Mary Lowry (Sister Genevieve)

Interview by Tomás Mac Conmara on March 27, 2012

Gender: Female

Birth date: 1926

Area: Ennis

Report date: September 19, 2015

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Time Description
File 1 0:00:00 - 0:04:40 CHRISTMAS IN CHILDHOOD - Sr. Genevieve speaks about her family background. She describes her father (Michael Lowry) and discusses the games her and her siblings would play at Christmas time in Cloonmore, County Galway. She recalls Christmas eve and describes the routine in her house when she was a child. Her mother's name was Delia Mullins.
0:04:41 - 0:08:50 FAMILY - Sr. Genevieve describes her father's background. She speaks about the death of her baby sister Margaret who was only two when she died of pleurisy. Speaks briefly about her parent's religious faith and the daily recitation of the rosary.
0:08:51 - 0:12:54 CHILDHOOD - Sr. Genevieve speaks about her childhood and describes the areas that her and her siblings played as children. She recalls the birth of her sister Julia and describes her as a child.
0:12:55 - 0:17:06 LIFE ON THE FARM - Sr. Genevieve describes her young life on the farm and recalls some of the work she had to do as a young girl including picking thistles and making hay and corn. Speaks briefly about her father and brothers bringing cattle to the fair which was three miles from their home. Refers to the Economic War and an occasion when her father decided not to cut the corn for a day. A storm came that night and destroyed the corn. Note: A member of staff comes into the room and the interview is suspended.
File 2 0:00:00 - 0:05:11 FAMILY HOME - Sr. Genevieve describes her memories of the family house. Speaks about her father's move from Cluaindrine to Cloonmore. Speaks about the general jobs that the children had to do including picking the potatoes. Sr. Genevieve states that Cloonmore was a new village which had been just built when her father moved in. All the houses were slated. She describes how they fasted before mass on a Sunday (from 12.00am the night before). Speaks about mass when she was a child.
0:04:32 - 0:10:41 SCHOOLDAYS - Speaks about her schooldays in Bellclare National School. She recalls being happier at home on the farm than being in school. She remembers walking barefoot during the summer. Speaks about her own confirmation. Recalls that when she was coming home from her confirmation, her sister Julia was very sick. Note: Sr. Genevieve may have been referring to her sister Margaret who died of pleurisy at the age of two.
0:10:42 - 0:12:44 AFTER NATIONAL SCHOOL - Sr. Genevieve speaks about her life after finishing National School. A local priest, Fr. Quealy asked her to work for Fr. Joyce as housekeeper, which she did for over a year. Fr. Joyce was based in Corofin but was from County Mayo.
0:12:45 - 0:15:58 VOCATION - Sr. Genevieve speaks about her vocation. She recalls doing Holy Hours, which she had begun to do every day. On September 8, 1944, she was considering leaving the priest house at this time, when after leaving flowers at the foot of a statue to Our Lady, she heard a voice saying 'why not become a nun?' Sr. Genevieve states that this was her vocation and she became convinced of her future from that moment. She was in the convent in Ennis on November 21st, just two months later. She speaks about her parent's reaction and states that her mother told her that when she was born, the midwife told her mother that she was going to be a nun. She recalls the advice she received from local nuns who told her to go to Ennis as opposed to the Presentation sisters, who were a closed order.
0:15:59 - 0:20:52 EARLY YEARS IN THE CONVENT - Sr. Genevieve recalls leaving for the convent in Ennis. Another girl came with her but didn't stay in the convent for long. Speaks about her time in Ennis at the Sisters of Mercy Convent. She states that it was seven years before she was able to go home. Her parents were able to visit her in the meantime. She recalls the first day she went home and the reaction of the local village when she came home with 'the black veil'. Note: Interviews is suspended when a staff member comes into the room.
File 3 0:00:00 - 0:04:23 CARING FOR THE POOR - Sr. Genevieve recalls her training at the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Ennis. Speaks about her care of the poor in Ennis, who would come to the convent for help. Speaks about her love for the poor and refers to a man called 'Jim' who would come in at 6.00am in the morning. Sr. Genevieve would jump out of bed in the morning to give him his breakfast before he would wake the others in the convent. Speaks generally about the role the Sisters of Mercy played in caring for the poor of Ennis.
0:04:24 - 0:06:08 ENNIS TOWN - Speaks briefly about the Carmody Hotel disaster in 1957. Speaks briefly about Bishop Michael Fogarty. States that he would come in often to the Convent.
0:06:09 - 0:08:13 MOTHER SUPERIORS - Speaks about the Mother Superiors during her time. There would be an election every three years and there would be votes taken to elect a new Mother Superior. Only professed nuns could vote.
0:08:14 - 0:12:00 IN THE CONVENT OVER THE DECADES - Sr. Genevieve speaks briefly about World War II and the impact of rationing. She states that she didn't have any other real interests other than her work in the convent and speaks about her worry that she would be sent home. Speaks about the vocations over the years when they would get up to eight each year.
0:12:01 - 0:13:52 PROFESSION - Sr. Genevieve speaks about her own profession in the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Ennis. She didn't have any family for her first profession but received many cards with congratulations from family and friends. States that she was relieved when she was fully professed because she couldn't be sent home.
0:13:53 - 0:15:40 REFLECTIONS ON LIFE - Sr. Genevieve reflects on her life, her sense of fulfilment, the importance of prayer and how happy she is today in Catherine McCauley House.

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