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In memory of Louise Donnan

In memory of Louise Donnan
1993 - 2022

Requiem Mass celebrated by Canon Gerry Powell

St. Patrick and St. Colman's Church, Laurencetown

14th August 2022

 

I welcome you to this funeral mass for Louise. We are praying today for all of you in your great loss. Death is always a shock; even more so when it’s the death of someone close to us who has died long before her time. 

 

We all come here to remember Louise, to give thanks, even in our grief, for her life, to offer each other, and especially those who will most miss her, the consolation of our love and our presence with you today; and to offer also the promise of eternal life.

 

Our consolation will be the happy memories we have of Louise; our sadness is that she has gone from us at a young age. Our sure Christian hope is that the Lord our God will welcome her home and that one day we will be united together in heaven. In the depth of our loss and hope we now pray and offer this Eucharist for Louise.

 

We come to God, knowing we need his mercy and forgiveness, and so in preparing to celebrate the Mass we call to mind our sins.

 

Lord, you suffered and died in our name. 
Lord have mercy.

 

Lord, your heart was moved with compassion for the sick and the bereaved. 
Christ have mercy.

 

Lord you suffer with your people at the right hand of the Father. 
Lord have mercy.

 

And may almighty God, have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to life everlasting.

 

Let us pray:

 

Almighty God and Father of all, you strengthen us by the mystery of the cross and with the sacrament of your Son’s resurrection. We pray for Louise -  grant her peace. Welcome her to the eternal joy of the kingdom and give us all new hope in our sorrow that one day we shall all be with you and with each other in your home where every tear will be wiped away. Grant, this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

HOMILY

 

“If only”…. Words we often use, but especially when we experience tragedy or great loss … like the sadness all of us experienced at the shocking news of this tragic passing of Louise. And we find the same sentiment expressed by Mary in the Gospel today. She says to Jesus:

 


“If only you were here this would not have happened”.

 

It’s a natural reaction. In life when we meet a situation of extreme frustration, as all tragedies are, we will find 2 very strong emotions – blame and guilt. Both are natural but neither is helpful. They are just expressions of the anger of frustration.

 

On an old headstone there are found these words: "death leaves a heartache that no one can heal but love leaves a memory that no one can steal." On this funeral day, we honour the memory of our loved one Louise who have gone before us in death. Today we lift her up in prayer to our Risen Lord. That we honour her by our prayers in an expression and a witness to our faith in the resurrection of the dead. As people of faith we believe that when our bodies lie in death, life is not ended but changed. It is through that change, we will live with God and we will live in God, seeing him face to face.

 

St Ambrose, An early father of the church, once said: We have loved our dead in life. Let us not abandon them in death until we have conducted them by our prayers into the house of God."

 

To grieve the death of a loved one is part of the human experience, even though death was not part of God's plan but came into the world as a consequence of sin. So anyone who has lost a loved one to death carries a heavy cross of grief. Grief is the pain of letting go. But no one should carry that cross alone.

 

As that sentiment expressed in that headstone says so well : While the heartache may remain, love leaves a memory no one can steal. So today we honour the memory of Louise. Today we offer our prayers for her. And with faith, we commend her to our merciful Lord. We invoke the prayerful intercession of Mary, Queen of Heaven saying : Hail holy Queen mother of Mercy… eternal rest grant unto him O Lord. May their souls and souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

 

Louise was born on 2nd February 1989 in Lisburn hospital

 

She Lived in Lisburn for a short while before moving to Gilford.

 

When she came the age of starting school she went to

 

St John’s Primary In Gilford before going onto attend St. Patrick’s in Banbridge.

 

Louise is the mother of two beautiful girls Katie and Sophie and she was always trying to protect them from any harm and, like any mother, was always very strict.

 

 Louse is the daughter of Margaret and Declan and sister to Leanne, Paula, Ciara, Adam, Jordon and Aaron

 

Louise was a great worker and took a lot of pride and pleasure in her job working for the Trust, out looking after the elderly and the disabled within the community and nothing was ever too much for her.

 

She spent a lot of her childhood in the family caravan in Donegal, getting up to all the mischief of the day, even on occasions climbing back in through the window just in time for Declan was heading out to work.

 

Louise had a great passion for Boxer dogs - she loved walking

 

her dog Tyson - she loved him, she loved listening to music and was always ready for a mug of tea.

 

Sadly, Louise has suffered over this last 3 years with ill health - seizures and constant headaches - resulting in hospital stays for periods of time. Her last seizure was only 5 weeks ago resulting in another hospital stay.

 

Unfortunately, her last seizure and the resulting Mental Health anguish she suffered have led us to where we are today.

 

We can look on this sudden death in different ways – A dark cloud, a moment of intense loneliness, and an experience we resist and don’t wish to speak about. You will all deal with it in your own individual way but can you see it as part of the outstretched hand of God’s support or the light beyond the cloud that is dark; or the companionship of Christ in this fearful moment of loneliness? Our faith tells us that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

 

Like St. Paul we carry our faith in earthen vessels and death can either shatter or deepen our faith. 

 

To be a Christian is to be a pilgrim on a spiritual journey. To be a pilgrim is to go along the way of faith, hope and love. The goal is certain – eternal life in Christ Jesus. But the way is often uncertain and at times we can lose our sense of direction and we forget how to live. I do not believe that Louise wanted to die, it’s just that in a moment of confusion. She forgot how to live.

 

 This is a time of sadness. We are sad today because we are gathered to mourn Louise and say our final farewell. We are here today to console you in your sadness by our presence, our prayers and our words of consolation. 

 


Today we leave all judgement to Almighty God. With whom there is mercy and fullness of redemption. In the funeral prayers we pray that he will “forgive any sin we committed through human frailty”. We also recall that God remembers the good that we have done and forgives our sins. In that spirit we pray today for Louise, remembering the words of Jesus from the cross:

 


“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”.

 

 In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all and it comes with bitter agony. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time.

 

– may we all have the courage to live our lives as best we can in the service of God and one another so that we may all share in the Risen life of Christ. Amen 

 

 May Mary the mother of God who buried her own son be with us to see the mind and the plan of God in our lives at this time.

A message from Sr. Bernadette Duffy

To Louise’s immediate and extended family circle

Today is a very sad day. A day that none of us want to face but life has presented us with a reality too big to embrace.
There are more questions on our hearts and in our minds than answers. Louise has completed her life’s journey now and is at home. No more suffering… no more pain.

It is for the rest of us to continue in hope and to trust in our merciful and loving God, especially when days are full of uncertainties and loss.

None of us can turn back the clock of time but we can all decide from now how we want to live the future. Please live it with hope and love.

My sincere and heartfelt prayers and thoughts are with you more than words can ever say.

Sr Bernadette Duffy

I share with you the words of Charlie Landsborough song… ‘You’re my Forever Friend’

Everybody needs a little help sometimes
For no one stands alone
It makes no difference if you're just a child
or a king upon a throne
For there are no exceptions
We all stand in the line
From darkest night to rainbow's end
and when our halos fail to shine
Everybody needs a friend… Jesus is your friend too

 

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