Sister Eileen (Helen St. John) Finnigan (1944-2022)

Sister Eileen Marie Finnigan was born in Dorchester, the beloved daughter of John A. and Helen F. (Doolin) Finnigan. She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1963 and took the name Sister Helen St. John.

Sister Eileen taught at Notre Dame Academy, Worcester; Saint Gregory High School, Dorchester; Saint Clare High School, Roslindale and Notre Dame Education Center, South Boston. For the past 11 years she was the bookkeeper for the Common Market Restaurants in Quincy.

Sister Eileen died on Sunday, January 16, 2022 at the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Residence in Ipswich, Mass.

Eileen Finnigan, SNDdeN with young family members.

She was the sister of the late John A. Finnigan, Jr. She leaves behind her devoted and beloved cousins Kevin Doolin and Mary Ann (Doolin) Scannell and her faithful Sisters in community, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

Funeral services were held on Friday, January 21st at Our Lady Queen Chapel. To view a recording of Sister Eileen's funeral services, please click here. The first section of the video is a reflection period, followed by a sharing of memories and then the funeral Mass.

Sister Eileen is buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Dorchester.

Eulogy for Sister Eileen

Good afternoon. Eileen’s family deeply appreciates all of you gathering here today, whether in person or virtually, to celebrate her life.

Eileen loved her family (mother Helen, father John, brother Jackie and his family, aunts, uncles, cousins, and sisters). She was proud of her Dorchester roots and being a Notre Dame Sister.

When I visited Eileen on New Year’s Day, she bravely decided to stop treatment and move to hospice care. Later, she dictated her obituary to me making it abundantly clear she wanted it kept brief and unadorned. And so today, I will abide by those wishes.

Whether you wanted to talk about an important life issue or just chat about everyday occurrences, she always made time to first listen before she rendered a thoughtful, honest opinion. I loved to make her laugh, which was not a difficult thing to do. She was the perfect audience for a would-be comedian.

With a 19-year age difference between us, we were adults before we grew close. Close enough to where we often referred to each other as sisters.

Speaking of sisters, It was inspiring for me to witness the love and devotion of her Notre Dame Sisters and community. Eileen’s family and friends are so grateful for your steadfast and loving support. It has served as a tremendous source of comfort to us and we are forever grateful.

In a recent conversation Eileen confessed, not surprisingly, that she was an introvert. But her love of God, family and friends spoke volumes. Eileen faced her terminal diagnosis with courage using her strong faith as an anchor. This strength helped her speak openly with people, saying her goodbyes and sharing what was in her heart and mind.

Those last few weeks were a bittersweet time, but the sweet part was how special it was to have the chance to shower her with so much love and prayers before she left this world.

When I said my goodbye to Eileen, I told her God was waiting for her in an ocean full of love.
Then I quickly added – no wait, forget that – you don’t like the ocean. I told her God is waiting for you in a field of sunflowers. Your mother, father and brother
are there too.

To honor Eileen’s Irish roots, let me close with the Irish Blessing

May the roads rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon you face,
May the rains fall soft upon the fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Godspeed Eileen.

Mary Ann Scannell, Sister Eileen's cousin

Sister Eileen Finnigan, SNDdeN with her family at her last Jubilee celebration.

If you’d like to make a gift to the Sisters in Sister Eileen's memory online, please click here or to give by mail or phone, please click here.