Congregational Register No: 457
First Profession: 26.04.1960
Died: 25.01.2007 Aged: 75 years
Maura was the only child of James and Mary Ramsbothom of Mountmellick, Co. Laois. She was educated by the Presentation Sisters and went on to college in Dublin to study music and become a national school teacher. She was a clever, gifted young woman with great energy, rarely having a free moment to herself. She taught music and coached choir and drama groups and was a very active member of the Legion of Mary.
Maura entered MMM in 1957, taking the name Sr. Mary Mathona. Her potential was quickly recognised, and it was noted that she was very gifted, earnest and generous and gave ‘great promise as a future novice mistress’.
Maura’s first assignment following first profession in 1960 was directress of postulants at Clonmel. Thereafter she spent her time between Nigeria and Ireland, working in formation ministry, teaching scripture, Christology, and liturgy, and leading leadership training programmes and facilitation groups. She loved Nigeria and its people and was very involved with our young Nigerian Sisters and their families and friends. Maura loved and appreciated the rich liturgies, lively celebrations and many other aspects of Nigerian culture. She truly embraced Nigeria and its people and they embraced her in return. Following Maura’s death one young MMM Nigerian Sister wrote: ‘As the news of Maura’s death sinks in deep and painful in each and every one of us Nigerians, I assure you that all of us are united in our loss from all corners of the world. Maura was a great woman, who did so much for and with us Nigerians. She believed in us and identified with us. To say that Nigeria will miss Sr. Maura is an understatement. We take solace in the good work she did and the footprint she left in Nigeria’.
Maura had the special gift of ‘listening with a disciple’s ear’ (Rule of St. Benedict). She lived MMM’s charism to the full. She sought to see God in all things’ and brought a joy and her own special radiance to everything that she did, winning friends wherever she went.
This joy remained with Maura to her death. She had returned to Ireland for a medical check-up and her diagnosis came as a great shock to her and to everyone else. Yet she continued to live each moment of her life to the fullest extent possible. She constantly expressed her gratitude to God, to MMM, and to all who visited her or sent letters and gifts. To the end she was welcoming and appreciative to everyone. She left a great gift to MMM. In the time that was left to her she collected and collated extracts from Mother Mary’s letters. These were put on cards with one saying for each day of the year. They were distributed to all MMM Sisters. This was the essence of Maura: always loving, always giving – a great woman and a great MMM.
Maura’s funeral Mass was one of thanksgiving. She would have loved the Nigerian hymns and dance, accompanied by Nigerian musical instruments. It was a true tribute to her life and to her ministry.