Dolly (Marmion) Wall
March 19th, 1906 - January 10th, 1989 - March 19th, 2006
Dolly joined her beloved Christo in January '89, 28 years after his passing on. In Toronto, we celebrated her life with a very special Mass that brought family and friends together to pray, sing, reminisce and remember a beautiful mother, gentle granny and special friend. Thank you "Mammy".. "Granny Wall".. "Auntie Dolly", for your nurturing love and gentle ways. Nothing can capture your spirit like Fr. Pat's eulogy as we listened, remembered and said good-bye:
"So as Tom said at the beginning - a celebration of the Eucharist, in memory of Dolly Wall. And I am privileged to say I met this 'Beautiful Mother', I've met this 'Gentle Granny', I've had this 'Special Friend'.
I remember the opening of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.....
I remember my first visit to Riverstown....turning to the right beyond Ashbourne..looking for the two houses - the new one and the old one..driving past them and saying to myself, 'Hey, that must be the two of them'. Turning, making a U turn when that road began to straighten out for a little bit...meeting John and Angela and Brendan and finally..'Mammy'.
And all that was in the new house - but the afternoon high tea was in the old house.
I remember some other visits there... with my Dad one year, without my Dad another year. One Summer when Jeanne and Brendan and Marian and Fiona were there ... another time when my friend in Dublin, John Boden, and I dropped in for a visit and were talked into staying for a few hours.
And then I remember last Summer...it wasn't Riverstown this time, it was Mullingar with Bernie and Eamonn. And I expected to find Granny in bed, but there she was..in her chair..the centre of loving attention. Yes, she had got very thin by then. She had to be helped to stand and to sit...but in that living-room it was a real privilege to celebrate Mass so close to someone who was, herself, so close to God.
So I remember, and I'm sure you remember. We do well to remember. As long as we remember she lives among us. "Do this in memory of me", Jesus said, "lest you forget". Today we do it in memory of a special friend of His...a special friend of ours.
I know a homily is supposed to make special connections between the Word and life..to help that Word you just heard become flesh once more. But when the readings and the songs fit the person so perfectly there's really little left to do. So lets just think a moment what those words can mean and what those songs are saying.
I heard God singing in that opening song..."Come back to me, faithful one...long have I waited for your coming...sleep secure with peace...let us live deeply our new life together."
And then I heard His special friend speak to Jeanne in the first reading: "He gives me repose near restful waters...Yes indeed, goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life...and now in the Lord's own house I shall dwell forever and ever...So don't worry, there is nothing I shall want."
Many times this past year she heard Him "calling in the night". Sleep didn't last as long as it used to. A month ago she heard His final call at the dawning of the day and she answered as she always had: "Here I am!"
Paul didn't know her but I think Paul had her in mind when he wrote his poem on the "better way", the way of Love. The patient and kind way...the never jealous, never boastful or conceited way...the never rude or selfish or resentful way...the ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, the ready to endure way. Jesus would have said..the Kingdom way. Room for God because, not full of her own importance, and gentle, knowing times of mourning, hungering and thirsting for what's right, merciful, single-minded...a peacemaker..the Kingdom Way. And they do call Meath the "Royal" County.
And still to come in our Mass will be Mary's song. Her name was Mary. Mary was her patron Saint. There was that final trip to Lourdes. She looked forward to that very much last Summer. I'm sure she looked back on it and, like her namesake, continued to "magnify the Lord" as Winter came.
So we're here to remember someone who "from birth through age" was conscious of "the two hands of Christ around her". And in death these two hands encircled her as well. So after Communion we'll hear death spoken of as "Ni crioch ach ath-ais" - not the end but Re-birth. With her may we too be "I bParrathas na nGhras" - in the Paradise of Grace.
And so I think to-day, a month into her re-birth, we give thanks for this "beautiful Mother", this "gentle Granny", this "special Friend". And along with our readings and songs, may I conclude with Psalm 131..in many ways her Psalm:
"God, my soul is not above You, looking past You, to trifle with important things, or fill itself with thoughts beyond this hour. My soul is calm and quiet, waiting for you, as a child is with its mother..my soul, the child with you."
To us I hear her say in the final words of that Psalm: "My people...wait so for God... from now until forever."