Gertie, a parishioner in Francis Street Parish will be 94 in a few weeks
time. Most of us by the time we're 64 are taking it easy, but not our
Gertie. For years she has been selling her "toilet roll dolls" in aid of
By now she has raised almost €70,000. In spite of her years she is still
hand sewing the beautiful lace outfits for her dolls. In the beginning
these dolls were bought by her neighbours and friends, now they find
their way to places as afar away as the USA.
When she was in her seventies, she was asked how long more she could
keep doing this. She simply said, "for as long as people will buy them".
People are still buying them and Gertie is still spending hours making
them. As someone who has survived cancer herself, she understands only
too well the need for research.
But Gertie, is not a "one talent" person. She has always loved dancing
and still does! She gives weekly demonstrations in a local residence for
the "elderly"! Why, you might ask can she still do all this at 94. It's
very simple, she has always loved life and made the most of it.
It's not that she has had an easy time of it. Last year her beloved
husband Mick died. She still has days when she is sad, but as Gertie
says, "I talk to him all the time".
If I were to describe Gertie, I would say she is a "generous spirit".
That's where true happiness comes from. Life that revolves solely around
our own "needs" is a cul de sac. There are thousands of books written
about how to live a long happy life - and numerous "programmes" you can
follow. However, if you want to know what the real secret of a long
happy life is, I can tell you in one word; generosity!
Fr. Matin Dolan
Gertie died in her 100th year
on Friday 7th February 2014.