Mourners at the funeral of Pat Hume yesterday heard that she was a 'most humble and beautiful person' who was 'pure of heart'.
The 83 year-old wife of former SDLP leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume, passed away on Thursday after a short illness.
Her passing came just 13 months after the death of her husband, the man recognised as the chief architect of the North's peace process.
As mourners spilled into St Eugene's Cathedral for Mrs Hume's Requiem Mass yesterday morning (Monday), Bishop Donal McKeown welcomed all those in attendance.
“I welcome all of you to this house where Pat and John came so often to seek strength and to praise the God who can do great things,” he said
“During the ceremony, you are invited to participate as well as you can in the faith language of this community. Pat lived her life with the conviction that to your own self you must be true.
“She would commend that to all of us here today.”
During the funeral, celebrant Fr Paul Farren, spoke about Pat, a former teacher, and her late husband's unity in peacemaking.
“Pat Hume, whose funeral Mass we have gathered to celebrate this morning, was pure of heart,” he said.
“Pat had the purest heart of anybody I have ever met. Pat saw God in everybody that she met and her joy at seeing God was written over her face in her most wonderful smile and totally engaged and interested eyes.
“Pat was a most humble and beautiful person. Much has been said about John and Pat and their unity in peacemaking.
“It is all true and if John brought the brilliant mind to the peacemaking then Pat brought the pure heart.”
Fr Farren went on to say that Pat's 'pure heart was formed by two things – her faith and by her call to be a mother'.
“It was Pat’s faith which was a practical and living, contemplative and silent faith, nourished by the Eucharist here at Mass every day and with quiet prayer that enabled Pat to put the realities of life in the eternal context of God’s love,” said Fr Farren.
“This certainly was how Pat got through the tough days in her life. It was her faith that enabled her to see God in everybody she met.
“Pat served God in those she met and she served him faithfully. If you went to Pat with a problem your suffering became her suffering.
“Your pain became her pain. Your problem became hers to find a solution to and she found solutions in her
astute, wise, compassionate and quiet way that always avoided any type of fuss or focus on herself.”
Mourners also heard how Pat was a proud mother of five and a loving grandmother.
Fr Farren continued: “Pat, shaped and formed by her faith, did everything with a mother’s heart. She lived the vocation of motherhood in her home, in her community here in Derry and on the world stage.
“The vocation of a mother is the most important vocation in the world because the vocation of a mother is to give life, to give joy; it is to serve and to always put others first.
“Pat did all of these things in a most powerful, gentle, loving, profound and simple way. I know for you Therese, Aine, Aidan, John and Mo your mother created an oasis of love and security, trust and joy for you in the midst of much turmoil and danger in your young lives.
“When your home was being attacked, because your parents were committed to peace, your mother held you and protected you and never allowed you to lose confidence in the truth that peace is always more noble and stronger than violence.
“Pat’s mothering went so far beyond the five of you and her grandchildren, who she was so proud of. Pat mothered us all, from those she taught many years ago to every one of us, looking at our faces, detecting tiredness, telling us to rest.
“Her mothering enabled her to ask questions all about us and our families as soon as she met us and to be truly interested in our answers.
“She rarely told her own stories because she was so interested in our stories and she could laugh and it was infectious and it was the cause of so much joy.
“I suppose her greatest example of mothering came in how she cared for John, in his long illness, in the last years of his life.
“With John she was for ever patient, for ever loving, for ever gentle and an example to us all.”
Fr Farren revealed that Pat 'always lived for others and that was even revealed in the generous manner of her death'.
“We never wanted her to leave this world because it was always brighter and more joyful when she was here,” he said.
“But today we pray that she has heard John calling ‘Pat’ again and that he had brought her to the heart of God where they are united forever.
“We continue to pray for you Pat’s family, that as you rejoice in the gift of your mother, you will find peace and hope in your faith in Jesus who has defeated the power of death and who is present on the altar every time we celebrate Mass.
“We pray for Pat. It was no wonder that it was her heart that was worn out, because she truly gave her heart to God and to us all.
“We pray that rather than just remembering Pat we will be inspired to do as she did and to see God in the other and so be true peace makers ourselves – children of God.
“We pray that Pat is now experiencing the fulfilment of the beatitude – blessed are the pure in heart and that she is seeing God face to face for ever and ever.”
Following Requiem Mass, Mrs Hume was laid to rest in the city cemetery.
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