Farewell to 'princess who lived to help others'
Published 03/11/2011 | 05:00
"SHE was our princess, our mother figure." A simple tribute to a life devoted to helping others.
More than 300 close family and friends packed the small chapel at Our Lady's Hospice in Harold's Cross, Dublin, yesterday, to pay their final respects to Celia Ferrer de Jesus, one of two people who died in last week's flash floods.
The 58-year-old mother of one was found dead after emergency services pumped water out of her basement flat in Crumlin, south Dublin.
Fighting back the tears, Miguel Esmande, who travelled with Celia to Ireland in search of a better life more than a decade ago, paid tribute to a lifelong friend.
"There is a time and season for everything; a time to be born, a time to die. She wanted to provide a comfortable life for her family in the Philippines. She built a house in the Philippines and bought a car for her family. Celia worked hard for them.
"She planned to be reunited with her family for good when she retired and move back home to be with them. She had lots of dreams and wishes -- but suddenly tragedy struck last Monday,'' he said.
Ten years ago, Celia, along with eight friends, arrived on these shores.
She secured work at Our Lady's Hospice as a nurse during a national recruitment drive that attracted many staff from the Philippines, working in the rheumatology rehabilitation unit.
Celia, who was recently granted Irish citizenship, was planning to return home for Christmas to visit her husband Angelito -- who had worked in Ireland as a care worker until losing his job -- and their 19-year-old son Michael Kevin.
After yesterday's Requiem Mass, a guard of honour comprising workmates and friends lined the entrance to the hospice in the steady rain as Celia began her long journey home.
Her remains will be flown to the Philippines today.