No, not a sequel to the film, “Four Weddings and a Funeral”…
I’ve been back at the motherhouse in Baden, PA for a week making my annual retreat. We’ve had an unusual number of deaths of our sisters in a short time span – so much loss, and yet, I’ve experienced a real celebration of the lives of our sisters. This is one of those times that I wonder how one could endure without the faith that after death, there is life forever with God.
In the midst of celebrating the lives of our dear ones who have gone to God, we also celebrated the Silver (25 years) Jubilee of one of our sisters who has been in New Mexico for a number of years ministering with our Navajo brothers and sisters. It had been a number of years since I had seen Jackie, and it was good to see her and to celebrate life in a different way from these other celebrations that we are in the midst of.
The sister who welcomed us at Jackie’s jubilee mentioned how our motherhouse chapel has been such a sacred place for us, and I thought how true that is for me specifically as well. We welcome new members in this chapel, and give great send-offs to those whose time with us has ended. We celebrate jubilees and spend time in deliberate communal prayer at times when we are most in need of some direction from the Holy Spirit. I wasn’t here on 9/11, but I imagine many of our sisters in the Pittsburgh area made their way to Baden to join the motherhouse community in grief and solidarity.
I recall at one point in my early years here sitting alone in chapel praying about my next step in the process of becoming a member, and I had this overwhelming sense of the presence of all the sisters who had gone before in death, circling around me and giving me support and encouragement, making it easier for me to see that this was where I belonged.
I suppose some of you may have had experiences of overwhelming confirmation of a life choice or some other important choice you’ve made. I encourage you to recall any such experiences often and let the memory of them carry you through the times you may be wondering (as I sometimes do) what you may have gotten yourself into. I also find that sharing those stories helps make us see that we are really all in this together, so I welcome anything any of you would like to share.
On another note, while I know that we may need a break from funerals and losses, I think I would make an exception for Sr. Dorothy, about whom I wrote in May. She was told at that time that she was expected to die within a week, and she is still waiting for Jesus to come for her. So if you are moved to pray for us as we lay our sisters to rest these days, please also pray for Dorothy, that God will bless her waiting.
It’s back to Detroit for me tomorrow. I hope to hear from some of you soon…the blog has been quiet this week…have you all been on retreat also?