Obituary for Sister Maura Keane, FMSJ

Posted on: 27 April 2021

Author:Sister Joan Kerley


Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of
who died in Franciscan Convent, Blackburn on 26th April 2021

Anna Mary Keane was born on 20th April 1936 in Ballingarry, Roscrea, the first child of John and Brigid Keane. She had one Sister, Christina who died some years ago. Before she entered she worked as housekeeper to a relative of Lord Snowden and it was here she came across beautiful china and antiques, an interest she maintained during her lifetime. She entered the Novitiate at St Philomena’s, Altrincham on 6th January 1961 receiving the name of Maura and made her First Profession on 1st May 1962. She then began her ministry in childcare in Mount Carmel and Didsbury before training as a Residential Social Worker and successfully undertaking a course in Child Care in London. She made her Perpetual Profession in Altrincham on 15th August 1967.

For the next thirty years Sr Maura worked in many Rescue homes caring for dozens of children and extending a disciplined but gentle motherly love to some very damaged children. Sr Philomena who lived in Bolton with Sr Maura described her as the kindest person you could meet who would do anything for anyone especially for poor mothers who needed help and two local curates with a strict Parish Priest who appreciated her listening ear and a hot meal or kindness in mending their clothes.

Sr Maura kept in touch with some of the children and on hearing of her death one of them, Paul, wrote” Maura worked tirelessly for the Lord’s children. She had a warm side which bucked the trend of stricter childcare and that resonated well with children from deprived or difficult backgrounds. Maura’s dedication was unyielding.... Always be in my fondest memories.... as without (Angel) Maura appearing in my life, I may not have made it through so well.”

Fr Martin Saunders, a close friend, remembered how she helped him to arrange a parish pilgrimage to Rome. These ladies had never left England before and they went with four teenagers to carry the luggage. Fr Saunders spoke of Maura’s patience and understanding of both the women and the youth and said she shared their excitement when Bishop Kelly arranged for them to meet the Pope.

Sr Maura went with Sr Killian to Rhyl in 2001 to open a new charity shop. It made no money because of their kindness in charging next to nothing for the clothes on sale but their presence and later that of Sr Emmanuel was greatly appreciated by the parishioners .When dementia necessitated her move to Blackburn she settled in well. She spent time quietly in her room and in the chapel and even when her dementia robbed her of conversation she still smiled and kept her sense of humour She was loved by the Sisters, residents and staff.

She died peacefully, early on 26th April. Funeral arrangements will be made known as soon as possible. MAY SHE REST IN PEACE.