Bro. Paul Byrne, SSS

Mar 1, 2009 |

bro-paulQUIETLY and peacefully, our beloved Confrere, Brother Paul slipped away to the arms of His Eucharistic Lord on Saturday 14th February 2009. In great from that morning, he was preparing for an outing with a friend, but was found to be dead as he sat in our sitting room with Fr. Jim Hegarty waiting to be collected. Quietly, no fuss, and in the company of a Confere, absolutely in character. His unexpected death came as a great shock to us all, despite the on-going health problems with which he had struggled for years, and which had rendered him increasingly debilitated.

Bro. Paul, an only child, was born in Cork, and like all Corkmen, he remained proud of his roots. He was a Franciscan Brother (Bro. Rufino) from 1946 to 1953, and he joined the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament at our former house at Leicester, England in 1956, entering our Novitiate in 1957. His First Profession of Vows was on 21 May 1959. Shortly afterwards, he was assigned to the United States, and served at our houses in Cleveland, Waupaca and Albuquerque. He made his Final Profession in Barre, Massachusetts on 21 May 1962. On his return from the USA, he served as Cook at our houses in Leicester, Liverpool and Wareside, before being assigned as Porter to our community in Dublin.

In the mid nineties, his health broke down and he received fulltime nursing home care for a number of years at the Griffeen Valley Nursing Home in Lucan. He made a remarkable recovery and was able to re-join our Community here at Bachelors Walk in 2001. Our very own “Come-back-kid”! In the time since he came home here, he has endeared himself to all he met, and was a familiar sight as he ambled around the city centre while his health allowed him to do so.

Though of quiet and gentle demeanour, his wit and wisdom are legendary. He took a great pleasure in telling us that his real name was Robbie Byrne (as in Robbie Burns). His capacity to “Play with words” was truly extraordinary, and frequently left us lost for words. Or as he would have said “Our gast was flabbered”! Against the background of his many health problems, his invariable response to “How are you Paul?” was “Have you an Hour?”

His quick wit and sense of humour concealed a deep spirituality, and intellect. He grappled with the most complex of Theological issues, and took great pleasure in discussion. A committed son of St. Peter Julian, he was sustained by his daily Mass, and had attended Mass on Saturday morning, just three hours before his sudden death. He was also devoted to our Blessed Mother who, in his own inimitable way, he honoured as “Our Lady of the Many Titles”!

Paul was a true reflection of the Lord he strove to imitate. It was indeed appropriate that the Lord should call him home during the Year of St. Paul, his patron. He really made his own the words of St. Paul on our Chapel banner “There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One Who gives me strenght” (Phil. 4:18). We will miss him greatly from our Community, and his many friends are also saddened by his goig. We commend him to the Lord and pray that his dear soul may rest in peace, rejoicing at hearing that most desirable of all accolades – “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

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