RIP Sr. Eileen Wall

God called Sr. Eileen to her eternal rest after almost seventy years of missionary service in Ghana, Nigeria, England and Ireland. Below are some thoughts shared by Sr. Kathleen McGarvey, OLA Provincial Leader, at Sr. Eileen's funeral. May she rest in peace.


RIP Sr. Eileen Wall.


Good afternoon and welcome. We are gathered to bid farewell to Sr. Eileen and to thank God for her long life well lived in the service of God and others. I would like to say a very particular word of welcome today to Eileen’s family, especially to her brother Fr. Richie, SMA who is here on the altar, and to her sister Anna. Also to the many nieces, nephews, grand nieces and nephews, relatives, and friends who are here with us today. Welcome to all the Religious and priests who have come to pray with us and especially to our brothers the SMA Fathers here on the altar and to all the OLA Sisters gathered from near and far.

Eileen was a very special lady. Sisters, priests, family, infirmary staff… everyone I have spoken to about Eileen in the past few days, speaks of her as being cheerful, kind, and hospitable. That too is the woman I myself will remember: a happy woman who was full of fun, always ready to help, joke, give a smart answer with a lovely cheeky smile. I’ve spoken to Sr Loreta and a few other sisters who knew her well and they all say she was a very kind lady, welcoming, pleasant always, easy going, never got overly excited about anything, made no big noise, no big demands, had no major complaints, had a good rapport with everyone whether here in Ireland or in England or in Africa. She made people feel at ease always whether that was lay staff or Sisters coming to visit or whoever, a woman who was lovely to live with, one who didn’t do conflict and didn’t do gossip, who diffused tension...a wholesome woman, a woman who was very secure in herself, a most peaceful person who radiated contentment. To be honest, I really was asking myself is Eileen a Saint!! I’m sure she was no more a Saint than any one of us here is, but she certainly was a very special lady, had very special qualities and will be very sadly missed.

Sr. Eileen was born in Canovee, Co Cork, way back in June 1925. She worked in a factory in Macroom as a bookkeeper and counter-hand for a few years. Then in July 1946, at the age of 21, she wrote here to Ardfoyle asking if she could enter this congregation and a few months later, on the 26th September, that’s 72 years ago, she entered here in Ardfoyle. On the 8th March 1947, she was received. On the 8th March 1949, she made her first profession. On the 8th March 1955, she made her final profession. And on the 9th March 2018, God called her to her eternal rest, after just under 70 years consecrated to the service of God’s kingdom especially in Africa.

Of these Eileen spent twelve in Ghana (in Fosu and in Asikuma), twenty four in Nigeria (in Ibadan [Oke-Offa and Ikire}, Ogwashi-Uku and Abeokuta), nine in England (five in training in London and four as a nurse in Leigh), five in Castlemagarrett in Mayo, and the last eighteen back here in Ardfoyle.

In Africa, Leigh and Castlemagarrett, Eileen worked as a nurse and as an administrator. I am told that she was a very good nurse and truly loved the people among whom and with whom she worked. Since coming back to Ireland in 2000 Eileen was busy here in Ardfoyle, serving both in the house and in the Mission store, until not too many years ago when she finally had to move to the infirmary.

I am told that Eileen gave herself faithfully to her mission wherever she was sent and no doubt she worked hard and well and with great ability. But even more than the great work she did, I believe Eileen will be remembered for her ability to relate – undoubtedly she touched many lives through her ministry but I believe it was above all through her humanity, her human touch, her cheerfulness and her kindness, her easy-going uncomplicated nature, that Eileen will best be remembered.  We thank God for her person and pray she will now rest and rejoice for ever in the peace and joy of God’s love. And may she continue to smile down on us from her place in God’s presence in heaven.

I take this opportunity to thank all those who cared for Eileen these last years, especially Sr. Katherine and the House Council here in Ardfoyle, and Sr. Lucy and all our infirmary staff.  Our thanks also to Fr. Richie and all Eileen’s family for always being so close to her and offering her such love and support. May God reward you for your goodness and grant you the consolation you need.

I now hand you over to Fr. Richie to lead us in our Eucharist.  Go raibh míle maith agaibh.