The funeral Mass for Carmel, celebrated in Subiaco Convent Chapel, was attend by family members, a large gathering of Sisters and friends, as well as the management and staff from Safety Bay Retreat & Conference Centre where Carmel had ministered for the past two years. Fr Patrick Lim, a long-time friend of Carmel’s, was the chief celebrant of the Mass, assisted by Fr Liam Keating, a native of Carmel’s home parish of Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry, Monsignor Brian O’Loughlin and Fr Tadgh Tierney O.D.C. Carmel’s niece, Kathy-Ann, shared the Eulogy, (read below). May Carmel’s gentle spirit rest in peace.
Eulogy for Aunty Carmel – delivered by Kathy-Ann
On Monday my mother and I were admiring the beautiful stained glass window of St.Therese, holding her roses in her arms, when we were summoned to the bedside of Aunt Carmel, just in time to be with her as she passed away. William Shakespeare has said “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
The name of our rose was Sr. Carmel O’Shea. Our sweet rose, Aunt Carmel, sprouted to life on July 26, 1940. Although she was born in England, her heart was always in Ireland with her family- whom she loved.
Carmel was raised in Co. Kerry, Ireland by her beloved parents, Patrick and Bridie O’Shea. She was the eldest of eight children, five girls and three boys and she was the pride and joy of her family. This sweet rose of ours was nurtured, pruned and cultivated in a loving, faith filled family with roots deep in Irish soil.
As roses begin to bud, they turn towards the light of the Sun. As Carmel grew and began to bud, she turned toward the light of Christ. God’s love for her and her desire to serve her God, filled her heart. So much so that at the tender age of 15, this budding, young girl answered God’s call to serve and she left the family and land that she loved so much to plant roots in a new land and serve Him with the Sisters of St. John of God in Australia. Here, in the convent, she came into full bloom.
Always smart and eager to learn, Aunt Carmel completed her studies and became a nurse. In this service, she was instrumental in the budding of new life through her role as a midwife. How fortunate these infants were to begin life with the touch of her loving hand, a true instrument of God’s love! She cared for many patients both young and old throughout her vocation, bringing them comfort, hope and love.
This beautiful rose of ours, was part of many gardens both here in Australia with her loving community of sisters, (at Subiaco, Belmont, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Ballarat Bunbury, Murdoch, Subi Convent and Safety Bay),and with her extended family across the seas. Aunt Carmel tenderly cared for every flower in each of her gardens. These gardens of her life included her brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand nephews, friends and companions and all who entered the retreat house in Safety Bay. She tended these gardens of hers through devoted and unending prayer; memorable and endearing visits; thoughtful and inspiring letters; timely and uplifting cards; and reliable and faithful phone calls. We will miss these dearly.
A rose does not grow without experiencing thorns in life. Aunt Carmel has known the sorrow and pain of loss; the heartache of separation from those she loved and the desperation to help those beyond her reach. In the end, our vibrant rose experienced the thorn of physical pain herself, but Carmel, this radiant rose of ours, was able to rise above the thorns of life through her devotion, trust and faith in the Lord’s plan. She was an example to us all.
God, in His divine mercy, rewarded this precious daughter of His with a beautiful final journey into His loving arms, clutching in her hands a rosary and a perfectly, fully bloomed rose. Surrounded and embraced by her loving family and devoted Sisters in Christ, God picked this exceptional rose, Sr. Carmel O’Shea, from His earthly garden on May 9, 2016 and planted her in the rich soil of His heavenly garden to watch over us.
Please, remember Carmel always, especially when you see a rose in bloom. Stop and appreciate it. That rose will be her looking down upon you and helping you to plant strong roots and cultivate your life’s garden, and most importantly to rise above life’s thorns.
My mother and I thank God that through His grace, we were able to be here to see Aunt Carmel before she died. We were able to deliver messages of love, thanks and good-bye for family members who longed to be here, but couldn’t. We all loved her so much. Our entire family is eternally grateful to the Sisters of St. John of God, nurses and staff for the exceptional care and love they have bestowed upon our precious rose, Carmel. We will never, ever forget it and will keep all of you in our prayers always. My loving rose rest in peace. Amen.