Sister Patricia Murphy
1921 - 2016
Born: 6th January 1939
Entered Religious Life: 3rd February 1975
Died: 22nd April 2016
The eulogy given at Sr Patricia's funeral Mass by Sr Rita Dawson, Provincial of the English/Scottish Province
I would like to acknowledge Patricia’s brother Gerard, her sister Nan and sister-in-law, Margaret, together with nieces, nephews and cousins who are here with us today.
Sr Patricia was born in Yoker/Clydebank, one of 14 children to Alice and Francis Murphy. This must have been a very lively household with plenty of fun and games.
Sr Patricia worked from the age of 15 and was employed in the same pharmacy for 21 years. She was the last to leave home.
Sr Patricia entered the Religious Sisters of Charity in 1975 when she was 36 years old. She described it as a hard time leaving her mother. Her father had died in 1970 and her mother died in 1976, just 1 year after she entered religious life.
Patricia started her religious life in Kilkenny working in Child-care for 13 years. She moved to Donnybrook in 1990, before setting off to Zambia in 1991. Zambia meant everything to Patricia and she spent almost 18 years there. She was heartbroken when she was not able to return. Sr Patricia retired to Airdrie in 2009 following ill health.
Before entering religious life, Patricia was a really good netball player and became a coach and umpire. Her team, St Peter's, won many trophies and she was well respected by the Scottish Netball Association. Several of Patricia’s nieces played netball and were also on her team.
Patricia was great fun to be with, she loved singing and dancing and she played the bodhran (a traditional Irish drum). At family gatherings she would be up at the microphone singing and would join in all the dances. She had a great sense of humour. Her niece Alice describes her as a bit of a Maria from The Sound of Music.
During her holidays, Sr Patricia spent her time at home with her sister May. All of May's children grew up around her. Patricia really loved children, she loved being around children all the time.
Sr Patricia had an invincible spirit, nothing got her down. She never complained in spite of her poor health and disabilities and would want to take on things – sometimes taking on tasks which were way beyond her physical capabilities.
She had great joy from simple things like sitting in the sun or walking, or sitting down to have a cup of tea! She was a gentle, gracious woman appreciative of everything that was done for her. Even in the midst of her own struggles, she would always ask you how you were.
Pope Francis talked yesterday about the Good Samaritan. He said “let us never forget, we cannot stand by as onlookers when you see so many people worn out by hunger, violence and injustice’. He called on each one of us to become Good Samaritans in our everyday lives because to ignore man’s suffering, means to ignore God. He reminded us of the parable of the Levite and the Priest who walked by the man who had been attacked by thieves and lay on the side of the road. Their inaction was contrary to the law of the Lord. The law obliges us to help everyone in distress. Compassion is an essential characteristic of God’s mercy and in the gestures and actions of the Good Samaritan, we recognise the action of God’s mercy throughout history. It is the same compassion with which God encounters each of us never ignoring us, He recognises our pain. He knows when we need help and consolation. He comes close and never abandons us. Like Jesus, we can become close to anyone who is needing our help.
To live, as Patricia did, in total commitment to her vocation, and to endure what she has endured over the last couple of years, and then to die so calmly and bravely, is in fact the equivalent to having lived a very full life. It shows it is not the length of life that matters but the intensity and quality of it. It is not so much death that frightens people but a life without meaning. Certainly Patricia’s life was full of meaning and she was indeed a Good Samaritan to so many people during her life. We now know she has gone to the God she has loved and served during her time in this world.
I should like to thank Father Raymond Breslin and all of the clergy here today for giving so much of your time to be here with us on this sad occasion. Our grateful thanks to Dr Gordon Canning and his Palliative Care Team at St Andrew’s Hospice and to all the staff there for their lovely care of Sr Patricia in her final journey.
I had two messages one from Nigeria and the from Zambia which I would like to read. They said
“Patricia was a very good community Sister. May she rest in peace.”
“We are indeed losing a great woman who has done us proud with her dedication and humble service to God’s people. May her gentle soul rest in peace.”
May Patricia now Rest In Peace.