THE EIGHTH FOUNDRESS - Mary Connor
There were seven "official" foundresses of our monastery. But in fact there was an eighth person who deserves special mention. Mary Connor (1839-1921) applied to enter at the Carmelite monastery of Lakelands, Sandymount, but as there was no vacancy for a Laysister she offered her services to the nuns who accepted her in the capacity of messenger. She did all their shopping for them, and did it well too. She took charge of the laundry and served the chaplains their breakfast. Mary came with the nuns on their transfer from Lakelands to Roebuck and then accompanied them to this monastery of St. Joseph. She was the greatest help to the nuns, especially during those foundation years, and lived and worked for the community till the day of her death, a most hidden, laborious and meritorious life. She was in fact an Extern Sister without the name. She gave all her services free so as to serve Our Lord in His spouses. When Mother Prioress insisted on her taking some little remuneration, she put it by and later presented 6 large and heavy brass candlesticks and 6 smaller ones for the Altar, carrying them home one by one from Dublin. The 6 candlesticks can be picked out in the centre of this photo taken of our chapel in the year 1900.
The record of Mary Connor's life in our annals contains a story from her shopping days which Mary herself told the nuns. One day she was commissioned to buy some white satin for some work the nuns were doing for the chapel. When Mary arrived at the shop she had so many messages that she forgot the name of the material. Was it silk? No. Was it velvet? No. Was it brocade? No. Then Mary said to the man who was serving her at the counter: "It's got something to do with the devil." Immediately he said: "Why, it's Satin you want!"
All the nuns looked upon Mary as a most devoted and sincere friend, and the chaplains revered her too. Mary herself was most interested in all that concerned the community. When there was no longer the need for her to go shopping, she never left the monastery but lived happily and industriously, and when she was no longer able to do the laundry she knitted stockings for the community. She was most faithful to her goodnight visits to Our Lord in the tabernacle. After her last visit to Him she died peacefully in her sleep, and is buried with our Sisters. The photo right shows her memorial in our little cemetery.
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