Past, Present and Future

When I first came back from the Novitiate, I spent a lovely year living at St. Mary-on-the-Lake with our elderly and truly retired (from active ministry anyway) Sisters.  Each morning before I headed across the lake to my own ministry in Seattle, I would join the Sisters to pray the daily office in the Chapel.  My seat in the Chapel was behind Sisters Johanna and Geraldine, both of whom are with God now (the picture is one I took of Sister Johanna on her last day of life).

I loved praying with them.  For one thing, there was always a bit of comedy as they asked in their quiet inside voices, which were actually quite loud, what page we were on.  But there was also the power of prayer that exuded from these strong women of faith.  During the prayers of the faithful, Sister Geraldine would pray always for the President and the Congress, prayers that I now keep in my heart.  Sister Johanna would always pray for the employees at PeaceHealth and St. Mary-on-the-Lake, our coworkers in mission.  Even though these two women were no longer in active ministry, I have no doubt that their active prayer ministry had tremendous impact in our community and larger world.

Sister Geraldine passed away just before New Year's Eve last year, in fact we had her funeral on New Year's Eve.  Sister Johanna meanwhile, after participating fully in our Spring Assembly this past April and enjoying her Jubilee dinner celebration with music and dancing, went to sleep and woke up with God.  I feel so truly honored and blessed to have known them both.

Imagine my delight on Friday night when I received my profession cross and discovered that it had been Sister Johanna's!  Back when Sister Johanna was professed, the cross was at the end of the rather large rosary the Sisters wore as part of their habit.  We no longer wear the rosary, habit or large profession cross; our Constitutions say that we wear our Peace Cross as a symbol of our identity as CSJPs.  But at final profession, we have the option of receiving a profession cross from one our our Sisters who has passed away and is no longer in need of it.  As my housemate and former temporary professed director Sister Beth said during the rite of profession, this ritual is a way of blessing of our present with the blessings of our past and into our future.  Sister Johanna's/My profession cross is now sitting in my prayer space where I can look on it when I pray each day.

Speaking of the rite of profession, thanks to my novitiate classmate Sister Chero who was our videographer, you can now view the rite of profession portion of last Friday's liturgy!


Susan Rose Francois, CSJP said...

Totally just remembered a Geraldine/Johanna story I need to tell!

One sunny day I decided to sit in the swing on our patio to read a book. When it came time to get out of the swing, I had a bit of a challenge because of how I had been sitting.

Sister Geraldine was sitting on the bench across from me. She looked me over and said, "Sister Johanna has no problems getting up from there and she's 93 years old!"

"Good for her," I said with a smile as I managed to stand up right. "Good for her."

god googler said...

Congrats--grooviest of all Sisters!