Anne, a midwife at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, 1973
The whole community, and much further afield, was greatly saddened to hear of the death of Anne MacKintosh on Tuesday morning, February 11th, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
We were all very much aware that Anne had been diagnosed in April with terminal cancer, and she was very much in our prayers. She carried on so bravely, leading as normal a life as possible, until things became too difficult. She still managed to come to Mass on Sundays up until three weeks before she died, but by this time it was so evident that the disease was taking its severe toll on her health.
She was moved to Moss Park Home on Sunday afternoon on the advice of the doctor, and with all the comfort of the sacraments, she passed peacefully to God on Tuesday morning.
There is so much I would like to say about Anne that I have decided to print parts of the homily that was given at her Requiem Mass.
I must admit that it is not going to be easy for me to give this homily for dear Anne who was so special our parishioners and so very special to myself for all the love and devotion she gave in the service of Almighty God and to this parish.
We all have our own memories of Anne, and I am sure they are very precious and sacred, for Anne was first and foremost a very holy and devout woman who lived her entire life in the presence of God, and from this she found the grace and strength to fulfil her high ideals and the many commitments she made to others The basis of this holiness and gentleness was her beautiful humility which was an exemplary virtue in her life. How she followed the teaching of Christ when he said: Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart. How true this was of Anne. On looking back on her life, I think we can all realise that we were in the presence of a very holy and humble woman.
Remember the incident in the Gospel when Christ arrived at the home of Martha and Mary, two devout sisters. Mary remained at the feet of Christ while Martha was busy in the kitchen.
She complained to our Lord about her sister not helping her, and he replied: Martha, Martha, you worry about so many things, but Mary has chosen the better part.. Our Lord could not have said that of Anne, for she was both Martha and Mary, and cleverly combined all her practical work in a service
I chose the Gospel of the Eucharist for this was the very source of Anne's spiritual life, and from this she gained such a deep faith and trust in God’s Holy Will, and she was so strong and resolute as regards this. When the diagnosis was confirmed that she had terminal cancer, she discussed it with me: I said: Anne, personally, and as a parish, we will pray and pray to God, make a novena to St. Mary MacKillop and do everything in our power to move heaven and earth -
To give her spiritual consolation and strength, I brought her holy communion each day, for I knew that these meetings with Christ in the depth of her heart were more important to Anne than anything else, and she shared each communion with Sandy that he too might find strength in his anxiety about her. These moments were such evidence to me of Anne's private holiness which I was privileged to witness.
She was very brave and discussed very early on the future outcome with a member of the family, making all the necessary arrangements for when her time would come, and she actually chose two of the hymns for today's Mass — Be thou my vision, and the Lourdes hymn to Our Lady. This was almost prophetic for she was to die on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11th. This was Anne’s strength to face the future whatever was to happen, and leave it entirely the hands of Almighty God.
She was a living example to all who knew her during these long months: she never complained, never gave in to her emotions but remained so gentle, humble and strong. I pray to God that when my time comes and I may have the same acceptance and peace of soul as Anne had, trusting in God's holy will. Anne, as we all know, was a very committed midwife and served in her profession for 23 years. She trained at Raigmore, Inverness, and Rotten Row, Glasgow, under the supervision of the renowned professor Donaldson, then returned to Inverness for eleven years and transferred to the Belford Hospital for 12 years -
No mothers could have wished to have a more gentle, kind or supportive midwife than Anne to bring their babies into the world, and to give them the courage and reassurance that they needed at such an emotional moment in their lives.
(Continued on page 4)