07 February 2009

Request for prayers from Columban Father Sean Anthony Dunne

Fr Sean Anthony Dunne is a Columban who was ordained in Ireland in December 1951 and is living now at St Columban's in Ireland. He has spent much of his life as a priest making movies about the work of Columbans in different countries. He also worked in the Philippines. I was unable to find a photo of Father Sean but have included one of his look-alike, James Cagney. The similarity has never proven to be a disadvantage to Father Sean!

He sent this request for prayers to his friends. I do not know the result of his consultation yesterday nor of Father Sean's final decision. I know that you will pray for him and for those taking care of him. I'm sure too that you will be strengthened in your faith by that of this dedicated priest.

On Thursday, January 22, accompanied by Fr Bernie Mulkerns, the director of our Columban Nursing Home, Geraldine one of our staff nurses, and my sister Mary Vaughan, I met at the Beaumont Hospital with Marie Theresa O’Callaghan, the speech and language therapist, Rosemary McMahon, the ENT oncology nurse and Dermot McDermott, who underwent laryngectomy five years ago and is now fully recovered and speaking using the TRACHEO ESOPHAGEAL PUNCTURE (TEP) METHOD which is how I will have to learn to "speak" again.

It was a worthwhile and productive meeting in which the operation and procedures involved after the operation were explained, illustrated and discussed in gruesome detail. It is, indeed, a very radical and life-changing operation and I could not but wonder if at my age, I was capable of enduring such an operation. I was assured that Professor Walsh would not advise this operation unless he was sure that it was the correct, and only solution to my problem, and that my general health, my mental disposition and my emotional outlook made me a suitable subject to undergo this operation.

Nevertheless, it is still a daunting decision to have to make and while at this point I am almost sure to go ahead with the operation, I still have lingering doubts to leave good enough alone and to let nature take its course.

I am depending on prayer, especially those Masses and prayers of family friends and confreres to help me arrive at the right decision and, if that be a laryngectomy, to sustain me through the operation and the aftermath. The bottom line has to be, and is, "Thy Will Be Done": complete and total trust in God and in the surgeon and team into whose hands and expertise, God entrusts me.

Again, I am deeply grateful for all the Masses and prayers; they have sustained me and will continue to do so.

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