SISTER KATHLEEN BUCKLEY
On Monday 20th November 2017, a large community including our sisters here in Chigwell, Sisters from local houses and Sacred Heart Companions from Chigwell, Harlow, Loughton, Homerton and Lewisham gathered together in Chigwell Chapel to join in a Special Thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Fr. Austin McCormack OFM. The occasion - to celebrate with Sr. Kathleen Buckley on receiving the Mother Winefride Award 2017.
Sr. Kathleen Buckley, Sr. Mary Mangan and Sr. Sheila Buckley (L-R)
Sr. Mary Mangan, Congregational Leader, said Sr. Kathleen demonstrates the fine qualities that Mother Winefride spoke of – “your great faith, your humility, simplicity, your smile, your easy manner, approachable, always having a positive word to say about everyone, your courage, obedience, and zeal for the congregation the poor, the Sacred Heart Companions – many of whom are here today to give thanks for your great mission– we could go on and on - what a tribute!”
Sr. Kathleen is a truly inspiring woman who has done so much throughout her life for all those she was called to serve.
At the 1990 Chapter Sr. Kathleen presented an invitation for us to go to El Salvador, a country in civil war. When the decision was made to go she was the first to volunteer. She went shortly after to learn Spanish and pioneer our presence in one of the most dangerous countries in the world.
Kathleen with her infectious enthusiasm, inspired Sr. Imelda Manning and Jackie Duncan, an Associate, to go with her and others in the congregation followed. The violence and disasters (earthquakes, tropical storms and hurricanes) never dissuaded her.
Kathleen loved and was loved by the poorest people and always had a steady stream of ‘visitors’ at the door. Her hero and inspiration was Blessed Oscar Romero - The Voice for the Voiceless.
Kathleen established a school in San Patricio (really for one little girl, Patty), who had special needs and needed washing and clothing daily to be accepted by the other children. It still thrives today with 400 students.
Kathleen had great confidence in the State Education system with their constant assurances of support which were seldom realised but no matter how many disappointments came her way she was always upbeat and respectful to the people who let her down.
Kathleen opened the door for Salvadoran candidates - many came and went but all would be richer for having been with us and with Kathleen in particular. Sr. Dayssi remains and has a great love for Kathleen.
In 2001 when we went to seek pastures new Kathleen was very excited at the thought that we could be in the same parish as El Mozote - the site of the terrible Massacre that took place there in 1981. (Where we continue to fight for justice).
Both herself and Sister John Vincent chose Arambala as our new mission and Sr. John Vincent was disappointed that our house was not in El Mozote but more central just two kilometres away in Arambala!
When Kathleen left El Salvador she went on to Uganda where she once again showed her Gospel values and love for the poor.
She is loved in every place she lived - there are too many to mention them all. Her faith shines through several times a day in her favourite saying; “Thank you Jesus”.
Sr. Rosemary Clerkin and Sr. Kathleen Buckley
We say; Thank you Jesus for Kathleen.
In 2016, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Mother Winefride Tyrrell’s death and we decided we need to keep Mother Winefride’s fine qualities alive amongst us and thus created ‘The Mother Winefride Tyrrell’s Annual Award’ given to those who demonstrate some of the qualities of Mother Winefride Tyrrell. This first Award was presented to Sr. Rosemary Clerkin for her great passion in bringing the early beginnings of our congregation alive for us in her writings – her giftedness in educating us by writing the history of our congregation and indeed for introducing us to Mother Winefride’s qualities.