Friday, March 18, 2011
Yesterday we had Sr Cecilia's funeral. It was a wonderful experience of faith and hope. At the wake the evening before, the sisters had prepared a truly beautiful slide show of pictures from Sr Cecilia's whole life. It also included a recording she had made shortly before her death, when she knew she was approaching eternity.
She said that even though after death she would no longer be present with us physically, she would be with us spiritually, united in Christ and the Holy Spirit. She added that she wanted to be able to help those she left behind, and encouraged us all to ask her to intercede for all of our special intentions. It reminded me of what St Therese had said, that she wanted to spend her heaven doing good on earth.
Finally, she summed it all up by saying that the most important thing is to love each other. Looking at the imminent end of her life, she commented that everything looks so different when we approach death. Love is the goal, love of God and love of one another. This message was printed on her memorial card: "There are in the end three things that last; faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians, 13:13).
Thank you, Sr Cecilia, for this beautiful legacy of your life, a life so well lived with such a great example of holiness. We will miss you!
Friday, March 11, 2011
This morning around 3:30, Sr Cecilia Paula died of complications from cancer. She was 57 years old and had battled cancer for the past few years.
I got to know Sr Cecilia a little better when she was the local superior of our Boston community about, in the late 90s. She was always a very conscientious sister, careful to observe the vows and a spirit of poverty.
Sr Cecilia had a good sense of humor too. One summer I went with her and a couple other sisters (including her blood sister, Sr Jane) to the Courage conference in Ottawa. We had a book display and recorded the conference talks, as we do every year. It was an eventful trip when a lot of funny things happened. On the way up we stopped at a friend's house in Vermont. As we drove into the parking lot of a nearby plaza, our car conked out. Right at that moment, our friend just happened to drive in and saw us. Then the car mysteriously started up again and was fine for the rest of the trip. We got stuck in a huge traffic jam on a bridge in Montreal because a lawn mower had fallen off someone's truck. Sr Cecilia had a really good humor about the whole thing. Then when we arrived at the conference, we found we were staying in a remoter part of an old retreat house. The hot water to that part had been shut off, naturally. Then a bat got in and was flying around the hallway near our book display. On the way home we narrowly avoided an accident when some lady went through a red light and barely missed us, but looked at us as if we had no right to be on the road. It was a funny trip and Sr Cecilia kept her good humor throughout the whole thing.
Now she is with the Lord. I am grateful for the gift that she was in my life. May she rest in peace, and enjoy the eternal reward she so richly deserves.
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Today, Shrove Tuesday, is the feast of the Holy Face of Jesus. This feast is not on the liturgical calendar anymore, but it may be observed privately through prayers and devotions.
The devotion was popularized by a nun, Sr Pierina. She died in 1945 and was beatified in 2010 by Pope Benedict.
Some prayers to Jesus honoring his Holy Face are here. This devotion was a favorite of St. Therese, whose full profession name was "Therese of the Infant Jesus and of the Holy Face."