Funeral Homily for Sr. John Bosco Griffin, 10th of July, 2021, Tulla Church

Anyone who had the privilege of meeting Sr. Bosco – a vivid and deep impression was invariably left with them. She was a remarkable character by any standards;

an outstanding follower of the Mercy charism,

a true ambassador of Catherine McCauley

and a most genuine and pleasantly strident and effective disciple of Jesus Christ.


The several hundreds of comments on and social media over the past few days are an amazing testament to the huge impact she had on so many lives, with her enthusiasm for outreach along with her genuineness, her transparent goodness, her other worldliness, her holiness.


My first encounter with Bosco was the day before I was consecrated bishop in Ennis five years ago.  I was celebrating the early morning Mass in the Poor Clare Convent Chapel and in arrived Sr. Bosco from Tulla.  She had a large sheaf of wheat that she delivered into the sacristy that she wanted blessed.  There had been a tragedy at sea in the days prior to that and there was a search ongoing for the remains of the deceased.  Bosco outlined the tradition of blessing a sheaf of wheat and casting it out to sea and like the St. Anthony tradition of finding lost items – the prayerful gesture would uncover the remains of those lost in the ocean.  The sheaf was duly blessed, Sr. Bosco went back to the Wild Atlantic Way in West Clare and whether it was a total coincidence, the providence of God or indeed both, (what we might call a God-incidence) the prayers of Sr. Bosco were answered.


A Woman of Prayer

She was a woman who believed with great conviction in the power of prayer, and her life was ordered towards that in everything she did and said.


Ministry of Encouragment

In my experience of her I have rarely encountered anyone who took the Ministry of Encouragement so seriously.  Letters. Cards. Invitations. Phone calls.  She went out of her way to encourage even the smallest positive initiative she saw of value and worth.


Matt Talbot Novena

The Three Wise Men had barely departed to return to the East after Christmas when one got the call-up for the Matt Talbot Novena.  The invitation was not really a request.  It was a given! One was expected to be there.  The only variable was the given theme of that particular year.  My allotted day was usually Ash Wednesday.   However, the distribution of Ashes was only a fraction of the many liturgical embellishments; blessing car-keys, holy water bottles, miraculous medals, candles, sacred spaces, exposition, benediction, to name but a few.  And all of this was accompanied by the most heavenly liturgical music so native to this area.


A life well lived

I can only imagine the changes in Church and Society Sr. Bosco encountered since leaving her beloved Roscommon in 1961 to enter the convent in Nenagh.  After receiving her Science degree and H.Dip in UCD she immersed herself in the school life of both Nenagh and Tulla, teaching Science, Maths and in later years career guidance.  She became so much part of the fabric of St. Joseph’s secondary school here and it was no mistake that her name in religion was the Patron Saint of young people, St. John Bosco.  Having a fantastic way with young folk and right up to Covid times herself and Fr. Brendan Lawlor continued a remarkable ministry of presence and pastoral care, meeting and greeting every student inside the door each morning.  Despite her limitations after her stroke in 2009, which she miraculously survived – there was no holding her back.


Sr. Bosco was as traditional as one would find, but she also embraced the new and the modern.  Her constant abiding or habitation in the world of the spiritual, the supernatural, the transcendent, the Holy in many ways made her straddle liminal spaces in which she transcended mere categorisation or labels.  She was unique indeed.


Apostolic Outreach

The bio I received from Sr. Canice during the week spoke of her capacity for friendship, her deep faith and her constancy in prayer.  All of these gave rise to an enormous apostolic and evangelical outreach with organisations like Apostolic Work, the Pioneers, the Diocesan Vocations Committee, Youth 2000, John Paul II awards, Eucharistic Adoration, the Matt Talbot Novena, Fundraising for the missions, knitting projects.


She had great hobbies as well, being adept at solving cross-word puzzles, visiting friends and family and I believe she was a regular at boot sales in various locations!  I will never forget her in the West County Hotel a few years ago after the John Paul II awards ceremony giving jiving lessons to Marty Morrisey in an effort to smarten him up for Dancing with the Stars.


Prayer and Condolences

In celebrating the life of a truly remarkable woman we pray for the happy repose of her soul.  We pray that the Lord might greatly rejoice in receiving her into His eternal embrace.


I extend our deepest sympathy to Bosco’s beloved brother Bernie, to her sister-in-law Ita, niece Lorraine, nephew-in-law Dave, grandnieces Megan and Sophie, to her extended family and vast circle of friends, all of whom were so special to her and so much part of her life. Our sympathy is also extended to her Mercy sisters in Nenagh and Tulla and throughout South Central Province and especially to the people of Tulla. May her generous and loyal soul rest in the Risen Lord.


Leaba i measc na naomh go raibh aici.