Sr. Maureen O’Flanagan R.I.P.
Sr. Maureen O’Flanagan died peacefully in the wonderful care of the Sisters and staff in St. John of God Convent, College Road, Kilkenny, on February 22nd 2015, just fifteen days before her ninetieth birthday.
She was the eldest of five children born to Joseph and Mary Josephine (nee Egan) O’Flanagan on 09/03/1925 in Clooncrawfield, Loughlynn, Co. Roscommon. Following her education in Cloonboniffe and Granlahan primary schools (taught by her grandmother and mother!) and the Mercy Secondary school in Roscommon, she entered St. John of God Novitiate in Wexford on the 02/10/1943 and made her final Profession there on 26/08/1949.
She began her teaching ministry in Fishponds in 1945 and then moved to Edenderry in 1948. In 1949 she was transferred to Kilkenny, where she spent the remaining years of her religious life. Sixty six years in the same locality was a unique occurrence in the Congregation.
Her first great love was music and having completed her Licentiate with the London College of Music, she began her choral and instrumental teaching in St. John of God School. She also gave private tuition for students up to Junior Certificate. Her music ministry in school was central to her life and enriched the lives of so many young people. They were only too eager to testify at her funeral obsequies how her beautiful choirs and orchestras and liturgical celebrations helped to heal broken hearts and troubled souls. Maureen always endeavoured to reach the brokenness and deprivation in people’s lives in a quiet sensitive way, lest notoriety would marginalize them even further. Hence she exercised her great skill of letter writing to bring comfort, support and consolation to those suffering in any way, especially the bereaved and more particularly families bereaved by suicide or tragedy. Having achieved her diploma in liturgy, scripture, church music and gregorian chant she immersed herself in church music and the liturgical life of the parish. Professionalism, commitment and compassion characterised her life.
She was noted for her great love of everything Irish – its culture, people, places and language. She loved to pray in Irish in the silence of her room. Her spirituality was as broad as it was deep, but Celtic spirituality always got pride of place.
Maureen read incessantly from every genre of literature and as a result she had a broad knowledge of world history, politics, religions and cultures, which made conversations with her engaging, stimulating, challenging, and sometimes argumentative! She was blessed with a wonderful sharp, shrewd intellect which remained intact right up to her death.
On the 25th February, 2015 her funeral liturgy was celebrated in St. Patrick’s Church Kilkenny, where she had played the organ for almost fifty years. Though her organ playing was now silent, her music was very much alive as the voices of her choirs, past students, family and congregation paid tribute in thanksgiving, tears and praise for her much-appreciated legacy.
The chief celebrant was Fr. Roderick Whearty and the concelebrants were Fr. Dan Carroll, Fr. Ray Liddane and Fr. Eamon O’Gorman.
Maureen is survived by her sister Anne O’Sullivan andher brother Mícháel. She was predeceased by her brother Seán and her twin brother Éamon. She loved her family dearly and they held her in the highest esteem and respect.
She was laid to rest in Foulkstown cemetery.
Solas na bhFlaithis ar a hanam uasal dílis.
Ni bheidh a leitéid ann arís.