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Dr Madeline Lombard RIP


The College community was deeply shocked to learn last Tuesday, 3rd May, of the sudden death of a respected and cherished colleague, Dr Madeleine Lombard. A Mass was offered for the repose of her soul in the College by the community on Wednesday, 4th May, and large numbers of Madeleine’s colleagues and students, past and present, attended her Requiem Mass on Friday, 6th May, in St Anne’s Church, Derriaghy.

Daughter of Maureen and Dr Jack McKiernan, also a former lecturer in St Mary’s, Madeleine was one of five sisters – Anne, Sr Claire, Martina and the late Maureen. She was married to Michael Lombard and had three children – Anna, Peter and John – and one grandson, Gianluca.

After completing her teacher formation, Madeleine taught in St John the Baptist Primary School, Finaghy, where she met Michael. She later joined the staff of the English and Drama Department of St Mary’s University College, where she has taught for over twenty-five years. She completed her PhD in 2003 at the University of Ulster on the topic of “The Values Dimension of Teacher Education”.

A talented musician, Madeleine played the organ for more than ten years in St Agnes' Parish, Andersonstown, and was known for her ability to write faith-related poetry.

Her daughter Anna, also a graduate of St Mary’s and currently a special needs teacher in Dublin, said of her mother, "She was always laughing and smiling, she loved the craic and she always had time to speak to anyone. Mum always had a joyful spirit, she was kind and generous in so many ways, she was a real 'people person' who had a way of understanding people.”

College Governor, Sr Lucina Montague, expressed her sincere sympathy when she heard of Madeleine’s sudden death.

Colleague Dr Brian Hanratty said, "Her warmth and sympathy, tempered by her ready wit, were greatly valued and appreciated by her colleagues and generations of students alike."

Tributes to the “kind-hearted lecturer” were expressed online by the Students’ Union at St Mary’s.

In the recent past Madeleine had taken responsibility for the College’s participation in Study USA and Judith Shaw, Head of the Higher Education Mobility Branch at the Department of Employment and Learning, wrote to the College to express her sympathy. She said:

“I know that Madeleine had recently joined the Study USA Steering Group, and her enthusiasm was evident from the start. She will be sadly missed”.

Madeleine Lombard will indeed be sadly missed by her family, friends and the whole community of St Mary’s.

When her father Jack McKiernan died, Madeleine wrote the following poem in his memory. The poem captures our experiences of Madeleine and our prayers for her at this time.


The Spirit Level by Madeleine Lombard