Sister Noreen ... Beauty, Creativity & Hospitality

This week at west coast groovy sister hq, our CSJP community will be celebrating the life, love, and ministry of Sister Noreen Linane, CSJP.

While I am greatly enjoying the opportunity to study at CTU, one of the hardest parts of being away is not being able to join together with our Sisters, Associates, and friends as we celebrate the lives of our Sisters who have died.  The vigil for Sister Noreen will be tonight, the funeral on Monday.  I will be there in spirit.

How do you begin to describe Sister Noreen? If you want to know a bit about her years of faithful love and service as a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace, this obituary does a good job.  Since she entered our aspirancy in Ireland as a young woman during the WWII years, she ministered throughout the Pacific Northwest as a surgical nurse, hospital administrator, hospital chaplain, and office manager for a transitional housing program for women.

One of Sister Noreen's masterpieces
I only knew her in her "retirement" years at St. Mary-on-the-Lake where her ministry seemed to be art, beauty, creativity, a loving presence, and hospitality ... all with a gentle smile, a slightly mischievous twinkle in her eye, and an ever present Irish lilt in her speech. She helped make St. Mary-on-the-Lake our home.

Noreen was always on the go, creating incredibly beautiful flower arrangements and adding little touches of beauty to our Sisters' retirement residence on the shores of Lake Washington. She had many medical challenges in the years that I knew her, but she always got up, dusted herself off, and did all she could do to share her love of God and God's creation with those around her.

Last year I visited her during the Christmas holidays while she was recovering at a skilled nursing facility. She made me feel so welcome in her temporary home, like she was entertaining a guest, even without the usual touches of beauty she would add to her environs.  I still remember our conversation. We talked about the Eucharist and I am still reflecting on the insights and loving wisdom that she shared with me that day.

It is an understatement to say that the CSJP community will dearly miss Noreen.  Her sister Elizabeth is also a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace.  They have been a pair for so long, I am sure this will be a difficult transition for her and for all the Sisters at St. Mary-on-the-Lake.

Thank you Noreen for your gracious hospitality, your gifts of beauty, creativity and love.

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