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In the selected first Reading from the book of Ecclesiastes, we all heard that 
"there is a sacred time for life and for death".

This past Wednesday morning, God invited our sisters Mary Virginia and Daniel Marie home forever. Their passing, like their lives was quiet and yet quite full.
Full of incredible graces that made them the women of God they were to us and to so many they encountered throughout their lives.

Many of us were comforted to realize that they were both returned to God on the solemn Feast of All Saints Day.
Our faith repeatedly tells us that if we are faithful to God with our lives, 
God is forever faithful to us.
Through that promising belief, we can rest assured that on the Feast, we added two more faithful souls to the ever growing Communion of Saints.

So we ask ourselves now, what is the fullness of grace that flowed into our lives, touched our souls and perhaps even shaped our hearts, that came to us through these women of God?

glory 02For Sr. Mary Virginia, it was the simple things of her life and character that spoke loudly to all of us. If we could put into words these precious qualities, it would be her graciousness, her gentleness and her gratitude for everything and everyone.

Those of us that knew Sr. Mary Virginia or Ginny as we fondly called her, experienced her graciousness every single day. From her early rising, she would often be the first person to greet you, not only with words but with a warm smile and those sparkling eyes of hers. She had a real gift of making you feel welcomed and as if she was just waiting for you to show up.

Her graciousness was shown in how she managed to discover what you liked, which color was your favorite, which things brought you joy or pleasure.
Once she made these discoveries, your life would be blessed with her giftedness.
For most of her life, you could count on Ginny sending you a greeting for any special occasion always with a handwritten message of appreciation or encouragement.

Mary Virginia was a gentle soul with a strong inner core. She would consistently search and seek for the positive and possible in any person or when facing any situation.

So unassuming in her ways, Ginny would be there to lend a hand, or take on a task or even go out of her way to add pleasure or joy to your life.

Captivated by nature in all its beauty, she joyed in sharing it with others.. 
She loved adding beauty to any setting whether it was planting bulbs for springtime or clipping seasonal flowers and plants to make a bouquet for our entrance way. 
Her presence alone, added its own form of beauty to our lives.

An overlaying value that touched all of our lives was her inherent sense of gratitude. She never seemed to fall short of having thank you on her lips for the simplest of daily things that we most often all take for granted. Every day we heard her say, as she passed the sacristy door, " Thank you Father"
Mary Virginia lived gratitude.

So we say to you dear sister....thank you for teaching us about what graciousness, gentleness and gratitude look like and how to live it.

glory 01And then what shall we say of our dear sister Daniel Marie, fondly called Daniela by most? What lessons have you taught us so well by your well lived life?

A strong lesson woven throughout her life was that of humility. A woman of countless gifts and abilities, Sr. Daniel Marie made herself available to all that was asked of her by God, by the Congregation or through others.

She graciously and freely spent herself, never rationing her gifts depending on who had asked her or considering first what the task demanded of her.

Blessed with a keen and sharp intellect, she used her gifts to better most every challenge in life. She readily owned her shortcomings and would often seek to personally right a wrong.

Sr. Daniela was a woman of generosity. She most willingly took on whatever was asked of her with a smile on her lips and a clear determination to complete the task to the best of human ability. It was usually obvious to all who encountered her, that she was willing to roll up her sleeves and get busy with the charge at hand. She left an indelible imprint on the hearts and lives of all she met, most especially her forever friends in Brazil and Senegal. She managed through her own God given gifts to improve the quality of life for many people, including those she would never personally meet.
 

A special grace, Sr. Daniela possessed was her love for those who were poor or in need. There seemed to be no way, one could hold her back from voicing or making known their need or receive care or service in the best possible form. 
She was a living advocate of and for the poor. Even in most recent years, she continued to secure or even make herself various items to give to those in need.

For both Sr. Mary Virginia and Sr. Daniel Marie their lives were glued together through their prime relationship, their loving relationship to God. As full and overflowing as their lives were with people encounters, it was their daily encounter with God that made their lives possible, fruitful and faithful.

Let us close with a thought to hold in our hearts now and in the days ahead taken from the writings of the late theologian Karl Rahner

"The great and sad mistake of many people is to imagine that those whom death has taken, leave us.
They do not leave us. They remain!
Where are they? In the darkness?
Oh no!
It is we who are in the darkness.
We do not see them, but they see us.
Their eyes radiate glory and are fixed on our eyes.
O infinite consolation!
Though invisible to us, our dead are not absent.
They are living near us, transfigured into Light, into power, into Love."


Sr. Marilyn Trowbridge, SFP

Published: November 27, 2017