Wednesday 21 February 2018

Little Maja (5) who died just days after starting junior infants hailed as school's 'newest saint in heaven'

Heartbreaking scenes marked the Mass of the Angels of Maja Glowacka (5) who died after suddenly falling ill at her Cork home.

Maja Glowacka (5) who died earlier this week from a suspected infection just days after starting school
Maja Glowacka (5) who died earlier this week from a suspected infection just days after starting school
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A five year old girl who died from suspected sepsis just days after starting school was hailed as an Irish community's newest saint in Heaven.

Heartbreaking scenes marked the Mass of the Angels of Maja Glowacka (5) who died on September 12 after suddenly falling ill at her Cork home.

The mourners were led by Maja's devastated parents, Krzystof and Iwona, as well as her older brother, Mikolaj (8), as youngsters from Scoil Mhuire Naofa in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork paid an emotional tribute to their little classmate.

Students clad in the school's grey and wine uniforms formed a guard of honour for little Maja as her cortege passed along the Main Street from Scoil Mhuire Naofa to St Mary's Church.

Maja had only started junior infants just days before her death.

The school choir, comprised of Mikolaj's friends in second class, sang at the special Mass which was organised by the Carrigtwohill community before Maja's remains are flown back to her parents' native Poland.

Scoil Mhuire Naofa officials had ensured that all classes from first to sixth year were involved in the Mass.

Tributes to Maja at the altar included soft toys, photos, her new school materials and six light blue balloons.

Carrigtwohill Parish Priest Rev Bill Bermingham said Maja's death had cast a dark shadow of sadness over the east Cork community.

"It cast a shadow over hope," he said.

"All (their) hopes are dashed - all those dreams are shattered.

"There is a sadness (over losing a child) which only those who have gone through it themselves can understand.

"They have to give back their beloved daughter, Maja, to God. Today, they entrust her back to the Lord of Life.

"It breaks their hearts to do so. No words can ease that pain.

"But the words of Jesus our Saviour can offer hope. Today, for Maja, all hope is fulfilled.

"All that she could ever have become is made perfect in the presence of God.

"A good and loving God will not allow hope to die.

"From her place in Heaven she will smile on you often and make you smile again.

"That is the power of a child's love. It is a power which cannot die.

"Maja will always be remembered in a special way as one of the first group of girls in the school.

"Scoil Mhuire Naofa now has its own girl saint in Heaven," he told mourners.

School principal Anne Marie Moylan vowed that Maja will always remain a treasured part of the school family.

It is the second blow to hit the Polish family with Krzystof having been diagnosed with cancer a number of years ago.

However, he has since successfully battled the condition.

Sofia Lankiewicz, a friend of the Glowacka family, said the family have been in Cork for almost 10 years and have been overwhelmed by the incredible support they have received within the community.

"She (Maja) was a beautiful, joyous girl," she said.

"Maja just started junior infants and last weekend she was just playing at a birthday party."

"Her illness - it was very sudden. She just got a high fever. I know her mother managed to bring it down but then her condition started to get worse."

"She was getting weaker. Her nails and lips were turning blue so they ran to South Doc."

Maja died despite desperate efforts to stabilise her condition as she was rushed by paramedics to a Cork hospital.

It was initially thought the little girl had contracted meningitis and an advisory notice was issued as a precaution by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

However, it is not now believed that Maja had meningitis but, rather, that she contracted a form of sepsis.

A medical investigation into the precise cause of the child's death remains ongoing.

A file will be prepared for the Cork coroner.

Another family friend, Agnieska Lowas, set up a GoGetFunding page with the aim of raising €2,000 to help the Polish family with funeral costs and foreign travel expenses.

Incredibly, within 14 hours it had exceeded its goal by 400pc and had raised €8,300.

The fund has since soared to more than €20,000.

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