Friday, February 10, 2017

Irish widow speaks of pain after thieves snatch rosary beads from her husband's grave

An Irish widow has spoken of her pain after low-life thieves snatched rosary beads, blessed in Rome, from the grave of her husband.

But pensioner Catherine McNally, a devout Roman Catholic, has vowed: “I will pray for forgiveness for those responsible.

“I must do, otherwise how can I be forgiven?”

The 82-year-old, originally from Co Kilkenny, still cannot comprehend someone would stoop so low as to steal religious symbols from husband Jim’s grave at Brandwood End Cemetery, Birmingham.

“Who would so such a thing?” the former grocery worker asked.

“When I found out I nearly collapsed. I couldn’t hear. My knees almost gave in. They must have no conscience.

“If they try to flog them at a car boot sale, they won’t get far. No decent Catholic will buy them.”

Two sets of beads were placed on Jim’s grave three weeks ago. One, a mother of pearl rosary, was purchased – and blessed – in Rome by son, Gerard.
The other was bought by Catherine’s niece and blessed on Christmas morning at English Martyrs Church, Sparkhill.

They were stolen last week on the same day relatives spotted a dishevelled group of men swigging beer in the cemetery.

“The one from Rome meant everything to me,” Catherine told the Birmingham Mail. “I just beg whoever did this to put them back.”

Jim and Catherine, both originally from Ireland, had been married for 60 years.

The former sub-contractor died on September 15, 2015, at the age of 82 after suffering a stroke. He had fought a long battle with dementia.

Catherine, from Co Kilkenny, but now living in Hall Green, said: “He was a very good husband and he loved his grandchildren. He was a very good father and brought them up properly, and made sure they went to church. If one of them came home with a piece of chalk in their pocket they’d be frog-marched back to school. That was the way it was.”
The cruel crime was discovered when the grandmother visited Jim’s grave with members of the family.

“At first I thought they had been blown away,” said the grandmother to six, “but when I discovered the theft, I was devastated.

“I am surprised because I pray every day for everyone – the sick, the ill and even the Holy Souls.”
A cemetery worker said: “It is upsetting and very sad, especially for those of religious faith and convictions.”

Mourners place items on a grassed area in front of each grave at their own risk.

Andrea Haines, acting head of bereavement services at Birmingham City Council, said: “We deplore the actions of those who undertake such thoughtless acts, which cause a great deal of distress for the family and friends of the deceased.

“It is understandable that people want to place items to remind them of their loved ones, but due to the actions of thieves we advise that items of value are not left in cemetery grounds or vehicles when visiting.”

Catherine, who has lived in Birmingham since she was 15, has not contacted the police.

“In this day and age, what’s the point?” she added.

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