Saturday, July 17, 2010
Marie Van Wagner, RIP
Left to right: Jean and Marie Van Wagner, me and my mother, Lorraine Trouve
Recently a dear friend of my mother passed away, Marie Van Wagner. She and my mother had been friends almost their whole lives. They first got to know each other while working at a company in NY City. After each of them got married, they both moved out to Long Island and lived within a few miles of each other. So I remember Marie from my earliest years. She was one of the few people outside my family whom I knew for my entire life until now.
Marie had four children (pictured above with her daughter Jean). She was a wonderful person, a woman of deep faith and convictions, a devout Catholic. In the photo above, we are pictured around the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which Marie happened to be hosting just then when I was home on vacation.
Marie also loved cats, and I remember how she always had a few around whom she would feed and take care of. If any strays showed up, she didn't have the heart to turn them away. Her kindness was proverbial in the neighborhood. She always treated all the children so well. In fact, one mother's day, a kid from the neighborhood was at home with his own family and his father asked, "Who's the best mother of them all?" He immediately said, "Mrs Van Wagner" -- much to the chagrin of his own mother who was sitting right there!
Marie had many sufferings in her life, and she always knew how to deal with them in a spirit of great faith. In these last years her health declined, and she died on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. The reading that day from St. Paul's Second Letter to Timothy sums up her beautiful life:
"I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance."
I'm sure that when she passed into eternal life, Jesus and the Blessed Mother were there to welcome her: "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord!"
Thank you, Marie, for the gift you have been in my life!