Mount Brown, Aughagower
Kathleen Basquel (nee McDonagh) passed away peacefully after a short illness with her family by her bedside on July 27 at Mayo University Hospital. She would have been celebrating her 91st birthday on August 25. Kathleen had boundless energy, a great sense of humour and an unyielding positive attitude. She enjoyed exceptionally good health in her 90 years and was rarely sick. She had only one serious illness, when she fell and broke her hip three years ago, but she fully recovered from this to go on and lead an active life once again.
Kathleen was born in Mount Brown in August 1926 to Kate and Patrick McDonagh. She met Michael (who predeceased her) and they married in 1949. She didn’t move too far from her home, only 400 meters up the road, where they enjoyed 49 years of marriage. They had such a close bond together. They always seemed to be on the same wave length and were happy to relax at home with their family and many visitors.
They had 15 children, in very challenging times; among them were four sets of twins. (Theresa, Philomena’s twin, died when she was five months old). Kathleen and Michael created a loving family environment with constant words of encouragement and support, irrespective of the burden it placed on themselves. Their life was dedicated to their family and Kathleen was completely fulfilled with her role as a stay at home mother caring for the family. She had an incredibly selfless nature and deep interest in other people’s well-being. Kathleen had a keen interest in politics, current affairs and sports. She looked forward to Mayo playing in MacHale Park as she knew the house would be full with excitement and anticipation as the family got home for the game.
Kathleen was a very warm, welcoming person and anyone who came to her home was fed whether they wanted to be or not. The kettle was always on and anytime the family or anyone visited, she insisted on cooking a meal for them irrespective of the time of day or evening.
Kathleen was determined, like her husband Michael, that all her children got the best opportunity to realise their goals and dreams. She was always emphasising the importance of education. No sacrifice was too big for her to help in this pursuit. Despite her focus on education she was indifferent to material success, but more interested in the wellbeing of her children and grandchildren and never made a big fuss about positive or negative results.
Kathleen, like her late husband, was a very religious and spiritual person. The rosary was an integral part of their daily routine. She frequently visited Knock Shrine, and realised a life time ambition by visiting Medujorge and Lourdes, just over a year and a half ago. The family tell many stories of how they would reach out to their mother for her prayers, when they, or their children, had life time events, as they knew she had a direct line. This seemed to give them all confidence that everything would be all right. Kathleen took great pleasure in telling them that the reason behind their successes was the prayers to St Martin and St Jude and the many candles she lit. Indeed, sometimes they were concerned that the house would go on fire with all the many candles she lit for them.
Kathleen is deeply missed by her children, Fr Tom CS Sp (New York), Padraic (Mount Brown), Michael (Mount Brown), John and Martin, (Dublin), Joe (Mount Brown), Mary (Dublin), Philomena (Leeds), Kay (Dublin), Gerry (San Jose), Noel, Frank, Tony and Ann (Dublin); her daughters-in-law and sons-in-law, Bernie, John, Bernie, Roseanne, Seán, Ann, Sarah, Helen and Pat. She is also sadly missed by her sister Mary Ellen O’Connor (London), 30 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbours and friends. HKathleen was predeceased by her sister Rita and brother Martin.
Kathleen was waked for two days in her home with removal taking place on Sunday, July 30 St Patricks Church, Aughagower. The funeral Mass was celebrated on Monday, July 31. The chief celebrant was her son, Fr Tom CS Sp, who paid an emotional tribute to his mother. He was assisted by Fr Micheál MacGréil SJ, on behalf of Fr Jackie Conroy PP, her cousin Fr Pat Armstrong (UK), and fellow CS Sp colleagues of Fr Tom, Fr Brendan Carr, Fr John Kilcrann, Fr Martin Kelly, Fr Noel O’Meara and Fr Brendan Duggan. Music was provided by Mr Edward Muldoon, Kathleen’s cousin, who commenced with her favourite song ‘I will give you a daisy a day’, followed by church hymns. Her granddaughter Olivia McGrath also contributed to the music.
Her daughter Mary and son Noel paid a warm tribute to their mother and her son Gerry recited a lovely poem by WB Yeats that his mother hummed and sang when they were all young ‘Lake Isle of Innisfree’. Readings were by Philomena and Tony. Other family members brought up replicas of her life including a picture with her 14 children at her 90th Birthday party last August. Fr Micheál MacGréil challenged her 30 grandchildren ‘to collectively compile and record the extraordinary challenges, memories and accomplishments Kathleen and her husband encountered and overcame, in an Ireland that was struggling to find its feet ‘. He added: “She was a special person, the sort we will not see again. Her extraordinary achievements need to be recorded for the family memories, not necessarily for public consumption.”