Centenarian Celebrations In Limerick
Sr. Eileen Doyle
On July 22nd, Sr. Eileen Doyle of Mount St. Vincent celebrated her 100 year birthday. Her cousin, Fr. Dan Baragry, C.Ss.R. was chief celebrant of the mass, and Eileen, who was baptised Eileen Magdalen chose to read from the Song of Songs text of the feast: “I found him whom my heart loves”. Eileen also had a special day earlier with her relations from Dublin, Wicklow and foreign parts, but July 22nd, the birthday was to be the community celebration for Mercy sisters and various other friends. The moveable ‘walls’ of the community and dining areas were moved back to reveal an expansive space for seating and refreshments for everybody.
Sr. Peggy Collins with Sr. Eileen and cheque
Sr. Peggy Collins formally congratulated her and read to her and all present a beautiful Navago chant of the Native American tradition:
In the beauty of long life
there I wander. . .
In the house of happiness
there I wander;
Beauty before me. . .
Beauty behind me. . .
Beauty below me . . .
Beauty all around me.
Now in old age,
Now in the trail of Beauty I am.
Indeed the last lines may be said to sum up Eileen’s long life because she was always a maker of Beauty. Creative, artistic and practical, as a member of community she was always ready to use her talents –to make a banner, do calligraphy, care for plants, arrange flowers, assist in the sacristy and do whatever – all in her late nineties and now at 100 plus. An engineer in her own way (she would have loved the new technology!), if you needed a screw-driver, ask Eileen; she had one. And it was also Eileen who helped the more inept among us to get the job done.
Sr. Eileen and Bishop Brendan Leahy
Peggy formally presented the President O’Higgins’ letter and read it for all present. The President reminded Eileen of all the changes she had witnessed since 1913 – many of them unimaginable in her time, and accompanied his warmest congratulations with the centenarian payment she proudly held up for all to see. In his rich baritone, Eileen’s long-term friend, Michael Nash burst in to song with a rendering of ‘A Perfect Day.’ Other singers contributed spontaneously. The Bishop of Limerick, Dr Brendan Leahy, surprised her with a visit. It was truly a ‘Gathering’ for the Mercy Sisters of the area, and for Eileen it was ‘A Perfect Day’.
Jo O’Donovan rsm
South Central Province