In Memoriam

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Mamie Kirby Brennan and Children

Today is the 90th anniversary of the death of my great-aunt Mamie Kirby Brennan and of her two children, one year old Edward and four year old Edna. They died during the epidemic of the Spanish Influenza that swept through New Haven, Connecticut in January 1919. Here is the obituary notice that appeared in the local newspaper ninety years ago:

BRENNAN -- Sad indeed was the sudden death of Mrs. Mamie Kirby Brennan, which occurred on Saturday morning, January 4th, and scarcely had her spirit fled ere her little babe, Edward, one year old reach out his tiny hands and joined his mother in death. The little daughter, Edna, aged four years, soon followed and the triple funeral was held on Tuesday morning from their late home on Lamberton Street and later from St. Peter's Church.
As the two hearses passed side by side to their last resting place followed by the grief-stricken husband and relatives it caused many an eye to moisten with tears when the thought that this once happy little family had been parted in so short a space of time. One little baby of two years is all that is left to comfort the sorrowing husband and father.
Mrs. Brennnan was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Kirby, who died some years ago and left her a mere child. Her devoted aunt, Mrs. Mary Kirby Halligan, tenderly cared for her through her girlhood and watched her grow to womanhood endowed with all the graces of a Christian woman. She was married to Mr. Edward Brennan five years ago and three children were born to them. It seems sad to think that life held so much for the young wife and mother, but God doeth things for the best. God was merciful to also call the little babes that were laid in her arms that enfolded them in death even as she had done in life. Universal sympathy is extended to the sad hearts that will ever mourn the loved ones who have gone on before.

In a happy little homestead
Amid love and tender care
Dwelt this loving little family
With future hopes fond and fair,
But one day Death summoned
The gentle mother to her long rest
With one babe laid beside her
And the other clasped to her breast.

The days will be filled with sorrow,
The nights so sad and drear
For the grieving hearts so bereft
Who will shed many a silent tear:
But in God's holy Kingdom
Far above the starry sky
Dwells this saintly mother and her babes
In that beautiful land on high.
-- L.B.F.

The above verses are dedicated to this dear mother and to her babes, also to her sorrowing husband, and to her devouted aunt, Mrs. Mary Halligan.

(Mrs. Louise B. Flanigan)


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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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