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In memory of Mrs. Frances Gorman

In memory of Mrs. Frances Gorman

06.12.1923 - 07.01.2023 

Celebrant: Fr. Des Loughran

St. John's Church, Gilford

It is never easy to give anyone back to God, let alone someone whom we have greatly loved and for a long time and we gather here today in support of the Gorman family as the time-span of Frances’s life has now been completed.

Frances just goes home to heaven while we live on here on earth until it comes our time to be with her again and in God’s own time He will re-unite all of us again in his mansion of many rooms as Jesus tells us about in the Gospel.

We have no need to fear for Frances or for ourselves because God’s love for us is so immense, but to truly know and live that love we have to leave here first and Frances does that today and we will assist her with our prayers.

Presentation of life Gifts/ A flavour of Frances:

Just like each of us, Frances had her wee faults and failings. So, for Frances’s and for our own faults and failings too, let us ask God’s forgiveness as we pray…

Frances was a loving mother of ten children, five boys and five girls. She was a grandmother, a great grandmother, a great, great grandmother, a sister, an aunt and a friend who will be sorely missed.

Frances was born on the 6th of December 1923 to Joseph and Catherine Hyland, the second child of five, on Scarva Street in Banbridge above her father’s butcher’s shop.

Named Frances Josephine after her father who was Joseph Francis she was a lifelong “daddy’s girl”.

Her childhood was spent with her sisters Winnie, Kathleen, Maura and brother John who all grew up in Banbridge and Ballyvarley.

Frances attended school in Ballyvarley before attending The Sacred Heart in Newry. She made many lifelong friends who she stayed in contact with until the end of their lives.

At school she excelled academically and while at the Sacred Heart gained the highest mark in the diocese in her RE exam.

Her love of music and singing started in the school choir and singing with them at Newry Feis. She remembered hymns and enjoyed singing them up until the end of her life the words never leaving her.

Frances talked fondly of her childhood and she had a large extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins who would all make regular trips from Liverpool, Dublin and Belfast to visit over the years.

When she was about 6 years old her uncle Gus tried to cure her love of Eccles cakes by providing a full suitcase of them for her. She ate them all which didn’t induce illness but only re-enforced her lifelong love of Eccles cakes.

She reminisced about bike rides from Ballyvarley to Armagh with her sisters and having to count the Cathedral steps to prove to her mummy they had cycled all the way. As a teenager they were sent on their bikes to Dundalk to bring back sugar and butter hiding it under their clothes

On leaving school during the second world war Frances had hoped to be a nurse and train at the Rotunda hospital in Dublin but a romance with her husband Jack intervened and Frances joined the Civil Service working in the food ration office in Belfast.

Frances met her husband Jack in her mother’s shop on the Blue Road in Ballyvarley. They married in 1942 during the Second World War and they moved to Chester where Jack worked. She enjoyed living in Chester where their first child Robert was born.

After the birth of Robert, Frances and Jack returned to Kernan to be with family.

In 1948 Frances and Jack moved to Gilford. They were delighted to get a brand-new house with electricity, running water and a Raeburn. It was the house she decided to spend the rest of her life in and bring up her ten children. She was never happier than when her house was full of her children, their friends, and numerous pets canaries, cats, dogs and on one occasion for a short period of time a piglet.

Despite many offers from her mother, sisters and later her children to move to England she resolutely refused as she loved Gilford and Ireland. She did enjoy visiting her family in Liverpool and York but was always happy to return to Ireland.

She was happiest when in her blue house in Gilford. Frances loved the colour blue. She lived on the Blue Road in Ballyvarley. She enjoyed the fact that her painted blue house in Gilford had become a noticeable landmark. She was very proud of her home being old fashioned and had a story for how she acquired each piece of furniture. Keeping her home unchanged kept her memories alive.

Frances loved living in Woodlands where she had good neighbours and many friends over the years.

A special lifelong friend Maryrose Murphy was a single lady who Frances cared for in her final months and days. Frances was a good caring friend to many who predeceased her.

Over the years,when she could, she became involved in the Gilford community, playing bowls, joining the Lourdes committee and joining Gilford Together where she discovered a talent for art. She painted many pictures before her vision started to fail.

She was a keen seamstress making her own curtains, her clothes and her children’s clothes too. Making sure everyone was well dressed was important to her, always stepping out looking your best was a golden rule. She wore her high heels until her mobility wouldn’t allow it any more but she never gave up her hats, claiming over the years she had saved a fortune on hairdressers. She enjoyed cooking and believed in a healthy natural diet, making sure a big pot of soup was on the stove on a Saturday night for those who had been out at dances to have when they came home. She had remedies that she liked to pass on including egg nogg and beef tea. These were her remedies to cure all ills.

