Remembering Sr Freda Feely RIP

Sr. Freda Feely    1933 – 2020

Sr. Freda was born in 1933 in Mantua, Co. Roscommon to Martin Charles and Anne Feely. She was predeceased by her parents and her brother Junior. She is survived by her sister Carmel Ennis and her brother Colm.

Freda was educated in the Ursuline College, Sligo, and in University College Dublin. She entered the Ursuline Convent in Finisklin in 1959 having previously qualified as a pharmacist and worked for some years. It was during those years that she joined the Legion of Mary and developed her life- long devotion to Our Lady.

After first profession she was assigned to the mission in Kenya working in the dispensary there and taking her final vows in 1965 in Kitale.  On return to Ireland she qualified as a secondary teacher and taught Maths and Biology on the staff of Ursuline College for over 20 years. Over and over again at the reposing many past students told how they loved and valued her as a teacher. Indeed, many recalled her free “grinds” for Leaving Cert. Hons. Maths. and how she would seek them out during lunch hour although at times they did their best to hide away!

Freda never forgot her Kenya experience and her consistent attempts to devise new projects to raise money for the missions will be remembered by all as new “products” for sale came on stream – such as decorated wastepaper baskets and roses preserved in large bottles.

Her readiness to reach out was a characteristic of her whole life and was evidenced when she took up residence in Cartron and later in Ballytivnan, Sligo, actively engaging with the parish there and later upon taking up residence in Temple St. visiting the homeless men and helping with literacy in Shalomar.

A crowning achievement for Sr. Freda was when she achieved the publication of “Marie of the Incarnation 1599-1672 Correspondence”. The letters had previously been translated and edited in various French editions when Sr. St. Dominic Kelly osu, undertook the task of translating the letters into English. However, because of advancing arthritis in her hands, Sr. St. Dominic gradually found it more difficult to write. That was when Sr. Freda took over becoming the scribe and surmounting all kinds of difficulties in finally seeing the publication of the volume of 278 often lengthy letters in 2000.  Indeed, one of her greatest joys was when she and her sister visited relatives in New York and made their way to Quebec to visit the tomb of Marie of the Incarnation, an Ursuline, and the first female missionary to the New World.

Freda was a woman of prayer and in her later years with failing sight she was an avid listener to radio and cd’s keeping alive her interest to the end in scripture and theology.

Feisty and determined, yet it can be truly said of Freda she never said a bad word about anybody, ready and willing to help anyone who needed it with a readiness to laugh easily at her own mistakes.

Mass of the Resurrection was a Mass of thanksgiving for sharing our life with someone we loved and who, without a doubt, will continue her care for us from heaven.