Obituary - Sister Mary Fatima Kiely
Sr. Mary Fatima Kiely who died recently, spent 70 years in religious life as a member of the Presentation Sisters and the Adoration Convent in Wexford.
Born and reared in Tankardstown, Bansha, County Tipperary, she joined the Presentation at the age of 17 and worked with the order in Thurles, County Tipperary and in England and Scotland before eventually opting for the contemplative life and joining the Adoration Sisters.
Aged 88 years, Sr. Mary passed away on December 29 in Abbeygale Nursing where she became a resident two years ago after her health and her eyesight began to fail.
Burial took place in the Adoration Convent cemetery on New Year's Eve following funeral Mass in Bride Street Church concelebrated by Fr. Aodhán Marken ADM with Bishop Denis Brennan presiding.
The eldest of nine children of the late Brigid and Patrick Kiely, she is survived by her sisters Bridget, Monica, Ina and Theresa; her sister-in-law Róisín Kiely; her brother-in-law Francis Breen; her nieces and nephews; grandnieces and grandnephews; her extended family and friends and members of the Adoration community.
She was predeceased by her sisters Ann, Mary and Josephine and by her brother John.
Entering the Presentation Order in December 1949, Sr. Mary was a member of the community for 36 years. She served in Thurles where her duties included driving a school minibus and teaching music as well as working as an infirmarian, caring for sick and infirm members of the order.
Sr. Mary served as a Presentation Parish Sister in Corsham in Wiltshire in England and also in other parishes in Scotland and in Guernsey.
Later choosing a more enclosed life, she decided to join the Adoration Sisters in Wexford in 1986 and spent the rest of her life based in the convent.
She was gifted with her hands, especially when it came to embroidery, sewing and leather work and was an asset to the enclosed order, spending many hours in the work room helping to make clerical vestments and altar cloths and also in the convent's clothing room where the nuns' habits are made.
During 32 years in the Adoration Convent, Sr. Mary was much-loved by local people in the community whom she came to know through her role as convent portress, answering the door and telephone to callers. She also served as infirmarian with the order.
In his Homily, Fr. Marken said the congregation came together in grief to acknowledge 'the loss of someone very special and beautiful, the loss of someone who wasn't prepared to sit and allow life pass her by but who saw the challenge and tried to make a difference'.
He said that after joining the Convent of Perpetual Adoration, Sr. Mary became a loving and respected member of the community, with the gentle lilt of her Tipperary accent and the smile that was uniquely hers, endearing her to so many people.
Fr. Marken said that before her eyesight and her health failed, Sr. Mary was a most gifted individual who carried out her needle work and embroidery in an act of loving service.
'Ultimately, her life was one of service which is the true call for any person who dedicates their life to God. To enter a life of dedication and service requires great strength and inner resolve, the ability to focus not on my own needs but on the greater needs of those around', said Fr. Marken.
'Service is love made visible. And that in essence was the reality and the true calling of his gentle, kind, thoughtful, intelligent and dedicated lady'.