Frances loved to talk and had a lovely sense of fun. She was proud of the achievements of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great, great, grandchildren too.

She travelled twice to Lourdes to help with the sick which was hard work but she found it rewarding.

One of her most memorable holidays was a diocesan trip to Italy and to visit the shrine of Padre Pio and to Assisi the home of Saint Frances .

In her late eighties she went on a family cruise but only chose it because the cruise ship visited Ireland. When she told the story she knew it would make people laugh and wonder why she went on a cruise to Ireland. This was an opportunity to visit places in Ireland she had never been to.

She was generous in so many ways. She loved to meet up for a meal and treat friends and family, always keen to give little children gifts of money. No shopping trip was complete without her buying whoever she accompanied a thoughtful gift.

In 2016 a combined love of her old school and devotion to St Francis of Assisi a statue of St Francis of Assisi was commissioned at her request for use in the St Francis Hall in the Sacred Heart school. She was hospitable and loved to have family and friends visiting, always offered a bed for them to stay in and delighted when they accepted. Her most generous gift was her time, the time she gave to care for others is what we will miss the most.

Frances’s and Jack’s lives were not easy raising a large family, made worse by the poor health and disability of some of their children. Jack always called her “ a great wee woman” Wee being a good description for her, being under 5ft tall.

Frances was widowed at 56. After Jack’s death, Frances took on a part time job at the Parochial House in Gilford looking after Fr Oliver Mooney for twelve years, which she loved and only stopped due to her health.

Although Frances never trained as a nurse her life of caring began when Gervase contracted meningitis at 18 months old and due to her care he survived though she was broken hearted he was left deaf. She nursed Raymond when diagnosed with a heart murmur as a child.

Her father moved to Gilford when the rest of the family went to Liverpool and she looked after him for the next 20 years until the end of his life.

When her son Tony was ill she became, in her seventies, his carer and looked after him for many years. She was devastated by his death and never recovered from it, even when her memory started to leave her she was aware of and mourned his loss.

Although her son Gervase was deaf he led an independent active life, she always worried about his safety, health and happiness.

He was a constant in her life they loved and cared about each other. It is a blessing she never knew of his passing in 2019.

Frances cared for her daughter Bernadette for 50 years and after Jack died cared for her singlehandedly until her memory deteriorated in her nineties. At this point her physical health also declined. She rarely had a break from her carer role.

Frances and Bernadette had a shared interest in fashion and Frances opened a lady’s clothes shop called ‘Franettes’ in Banbridge where they worked together. Frances primarily opened the shop to provide Bernadette with a purpose and a role. She dedicated most of her later life to Bernadette’s care, caring for her at home.

For long periods the seriousness of Bernadette’s illness put a huge strain and stress on her. Later as Bernadette’s condition improved Bernadette came to appreciate how much her mummy had done for her and as Frances’s health deteriorated they became devoted to each other until Bernadette’s death in 2022. Her stoicism, single-mindedness and caring nature and personality saw her through difficult times in her life.

At the onset of her illness, she was aware of her memory deteriorating and knew what lay ahead.

She was brave, resolute and accepting of this. She was helped by her strong faith. She bore her illness with dignity, strength and humour.

From the age of 92, due to her failing health, Frances finally accepted help for herself and Bernadette.

Since that time, she has had a team of wonderful carers who have been devoted to her. When she was hospitalised on many occasions, her carer Jackie, stayed at her bedside day and night to make sure she was looked after. Their care never wavered. They even moved in with Frances during the Covid Pandemic to keep her and Bernadette safe.

At the end of her life many memories faded but not those of her mother, father, sisters and brother.

Talking about them gave her great comfort. Through it all, Frances’s sense of humour never failed nor did her love for her children, her family and her faith.

Frances touched and improved the lives of so many others. Her influence of family values lives on.

She spent her life trying to be a good woman but, as Jack said, “She was a great wee woman”.

And today we give Frances back to God. Her time for rest has come. 99 years is a long, long time to be here and we perform our last Christian act of kindness for Frances, that of laying her body to rest in Mother Earth and she will keep her safe there until God our loving Father calls her home to be with him forever in heaven.

And until it comes out time to be with Frances again, let us simply pray… Eternal rest…

I would just like to take a little moment to offer my sympathies to Frances’s children: Robert, Raymond, Anne, Mary, Kathleen, Joseph and Frances and also to her sons and daughters-in-law of: Susie, Margaret, Peter, Seamus, Carol and Tony and to all her grand- children ,great grand-children, great, great grand- children, her neighbours and friends and to all her Carers who looked after her so diligently.




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