Maureen Hovey is a tremendously faithful member of our parish family, though you may not have seen her. Maureen is one of our homebound members that we visit in her apartment downtown. Considering the demographics of our parish, I like to joke with her saying that she is our closest neighbor. (The Staabs are her competitors)
Maureen’s eyes give her trouble at times, yet her eyes never fail to brighten when I come to visit. When Irish Eyes are Smiling is a song that come to my mind when I visit. It was our common Irish heritage that made us fast friends, in addition to her being such a lovely person. Maureen is in her nineties now, but she was born in Ireland before coming to the United States. I often ask her about her childhood in “The Old Country”.
On one occasion, after praying the Our Father, I asked her if she learned to pray in Irish. She immediately prayed the Irish Our Father to the astonishment of me as well as her daughter who had never heard her mother pray that before. Maureen has been blessed with many children, some who live here in Springfield. I have met half of them through my visits to the apartment. I am so grateful to her children for being so attentive to her. Maureen knows better than anyone how greatly blessed she is. I am always touched by her humility and gratitude that come from her faith. She never fails to say, “It’s so wonderful that you bring me Jesus.” Maureen is a gem of our parish, even if she isn’t as visible as the people we see every Sunday. She is an inspiration to me every time I have the privilege to visit her as well as the many other “hidden gems” of our parish family.