Thursday morning saw a very special ceremony at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Mullingar, when Sr. Veronica Moore made her profession of vows to formally enter the eremitical life.
During the Mass, celebrated by Bishop Smith in the Cathedral on Thursday morning, Sr Veronica, originally from Oldcastle, vowed herself to a life of simplicity, solitude and prayer.
Welcoming her decision, the Bishop paid tribute to her earlier life of 40 years' service as a religious sister and nurse with the Mercy Sisters in Zambia, where she cared for people who are among the poorest in the world.
"Leaving this life of active service", the Bishop said, "Sr Veronica now finds a new way of offering her life to God and her brothers and sisters. Hers will be a life of quiet witness and constant prayer, uniting herself more closely to the Lord and assisting all of us with her daily prayer".
Bishop Smith drew on the example of Saint Oliver Plunkett, who returned from Rome to offer his life in the service of justice and peace, giving the ultimate sacrifice in his martyrdom at Tyburn in 1681. "The life of the Church flows from the strength of prayer. The vocation to pray is rooted deep in the mystery of the human person, each one of us called to grow in closer friendship with the Lord, who is the source of our peace. When we pray for others and for the needs of the world, we are offering a powerful gift to the life of our community", Bishop Smith explained.
Sr Veronica was joined in the celebration by members of her own family, as well as religious sisters and parishioners from Mullingar community, who congratulated her on her new vocation.
She will be resident in Bishopsgate Street.
Speaking after the ceremony, she said "The change from being a terribly busy nurse in Zambia to 'doing nothing' has been relatively easy. God has taken over quietly and gently. I really believe that more things are wrought by prayer that this world could even dream of."
Dr. Veronica is the fourth person in recent years to live as a hermit in the Diocese of Meath in recent years. Sr Patricia Conway in Multyfarnham and Sr Una Kearney in Tubber-Moate have already professed their vows to live the eremitical life, while Fr David Jones in Duleek will do so in a similar ceremony in the Cathedral on Monday 4 October, the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.