It was with great sadness I read of the death of Fr. Donal O’Mahony, a member of the Capuchin Franciscan Order, affectionately known as Fr. Augustine by the many people who lived in extreme poverty, particularly in the Benburb Street area of Dublin City.
We still meet people in TRUST who remember him. I first met him long before TRUST was established in 1975. I recall his long discussions and debates, often held in my tiny bedsit before he set-up Threshold. MY contact with him included attending family occasions for the people he knew; christenings, weddings, funerals, court appearances and time spent in cramped conditions having a mug of tea with elderly people living alone etc.
I especially remember Harry, a homeless man from rural Ireland who was badly burned in a flat in Dublin. Long stays in hospital etc. had done little to clear his infections and heal his wounds. Fr. Donal and I brought him to Tipperary where he was cared for be devoted staff in St. Patricks Hospital, Cashel (then known as The County Home) for many months before returning to Dublin.
In the excellent care of St. Patrick’s Hospital under the stewardship of Sr. Aquinas (she too now departed), Harry’s life blossomed, his wounds healed, his health improved but perhaps more importantly he was made to feel loved and wanted by the community in Cashel.
Fr. Donal inspired and challenged all who crossed his path, never forgetting the philosophy of St. Francis. We would do well as a nation to follow his example, particularly where actions speak louder than words and where each human being is special.
Alice Leahy, Director and Co-Founder TRUST