Sr. Dolores died peacefully on May 11th having gave a life of service to God. Having grown up in Ballykelly, Monasterevin she first arrived in Carlow at St Leo’s, Mercy Convent on the 24th of September 1958 and was professed on August 15th, 1964. Sr Dolores qualified as a Primary Teacher in Carysfort Training College and taught in St Joseph’s Junior Boys School and St Catherine’s Girls Primary School. She worked in a volunteer capacity in the Liturgy Centre in St Patrick’s College and continued her involvement with liturgy when the centre moved to Mt St Annes, while there she did the one year course and became a staff member of the Liturgy Team and ministered in the Centre for some years.
In June 1986, Sr Dolores was appointed superior in St Leo’s. In July 1992 she was appointed to the Sacred Heart Hospital, Carlow and became Parish Sister in the Cathedral Parish, Carlow. From July 1992 until she became ill in 2021, Sr. Dolores gave dedicated service to every facet of life in the Cathedral from Baptism Teams to Funeral Ministry. She particularly loved First Communion and Confirmation time with the children, she always had a troop of altar servers ready to go whenever needed. She will be missed by her family, the Mercy Community and her parish and diocesan family.
Sr. Dolores choose the music and readings for her Requiem which was held on Friday May 13th in the Cathedral, the Mass opened with ‘Jesus Christ, You are my Life, Alleluia’ which is how she lived her life.
Words by Bishop Denis Nulty at Reception of the Remains of Sr. Dolores: 12.05.22
Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow @ 6.00pm
We gather in the fourth week of our Easter journey. We gather to receive the remains of Sr. Dolores Fitzgerald here into the Cathedral. Most never knew Sr. Dolores’ surname, she was always affectionately known as Dolores! I welcome Sr. Dolores’ family, her brothers Michael & Tom, her sisters Alice, Thérèse & Ella and their families. I welcome the Mercy family, the Cathedral Parish family, the Diocesan family and the Liturgy family as we gather to pay a faith-filled farewell to Dolores. In welcoming all of you, I also welcome those who join us also on webcam.
Just over a month ago many of us gathered here with Dolores as she received the Bene Merenti Award from Pope Francis. She was at her best that day, she loved celebrations, she loved the sacred and the social, and that day splendidly captured both. Dolores was so happy to be surrounded by those she loved and those who loved her. And this evening we are back again and tomorrow more will gather.
At that ceremony, a month ago, I said that for Dolores or Dodi the Bene Merenti award was “a clear recognition of a religious life of humble service, a life of never wanting the limelight but always in the centre of every sacramental and pastoral moment around the life of the Cathedral and wider diocese from her days where she worked alongside Mgr. Sean Swayne in the Liturgy Centre at St. Patrick’s College”. Dolores was the founding mother of the Liturgy Centre. She nurtured good liturgy and encouraged many in their journey to understand liturgy.
The Book of Job speaks of the awakening of those who have died, they will look on God, and see Him as a friend. Dolores has met her friend. St. John speaks of the bread that allows those to live forever. Her life was nourished by that bread that allows her now and all of us to live forever. I recall my last visit to Pinewood around Easter with an Easter Egg, there were two former servers Chanipa Kelly and Maria Hegarty at her door, keeping distance because of Covid but it was a powerful engagement. It showed that not only had Dolores nurtured good liturgy, she had nurtured deep faith formation and appreciation. And just as in her life she taught us all how to live, the recent weeks towards her death reminded us she also taught us how to die. May she rest in peace. Amen.