St Eugene’s Cathedral
Francis Street, Derry
BT48 9AP | Tel: 028 7126 2302
Sr Carmel Guinan was born in Co Tipperary in 1929, entered Good Shepherd Sister on 8th February 1955, received the habit on 8th Sept 1955 and was professed in 1957. She was appointed to Derry on 8th September 1961 and has been here since.
Speaking notes of Fr Michael Canny for Mass for the Diamond Jubilee of Sister Carmel Guinan,
Good Shepherd Sister at Dungiven Road, Derry on 1st July 2017 celebrated at Dromantine Retreat Centre, Newry.
At the present time, most people, if not all of us have hectic schedules. In the lives of most of us there seem to be a relentless pursuit of activity. People are measured by our worth and how busy we are. We live in an age when many people mix up being busy, activity, with what is necessary in life.
In our Gospel today, specially chosen by Sr Carmel herself we find the familiar story of Martha and Mary. The story tells us that Jesus said Mary had chosen the better part – she being the one who sat and listened.
In the real world if everyone spent all their time sitting and listening then nothing would get done. Hence in reality both listening and doing are necessary. Just as inhaling and exhaling oxygen are vital to living, likewise listening to God's voice and serving others are vital to the Christian life.
Sr Carmel, over 60 years ago, in faith and guided by others of faith, you choose to dedicate your life to listening to the voice of God and living out that call as a member of the Good Shepherd Sisters.That decision to leave family, friends and home on 8th of February 1955 brought you to Limerick, Cork, a domestic science course in Dublin and back to Limerick where with 6 others sisters you made your final vows.
On 8th September 1961 your "Yes" to God's plan found you being appointed to the Good Shepherd Convent in Derry where you have remained since.Each religious community has its own identity. The stories of sisters who have gone before, its saints and traditions have helped to make you the special person that we all know you to be.
Your time spent in prayer and in your work in St Mary's in Derry, and in more recent years as chaplain at Altnagelvin Hospital has been your living out of that initial "yes" you said when you left home in Tipperary all those years ago.
This afternoon among family and friends we are delighted to celebrate your Diamond Jubilee of religious profession – celebrating a long journey of faithful and dedicated service as a Good Shepherd Sister. We are celebrating your witness to a different way of life from what our modern busy world is familiar with – a life for the most part of hidden service.
In the last verse of your chosen Psalm we hear the psalmist say:
"Lead me in your footsteps along your ancient way
Let me walk in the love of the Lord.
Your wisdom is my heart's wealth, a blessing all our days.
In the silence I long for your word."
Sr Carmel we celebrate and rejoice that you have followed the Lord faithfully along the ancient way, that you have walked in the love of the Lord and allowed his wisdom to be your heart's wealth.