Hundreds gathered at the Church of St John the Baptist in Galbally last Friday, to say goodbye to Donaghmore ‘lady’ Rosaleen Donaghy, who was tragically killed in Bulgaria.
After arriving at the church around 11.20am, Rosaleen’s remains were carried inside by immediate family - past a guard of honour made up of children she had looked after, with their parents - and closely followed by her grief-stricken mother, Rose.
Speaking on behalf of both the Donaghy and Girvan families, Parish Priest Father McAleer welcomed mourners “from Australia, the United States, England and across any water”, as well as those who travelled from all over the island of Ireland.
“I welcome neighbours, especially the protestant neighbours,” he said, “your goodness at this time is so much appreciated and this community will forever be indebted to you.”
Addressing a crowded church, Fr McAleer spoke of a “symmetry at work” in Rosaleen’s life with her funeral mass being held in Galbally, because Donaghmore church is under construction.
“Thirty years ago when Brian and Rosaleen where getting married,” he explained, “it should have been here [Galbally], it wasn’t, it was in Donaghmore because this chapel was under major renovation.”
Praying for Rosaleen’s family “on the first Friday” of August, Fr McAleer went on: “We pray as a community today.
“We pray for the eternal rest of Rosaleen’s temporal soul, we pray that God’s grace may penetrate the family’s broken hearts and ease the anguish of grief.
“We pray that we come to accept God’s inscrutable ways and we give thanks of course for a life that touched so many.
“This day is not a day for answering questions,” he explained, “it’s a day rather, for healing hearts.”
After two readings, a song asking the congregation to “be not afraid”, and a gospel extolling the message of eternal life, Fr McAleer paid homage to a woman, who “commanded respect from an early age”.
“She had a lovely demeanour,” he said, “a calming presence and she responded positively to every opportunity and challenge that came her way.
“When Rosaleen came home on Wednesday,” he added, “there was a relief”.
He told how the Donaghy family were “an inspiration to me, and to each other”.
“You were a credit to yourselves, and to your families and to the whole community,” he added, “and I will always be thankful for witnessing at first hand such dignity in grief.”
Donaghy was laid to rest at St Patrick’s Cemetery in Donaghmore shortly after her requiem mass.