Written on: May 1, 2016
Sister Anne Zita Crudden recently traveled to Ireland with 2 nieces and a cousin, to meet a sister, Kate, of whom the family just became aware. Here is a synopsis of their trip and encounter:
After arriving in Dublin, we were picked up by Eimear Coffey, (the social worker who searched for and found Kate’s American connection). Eimear drove us to a nearby hotel to meet Kate. Two of Kate’s friends, Anne and Adeline, were waiting with her. After introducing me to Kate, the others left us alone to get acquainted. There was no hesitation or awkwardness when we met. We chatted for a few minutes; then Eimear arranged for afternoon “tea” to be served. When the refreshments were brought, Eimear prepared to leave us alone once again. Kate immediately said that we would welcome her company. When Eimear remarked that she would be joining the others who were waiting in another room, we both then said that they should all join us. And, so they did. We had a grand time getting to know one another.
A few hours later, Hollie and I were returned to our hotel. But, before that, Adeline arranged for a luncheon to be held the next day, Friday, April 15th at 1:00 PM at our hotel, The Clayton.
The next afternoon, we headed downstairs to our hotel’s restaurant to meet our hostesses. Our travel and hotel arrangements in Dublin were provided by the Farrelly family and their friends. (Kate worked as a domestic and caretaker for this family from the time she was 19.)
We had a delicious buffet luncheon, and enjoyed one another’s company for a few hours. Around 3 PM, when the wait-staff began setting up for dinner, we adjourned to a nearby lounge. We then had some more refreshments, and gathered in small groups of two or three to chat. We constantly moved from one position to another, and so had a lot of different one-on-one encounters. Time passed quickly; to our collective amazement, we discovered that it was after 10 PM. When Jo and I returned to our room, we quickly prepared for bed. However, neither of us could sleep. So we talked for another hour about our reflections. One comment which I made was, “I haven’t been so happy since before Shirl died!” My family circle was now complete!
I joined Kate for Sunday morning Mass, followed by a lovely breakfast at her little house around the corner.
On Sunday afternoon, all four of us traveled by bus to the town of Letterkenny in Donegal. The next day, we took a taxi to the nearby town of Convoy to visit the family cemetery where Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts and some cousins are interred.
Tuesday evening, we headed to the Farrelly’s spacious home for a dinner and reception. We met other Farrelly family members, as well. Once again, their hospitality was grand, or as they say: “Brilliant!” As we left them, we knew we would return someday. They plan to have a party for Kate’s 90th birthday in September, so I’m thinking that would be our plan.
Someone asked us if this trip lived up to our expectations. We all agreed that it far exceeded our fondest dreams.
As the Apostle, John notes, there were many other things that happened during this visit; but it would take a book to reveal them.
To read more about Sister Ann Zita finding her birth family click here