Sr Rose Martin (Cabrini) came from a Border family in Co Cavan, which may have contributed to her abiding concern for anyone on the margins, and especially the dying.
Rose entered in Milford in 1953 and made final profession in 1960. Soon after nurse training, she was dispatched to do midwifery training at Our Lady of Lourdes (Medical Missionaries of Mary) Hospital in Drogheda. Responsibility came early in Rose’s religious life. In the mid-seventies, she was embarking on two terms as province leader. The changes and upheaval after Vatican II featured largely in Rose’s life,.
Her biggest venture was the establishment of what is today, Milford Care Centre in Castletroy, Limerick. In the late 1970’s Ireland still did not have a purpose-built Hospice; and it would fall to Rose to spearhead this development. She saw the philosophy of palliative care as an integral part of the legacy of Mary Potter. Bravely she launched on public speaking and fundraising campaigns -another new challenge. Quality palliative care was to be available at Milford for anyone in the mid-west who needed it.
There were logistical problems also: the LCM land available for the development was at the front of stately Milford House; but the new hospice would need access to kitchens etc -at the back! The professionals with solutions were all assembled in due course, many giving their time and expertise voluntarily, not to mention hosts of fundraisers and other volunteers. Thus the foundations of what is today an enormous and growing world class facility, were laid in friendship and sacrifice.
Once relieved of office, Rose channelled her abiding concern for wholistic care of the dying into parish ministry in the suburban parish of Clondalkin in Dublin. With other community members there, she led and modelled this kind of care in homes and the local nursing home, inspiring members of the newly-revived Greater Company of Mary. Associates spoke movingly at her funeral about what her calm and prayerful presence meant to themselves, as laypeople launching out on parish ministry. A contemplative prayer group was established in the house and was continued by the Associates long after the LCM withdrew from the area.
In later life and through her many sufferings Rose grew in holiness and patience, invariably smiling a welcome until, early one morning, she slipped quietly away to the God she loved and served so faithfully.