Sister Mary Mel Murphy
1927 - 2016
Born: 22nd March 1927
Entered Religious Life: 8th September 1945
Died: 1st December 2016
Homily given by Fr. Roderick Whearty at Sr. Mel's Requiem Mass
As we gather here today to celebrate the life of Sr. Mel we take the opportunity to reflect on a life well lived; a life lived out in response to God's Call, a life of witness, commitment and faith. Today we give thanks to God for Sr. Mel who all her life gave herself completely to the service of the gospel, in her community and to the wider community in which she served.
Sr. Mel's story began way back in 1917 in Loughrea Co. Galway - growing up in a very different world, a very different time and environment. With her siblings, there she learned, in the family home what it meant to be a Christian - a true Christian in the world. And at the very tender age of eighteen she entered the Sisters of Charity in 1945 willing to dedicate the rest of her life to serving God by serving her brothers and sisters. And so began a lifelong faith journey, a lifelong commitment to the Order of the Sisters of Charity and above all, a lifelong commitment to God whom she has served so faithfully all of those years. These days I suppose most eighteen year olds are not willing or indeed expected to make such life changing decisions and yet Sr. Mel like many of her time was willing to commit the rest of her life in the service of the Gospel. In so doing she made a great sacrifice. Because in that one decision, she chose to sacrifice any possibility of marriage or children, she sacrificed the opportunity to follow other career paths that may have been open to her.
To make such an important choice in her life Sr. Mel must surely have been inspired by Mary Aikenhead and encouraged by the ideals and values of the Religious Sisters of Charity to 'bring God's love and compassion to those who are most in need'. And wherever she was, whether in Cathal Brugha Street, where she learned her skills in catering, or in Milltown where she spent forty years, or in Temple Street, Mel's commitment never wavered. In a modern world when instant gratification is so often the order of the day, when it is almost impossible for anyone to make a long-term commitment - we can only be inspired and encouraged by this woman from Galway who made that life decision and commitment all those years ago and remained faithful to the very end.
Having lived that life of commitment for so many years and when perhaps it was time for Sr. Mel to slow down she moved to St. Patrick's here in Kilkenny. After a life time of giving and serving it was her time now to be served and to be taken care of. I know that the staff on the Kills Road looked after her so well and I know she loved being there. She will be missed by all the staff and her sisters in community there. Her good humour and her gratitude for the smallest kindness shown her is an example to us all.
Last Wednesday [30th Nov] I went to anoint Sr. Mel and I have to say, that she was so peaceful and calm and so well taken care of, she was ready to go. It was her time and we can be confident today that after a life time of service, commitment and faithfulness she will now be rewarded for all the good she did throughout her life. Though we will miss her we would not even in our sadness, deny her the rich rewards she so well deserves.
May she rest in peace.