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In memory of Anna Doyle

Anna Doyle funeral leaflet                                                                        Anna Doyle

There is we know a time for mourning and a time for joy. These two emotions will surely find a place together in our hearts today. At the end of Anna’s long life it maybe that the need to praise God is uppermost in our minds because it is so clear how rich God’s blessings have been to her:
“My soul gives thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings”.

We are happy today because we know deep down that Anna’s life was complete and she was ready for God. We have received much from her – always generous and thoughtful – a lady. 

When we retire in life we do not retire to a place but to people. The lesson of old age is that of endurance and faith. In all our lives there are the valleys and the hills, the good times and the bad times, the successes and the failures, the joys and the sorrows. We are all given a certain number of years and those who live the longest become deeply aware that this time is not given so much for our enjoyment, but rather to work out our salvation.

Anna was born in Francis Street, Lurgan, the daughter of William and Ellen Hoy. She attended Sacred Heart Primary School before attending St. Michael’s Grammar School. After graduating from St. Mary’s Training College, she taught in Sisters of the Sacred Heart Primary in Lisburn for a short time. St. Colman’s Bann, Laurencetown was also lucky enough to have her expertise for a short spell and also St. Patrick’s College, Banbridge. Anna then became a permanent and much loved teacher in St. John’s from 1963 until her retirement in 1988. When St. John’s was mentioned to Anna, her face lit up and nothing pleased her more than when ex-pupils stopped with her and shared their stories with her. Her heart and soul remained in St. John’s.

Anna met Vincent at a dance in St. Joseph’s Hall Lurgan and they married on 23rd July 1957. With their three children, they were a very close and loving family.

Anna had many hobbies, gardening being top of the list with her love of cooking, music, reading and antiques. She was a great baker and would have given Mary Berry a run for her money!

She was a regular visitor to the Gaeltacht in her younger days. She loved the Irish language and she and the late Pat MacFlynn had great craic. Teaching was her passion. For most of her career she taught Primary 1 and then for number of years before retirement, she taught Primary 6. Anna took the choir in St. John’s and at Christmas time, they set off round the area singing carols. She also taught the children needlework and art.

As farming family, holidays didn’t feature much, but for their 40th wedding anniversary, Anna and Vincent went to Rome and they had a wonderful time – so much so that the entire family returned there for the Golden Jubilee. With all of Anna’s talents, her pride, joy and greatest love was reserved for her family – she was a truly wonderful and devoted wife, mother and grandmother. Her precious grandchildren became her world in later years.

As a member of a very caring profession Anna is a great proof that Jesus the teacher is still alive and working among us, among the poor, the lame, the terminally ill, the overlooked and the forgotten – always a faithful servant with an attentive heart – the constant pilgrim companion of the young.
Anna set the example for other younger teachers to follow as someone who was very hospitable and performed quiet acts of charity without any fuss for those less fortunate.
We thank her for all her care and understanding and her complete generosity as a loving person and dedicated teacher. Holding a vigil for Anna you have shared memories of who she was and what she meant to you. We mourn her passing, we cherish her memory. Above all you have remembered the humanity of a good person. Today as we gather in sorrow to remember Anna a burden of pain, a burden of loss, a burden of grief weighs heavily on us all. We gather as a community - our presence here today is our way of reaching out to her loving family.
Anna was totally devoted to you all –she was a rock.

We pray that she is with the Lord and we look forward to the day when we will be reunited with her.
Easter follows Good Friday. Christ’s resurrection assures us that if we follow him we will rise again. It is only with death that life really makes sense, it’s our leap into eternity, it is God calling us home to be with him forever. At a time like this we come face to face with our own mortality. 
I’m sure her mind must have strayed back all those years ago to the classrooms where she taught to the faces of the children who sat in the desks and listened to Mrs Doyle. No more worry about the uncompleted curriculum, just a little concern did everything turn out alright for them? Where are they now? Upon hearing of her death many will value their education under her and will look back on it and value it as a wonderful experience in living, in forming friendships, in learning to get on with other people.
Today we shed tears for Anna but our tears have a healing effect. Today we no longer cling on but let her go to be with the Lord forever.

She brought love, care and friendship to those who knew her. Always faithful to her Church, prayer and fidelity to the mass and the sacraments were second nature to her. She died at home on Thursday morning - her strength could no longer meet the challenge of life.
Now we have to let Anna go. As the poet said the parish is down a good lady. Her life gave glory to God. And now she has stretched out her tired old hands for the last time and God has taken hers to himself. Let us pray with hope and gratitude for the eternal rest of this valiant lady and join again in prayer: “My soul give thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings”.
Let us celebrate her homecoming, with thanks to God for her long life, for the example her faith gives us; for the lessons that we learned from her about living well and dying well.
On behalf of our parish community I offer our sympathy to her loving husband Vincent, daughter Fionnuala, sons Dennis and Leo, son in law, grandchildren Aidan, Diarmid and Ellen, sister Stella and brothers Harry and Colum, Fr. Leo who is joining us from Auckland, New Zealand, via the church webcam and the entire family circle




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