Tessa, Mum, Michael

Eulogy for Mum Monica Josephine Crook, my mother and mother to four children, was truly a wonderful person, devoted to God and family. Mum came from a big Irish family living in Melbourne at the time of the Great Depression. Her mother Mary Catherine Walsh and father Edward Burke raised 10 children. After having 4 girls in a row, her father despaired of having any boys, and then along came 6 of them. Coming from a large family may have been why Mum had such a great love of children – her own and others. In her younger years Mum worked as a Mother Craft Nurse looking after orphaned children. She often spoke of that time in her life and it was clearly important to her. She was deeply religious and would have chosen life as a nun; but her love of children won out and she picked a life of marriage, with children of her own. We are grateful she chose that path. Mum was always strong willed and the type of person to follow a road less travelled. In fact she travelled, literally, all over the world during her life. After her father died when she was in her 20’s, she took off from Australia by herself and travelled to Europe and the United Kingdom. She regaled us with tales of hitchhiking around parts of Ireland with a couple of female friends (not Northern Ireland, she was always keen to point out). She was a beautiful young woman and attracted the attention of a number of foreign men, breaking a few hearts on the way. She would have loved to have married one European man in particular, but he chose the church and life as a priest. She eventually met her husband Paul Crook in England and married at the age of 34 – unusual in those days – she was waiting for just the right person. Back then, Dad was a student studying history at the London School of Economics. Their first child, Lisa, was born in England and shortly after, they all travelled by ship back to Australia to start a life in Brisbane. Mum was never too keen on Brisbane, compared to her hometown of Melbourne. She didn’t like the summer heat and humidity, and missed her family and place of birth. Dad worked at the University of Queensland while Mum worked at home, selflessly raising her children. Peter was the second child, followed by Daniel and then the youngest me – Gabrielle. Four children in five years and we all had our moments. Mum lived her life as a devout catholic – some would say she was more catholic than the pope. She was particularly devoted to Mary, mother of God – Our Lady – and it is of great comfort that we are here today at Our Lady of the Rosary, Kenmore. And today, of all days, is the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary – I’m sure Mum planned it that way! Mum was deeply moved by the Marion sites of the world – Fatima, Lourdes, and Medugorje – places where Mary has appeared to the devoted. I travelled in May 1995 with Mum to Bosnia on a pilgrimage to the town of Medugorje. Problem was the Bosnian war was raging and thousands of people had been killed in the conflict. She felt she had to travel to this small village to receive blessings from Our Lady. Well, I just had to go with Mum to make sure she didn’t get blown up. After a very long journey, including two plane flights and a 3 hour bus trip on winding mountainous roads, we arrived at the small town of Medugorje. The largest building in the town was a cathedral. The only sign of the conflict was the presence of NATO soldiers in the cafes, large rifles at their sides, and the odd tank roaming around town. Mum said that Medugorje was protected by God so we would be safe and we were. The pilgrimage was for one week and Mum said the rosary about 5 times a day and went to mass twice a day. There was a trek up Mt Crucifix to worship at the foot of a giant white cement cross. I had to literally push Mum up the narrow paths to get there and I still don’t know how she did it. She was that kind of person – dedicated, devoted and compassionate. Always putting the needs of others before her own. In recent years, she has lived with and supported fully her adult son Daniel who has acquired brain injury from a motor bike accident. She deserved a gold medal for taking on this task of carer, in what should be a grandmother’s peaceful retirement years. But, she would say, ‘that’s what mothers do’. Now I would like to read a poem I wrote for Mum last year.

Our lady of the Rosary

Our mother’s devotion to another mother’s devotion to a son crucified for us all.

A garland of roses a string of prayers to Mary for her son and for her own son.

Joyful Mysteries Sorrowful Mysteries Glorious Mysteries


she douses the flames with meditation while rubbing well worn beads between thumb and finger

Rosary beads worry beads.

Mum – you are admired and loved and we will miss you terribly, but you lived a great and full life and you knew it was your time to meet the Lord. I’m sure that God is delighted to have such a devoted soul as yours enter the kingdom of heaven! This eulogy was written by Gabrielle Bryden for her Mum (Monica Josephine Crook). ______________________________________________________________________________

Monica Josephine Crook (nee Burke) 1st September 1925 – 3rd October 2010

Monica Josephine Crook (nee Burke) late of Kenmore Hills passed away peacefully, surrounded by family on the 3rd October, 2010. Beloved mother of Lisa, Peter, Daniel and Gabrielle. Devoted grandmother to Michael,Tessa, Chanel, Giles, Portia, and Wilhem. Funeral mass and celebration of Monica’s life held Thursday, 7th October (11am) at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, Kenmore Brisbane (feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary).

41 thoughts on “Eulogy for Mum

  1. your mum was a rare and exceptional woman. god bless her. you took after her in your own strength and uniqueness gabrielle. wonderful eulogy, especially nice to know her thru your words. i remember your writing on the trip to Medugorje, what an amazing experience you both had. i am so sorry for your loss. thinking of you and wishing you and your family the comfort of beautiful memories and everlasting love

  2. What a beautiful and deeply spiritual eulogy, Gabrielle. Lots of loving details. That trip you took together must have been an amazing experience. How wonderful that you shared that journey as well as many other journeys through this life as mother and daughter. Thank you for posting this and sharing it. (And let me hand you another tissue–having just lost my mom, I know what you’re going through…take care of yourself!)

  3. There can be no greater validation of a life well lived than a family that loves and is loved. That shines through in your loving tribute. By the way, so glad you both survived Bosnia! 🙂

  4. What a lovely tribute to your mum … she certainly achieved an awful lot! It was nice to read of her through your words.

    I’m sending all the very best of my thoughts to you and your family Gabrielle.

  5. A beautiful mother, a beautiful daughter. You are your lovely mother’s legacy Gabrielle, her gift to the world. I send my love and hugs my Aussie sister friend at this time of letting go.

  6. My thoughts are with you at this time. Learning to live without a mother’s presence in your life will be hard, but how lucky you are to have had that for such a long time. What a remarkable woman your mother was. May she rest in peace, and may you take comfort in her own certainty about what form that peace would take.

    1. I am lucky I had my Mum for such a long time. My husband lost his mother when she was relatively young and my friend lost her mum when she was little, so I am grateful. Thanks Chartreuse for your wise words.

  7. What a marvelous woman. I can tell you count yourself lucky to have had her in your life. I am sorry for your loss, Gabrielle, but am happy that you remember so many wonderful things about her.

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