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The Crow Family

Winnipeg, Manitoba
November 25, 2003
  I am writing on behalf of Father Nicolas' (Uncle Joe's) family and the Friary to which he belonged. It is with great sadness that I advise you for those who do not already know, of his death on March 23rd, 2003.
  My name is Christie Crow and I am the grandniece of Father Nicolas (Uncle Joe). My grandmother was his sister Bryda Miller (nee Egan). In mid-March my family received news from Frances Lenihan in Athenry, Ireland that Uncle Joe had experienced a severe stroke. Three days later, I found myself in Ireland-unfortunately only in time to help with his funeral. I stayed on in Ireland for the eight days and experienced a tradition, which I, as a Canadian in my early twenties, would never have experienced otherwise.
   Uncle Joe's burial was a testimony to the fact that he was a much loved and respected man. His viewing was attended by members of the parish, friends and family, who then accompanied him to the Abbey for prayers. Following prayers, friends and family remained with the other Friars from the Abbey to share stories about a man who led a remarkable life. I felt honoured to be present and share in other's memories of him His funeral mass was attended by family members who arrived from Canada and all parts of Europe including children of each of his married brothers and sisters. Many of Uncle Joe's family had the opportunity to do readings during his funeral mass.
Following the mass, Uncle Joe was walked by some of the Friars, his family and friends to his gravesite, where more prayers were read and final blessings were done.
  By far the most amazing thing I observed was the respect and honour Uncle Joe was given while he was walked through Galway, from the Abbey to the gravesite. Cars and pedestrians stopped in the street, cyclist dismounted their bicycles, and storeowners came out to their doorways and bowed their heads as Uncle Joe passed by. Bearing witness to this tradition of honouring the dead is something I will never forget.

Among Uncle Joe's few possessions was an address book that contained family members and friends. He had a strong sense of family and in fact, was working on his family free. He was committed to remaining connected with his family members and that is why I chose to send you this letter. It was wonderful to meet family I had never met, to talk with people who knew Uncle Joe, and meet people who knew my grandmother who passed away over twenty-five years ago.

  Uncle Joe would have been happy that his family and friends had the opportunity to celebrate his life, meet again; and for some to meet for the first time.

  Sincerely, Christie Crow.