Mary Sloan (Nee Grant), long-term member of St Colman’s conference in Kilkeel, was buried on 21st February, when she would have been 101 years old. Local SVP members, past and present, formed a guard of honour at her funeral. A Eucharistic minister, lifetime pioneer and secretary of Attical Apostolic Work Society, Mary was a highly respected member of the Mourne community. She served over 55 years as a volunteer member of St Colman’s conference, many of them as treasurer and received a long service medal from the Society in 2018.
Former conference members recall a lady fully committed to the values of the Society whose calm and compassionate nature was greatly valued by those she visited whether in their home, in hospital or care home. She was a practical woman who sewed curtains and baby clothes for families in need and baked bread and made jam to raise funds. A key organiser of the Christmas party for older people, she was always one of the first to join in the entertainment.
Her many fundraising efforts included support for the work of local missionary priest Fr Nicky Hennity. He described Mary as “an amazing woman who lived her life on the Christian values. She was a great believer in God, and she knew in her heart and soul that He was always looking after her. Her generosity and commitment came from her deep faith in the One who gave his life on Calvary. I am very happy to have known Mary because in her I could see the face of Jesus”.
Mary’s daughter Helen remembers once asking her mother “How can you be sure that folks asking for help are not bluffing you? Mary’s reply was typical: “You give in good faith and it is between their conscience and God, and God will be their judge”. Helen sums up her mother’s life in the words of Beverlee Paine “When you see the hungry/ Feed them from your table/ For the poor and weary, be their watering place”.
Mary’s last engagement with the conference was in October 2019 when she joined a group of local older people on a day trip to Clare Lodge organised by the conference. She enjoyed meeting up of with many of her old friends and took pleasure in the excellent hospitality laid on by Clare Lodge staff.
As Fr Hennity says “Mary is one of the many unnamed saints in Heaven”.