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In Memory of Rosheen Hayes

The Funeral Mass of Rosheen Hayes

1937 - 2008

Celebrant Fr. Martin McDonagh


Our 1st Reading presents us with the challenge of what being Church means. The community of the early Church remained faithful to the teaching of the Apostle – they were faithful to prayer and faithful to the “Breaking of Bread” – another name for the celebration of the Eucharist. Today we gather as a community to pray for Rosheen and just as faithfulness was the virtue of the Old Testament, this same ‘faithfulness’ is the characteristic, the virtue, which marked Rosheen’s life.

It happens sometimes that what is plainly to be seen is what we fail to see. The simple goodness of ordinary people makes no headlines – it is not ‘news’. And thank God for that. It would be a sad day for all of us if goodness were so rare as to be ‘newsworthy’. It is only the things that are unusual that arouse our curiosity

Notice how surprised those people were to whom our Lord said – “I was hungry and you gave me food....I was thirsty and you gave me drink...” They could not remember ever having done this and then the Lord said “I tell you solemnly, insofar as you did this to the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.

Today we are celebrating the funeral and burial of someone who has done these very things. But they were hardly noticed. Rosheen did so many simple things, but she did them in an extraordinary way with an extraordinary sense of love and faithfulness. Words like committed, dedicated, reliable sums up her life.

The oldest of four, Rosheen was born in Hallsmill 1937. After Primary School, she went to work, like most girls of her day. Few went on to Secondary Education. She got a job as a ‘stitcher’ in Blanes Factory, a boring job maybe, but a job that demanded patience and concentration. This she did for her whole life, even beyond retirement, and that is where we connect the faithfulness in the Bible. She was such a reliable and skilled worker, held in the highest esteem by all her workmates that the company supplied her with a machine to work at home. Her work was so important to Blanes that she continued for a further three years before finally retiring at 65. As well as her work, she dedicated much time to taking care of her sister, Amelia who requires dedicated and continuous care. A devout and faithful Catholic, Rosheen went to Mass daily until illness prevented her from attending. Rosheen always found time to come to the chores and do her little chores. She had great faith in St. Martin de Porres and continued to pray to him throughout her final days in the Newry Hospice. His statue overlooked her coffin.

Let us not be sentimental about illness. Illness robs us of independence, freedom of movement and increases dependence on others. For the last two years, it took its toll on Rosheen and her family, but she bore her illness with patience, fortitude and great courage, she never lost her ability to smile. The Parish has lost a great friend and benefactor and she will be sadly missed by those who knew her.

“A Rose may lose its bloom but still the fragrance lingers on.
A bird may fly away yet we can still recall its song.
So when someone who is loved departs to join the Lord above,
they’ll live and laugh and be with us in memories of love”

Rosheen’s name may never reach the desk of the President of Ireland or the First Minister at Stormont, but her name is indeed written in the Book Of Heaven.

Predeceased by her mother in 1979 and her father in 1983, Rosheen leaves behind Gerry in Canada, John, Kay and Amelia in Laurencetown.

The last lines of our first Reading are most suitable for Rosheen

“You are already filled with joy so glorious that it cannot be described, because you believe; and you are sure of the end to which your faith looks forward, that is, the salvation of your soul”

Eternal rest……………………………………




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