WARM tributes have been paid to a highly respected member of the Presentation Order who devoted so much of her long life to the education and welfare of children in Killarney.
St Paschal (Maureen) Hegarty, who passed away on Thursday in Killarney Nursing Home, was laid to rest in Kilsinane Cemetery, in her native Listowel, this Friday following Requiem Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney.
The principal celebrant was her first cousin, Fr Martin Hegarty, formerly of the parish of Killarney and retired since 2011, and he was joined by Bishop Ray Browne, Bishop Emeritus Bill Murphy and Fr Niall Howard.
St Paschal’s first cousin, Bishop Eddie Carmody, who is Bishop Emeritus in the Diocese of Corpus Christi in Texas, couldn’t attend due to international travel restrictions but he assured the Hegarty family of his prayerful support.
St Paschal, who was aged 96, had spent the past 11 years in Killarney Nursing Home where she was expertly cared for.
Educated in Lixnaw National School and later cycling to and from secondary school in Listowel, on a daily basis, Maureen Hegarty joined the Presentation Order iwhen, with 10 others, she entered the novitiate in Oakpark, Tralee.
She later transferred to the convent in Killarney and, such was the high level of vocations at the time, there were 19 nuns there.
Taking the name Sr Paschal, she adapted well to her life in the community and she was a hugely valued member of staff in the Presentation where she earned the respect of her fellow sisters, staff at the school and all the pupils she helped to educate and prosper over many years.
“Her pupils were her family,” Fr Hegarty told the congregation in St Mary’s Cathedral.
Sr Paschal was appointed bursar in the school in Killarney and she was also responsible for running the busy convent kitchen and supervising the lay staff.
“She took a great interest in their welfare and she was very loyal to them as they were to her,” Fr Hegarty added.
Sr Paschal loved to travel and she visited family and friends in Portugal, San Francisco, Texas and all parts of the UK but her favourite overseas trip was a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
The congregation as the Requiem Mass also heard that Sr Paschal loved driving and did so until she reached her 80s but her doctor became very unpopular when he couldn’t see fit to sign the appropriate documents to allow her to retain her driving licence.
In a moving eulogy, St Paschal’s sister, Nora, recalled a woman who was the essence of kindness and generosity and her giving nature and hospitality were legendary.
“Maureen was outgoing and fun-loving with a tremendous empathy for people. She never uttered an unkind word about anyone and she had an unequalled capacity for forgiveness,” she said of her eldest sister who, she added, was blessed with the spirit of wisdom.
Predeceased by her sisters Annie, Elizabeth and Sr Kathleen and her brother Martin, Sr Paschal is survived by her sisters, Sr Martina, Sheila (Carey), Nora (Hurley) and Teresa (D’Arcy), brother-in-law, sister-in-law, nieces, nephews, grand nieces, grand nephews, many other relatives and friends and the Presentation Sisters community and many dear friends.
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