(John Collins – Rest in Peace)
John liked to use the royal ‘We’.
His was a noble line, without doubt.
He spoke often of his beloved mother, Imelda, and father, Paddy.
He was a twin. His sister Mary and he were always very close.
The whole family were very close. Deeply affectionate.
His dog Jesse slept at the foot of the bed.
The priest in confession in Medugorje once asked John to write out five good points about himself. He could not do this penance because he could not think of any good points in himself.
Kindness, generosity, self-acceptance, good humour and good Faith.
He was close to Jesus, the Sacred Heart.
He loved the Rosary and Our Lady. This grew on him towards the end.
Once when he was chairing an AA meeting in St. Ita’s hospital, (his second home), he caused uproar by pointing to the Sacred Heart on his Pioneer pin and proclaiming strongly:
“That is your Higher Power. Your only Man”.
(It is not a ‘religious’ program, you see)
Jesus was his life from a young age.
In school, he was only good at art and religious knowledge.
I am biased, of course, but I think he was specially gifted in both things.
He was also a bit of a seanachai. Entertaining his visitors in No.6, St. Mary’s place constantly with stories of his life rehashed endlessly with hilarious and ingenious slants. Tragedy and comedy are close.
John chose to live in joy. He chose to smile.
How he tried to give up smoking.
Don Devaney found him trying to smoke a tin of deodorant once
in the early morning in his room in Medugorje having packed the smokes in yet again. He was never far from oblivion.
He was a deeply wounded healer. Suffering intensely with his nerves.
Able to listen. Willing to listen. Absorbing grief and laughing it off
with a little help from the music of Burl Ives and Tina Turner
“A little bitty tear let me down” but
“Big wheels keep on turning, proud Mary keeps on burning….”
Ar dheis De go raibh a hanam.