Dom Kevin O’Farrell
Our much loved Dom Kevin O’Farrell died among us on 25 September 2006 after pending the last couple of months of his life, surrounded by tender loving care, in the community infirmary.
Dom Kevin was born in Cork City, Ireland, on St Patrick’s Day 1919 and was baptised, well yes, of course, Patrick John, at St Patrick’s the following day. He was the son of Maurice O’Farrell and Agnes Daly of Shanballymore. Dom Kevin loved to recount the local tradition that there was treasure buried around Shanballymore before an ancient battle and just waiting to be discovered. The locals can abandon the search for it because their treasure was buried here on 29 September. We are greatly indebted to Shanballymore and the O’Farrell family.
His father Maurice was married thrice, losing his first two wives in childbirth. Dom Kevin, and Sr Kevin who is a Cistercian nun at Glencairn, were born to Agnes, the second wife. A photo of Agnes and Maurice still hangs in Dom Kevin’s room. Half of his thirteen siblings survive him. To them we extend our loving and prayerful support.
The young Patrick received his secondary education from the Christian Brothers at Doneraile and then Cistercian College Roscrea. After a year as a civil servant in Dublin he entered Mt St Joseph Abbey, Roscrea, on 15 August 1937. He took his first and then final vows on 24 September in 1939 and 1942 respectively. Ordination to the priesthood followed on the 25 January 1945. For a time he held responsibilities in the College, and was Novice Master in Mt St Joseph when elected as first Abbot by the newly founded Tarrawarra community on 29th November 1958. He arrived from an Irish winter to a sweltering Melbourne summer on 17 January 1959, seven weeks later. His installation by Dom Camillus Claffey took place on 18 January, and his Abba€tial Blessing was conferred by Co€adjutor Archbishop Justin Simonds the following day.
Dom Kevin served the community as Abbot for thirty years. He retired from office on 1 September 1988. Prior to retirement he had indicated that he would return to Mt St Joseph on a sabbatical to allow fresh dynamics between his successor and the community to develop. This he did. He returned to Tarrawarra in January 1991 adding a rich dimension to our community life by his presence during his remaining fifteen years.