Treacy. Today, due to the COVID pandemic and the restrictions in place, sadly so few of us can be here in this chapel in person to bid her farewell at this funeral mass.

Our sincere condolences to Sr Marie’s family who are here –her sisters Jane, Nell, Josephine, Brid, Ann, and her brother in laws. Failte to you all; we are very happy that you can be here today. To her sister Kate and her brothers Sean and Martin, who cannot be here, we send our sincere condolences. We know Kate is having surgery today and we pray it will be successful. Also, to her nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews and the many other relatives and friends who cannot be here; we hope you are joined with us online and we send all of you our sincere condolences. Marie was very fond of you all and she knew she was greatly loved and supported by you, her family. Welcome and thanks also to Sr Marie’s cousin, Fr Bernard Treacy OP, our celebrant today.

We are gathered in prayer with all the OLA Sisters of Ardfoyle, including those joining us today from the Infirmary, the Community Room and other parts of this Community where Marie was a member for the past number of years. Also joined with us are OLA Sisters from our other communities both in Ireland and abroad, our SMA Fathers, and so many others who would all be here under normal circumstances. We are indeed very sorry to see Sr Marie depart from us, but we thank God for the gift that she was, for her long life of almost eighty years, and with faith we entrust her back to God.

Marie, the eldest in a family of nine, left her home in Ballinturly, the parish of Athleague, Co Roscommon, on the 28th August 1960 to join the OLA Sisters. She was nineteen years of age and had just finished her Leaving Cert in the Mercy Secondary School in Roscommon. As she said herself, “ever since I was a small girl, I have wanted to be a missionary and now I feel that God has called me to join your order”. No doubt, her aunt Sr Bridget Treacy, an OLA now deceased, had a big influence on her. Three years later, in September 1963, she made her first profession where she vowed to give her life to God in the service of the Good News of God’s Reign, especially in Africa. Over the years since then, that is what she did her best to do.

After her profession, she taught for two years in the OLA Primary school that was then here in Ardfoyle. She was then sent on her first missionary tour to Nigeria, where she taught from 1965 to 1967 in the OLA Marymount College in Agbor, the then Bendel state. In 1967 she returned to Ireland, for various duties as well as studies, and after making her final religious profession in 1969, she qualified as a medical doctor in UCC in 1976. She then had two years medical practice in Limerick before returning to Nigeria in 1978, this time as a doctor, working in St Mary’s hospital, Ogwashi-Uku, also in Bendel state. For health reasons, after two years there, she had to return to Ireland. She spent a few months in Rostrevor, in Co. Down, doing OLA Promotion work, did a brief course in tropical medicine in Liverpool, did a three-month Faith and Renewal course in Navan, and spent a few months working in Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda. In November 1983, she once again returned to Nigeria, this time to the rural area of Bacita, Kwara state, where she ministered as a medical doctor in St Brendan’s hospital. Again, health demanded that she finally leave Nigeria in November 1989, after six full and fruitful years.

Since then, Marie has been in Ireland, two years in Dublin, fifteen years in Castlemagarret, ten years in Claremorris, and since 2016, here in Ardfoyle. In all of these places, she was a faithful community member, always present, putting her creative talents to use in the kitchen, in the garden, knitting, making jam, and in other ways. Particularly in Mayo, where she spent so many years, she is fondly remembered by the parish where she was a reader in the Church and a friend of many, as well as by the staff who shared her journey in Castlemagarret or in Claremorris. While Marie liked the silent space of her own company, she was always friendly, and people appreciated her hospitality and her readiness to converse.

Marie suffered serious health difficulties, but she managed her condition very well herself, helped by her medical background. She had many passions, but primary among these was her quest for knowledge, and many would say she was like a walking encyclopaedia, easily pulling from her brain pages of information about almost any topic under the sun. I doubt there is any topic on which Marie would have said she didn’t know and being meticulous and detailed in anything she set her mind on, she was quite confident that the knowledge and opinion she had was correct and well informed. The Times and the National Geographic would have done well to have asked her to write for them just as would have any medical journal. History was also a passion and she could tell her family history from way back before Cromwell. While Marie was full of information, she did not gossip about others, but was kind and welcoming, and was of great help to those who consulted her on medical or other issues. She was also passionate about the writings of Maria Valtorta, an Italian mystic who wrote about her visions of the life of Christ, and this was something which Marie found very helpful in her own spiritual life. In her later years, apart from reading and prayer, she passed her days doing the Crossword or playing Suduko, completing the most difficult versions in record time, even until the day she left Ardfoyle on her last trip to the Cork University Hospital. Little did we think we would not see her again in her chair in the Community room.

Due to COVID, she spent two weeks in hospital with nobody permitted to visit her. When eventually we were allowed to visit, we knew it was simply to be with her as she waited on God to call her. She was comfortable, calm and at peace, and I have no doubt at all that she went straight from her hospital bed into the loving embrace of God. As we lay her to rest today, I pray Paul’s prayer from the letter to the Ephesians, that Marie who loved knowledge will now “know the love of God, which is beyond knowledge, and may be filled with the utter fullness of God”. (Eph. 3:19).

Before I finish, I take this opportunity to thank Sr. Katherine and the House Council 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 Marie’s family for having been so good to her throughout her life. May Marie, reunited in heaven with her parents, Sr Bridget, and all who have gone before her, send many blessings from above.

I now hand you over to Fr Bernard to lead us in our Eucharist.

Go raibh mile maith agaibh go leir.

Kathleen McGarvey OLA
Provincial Leader