A woman of prayer, hospitality, and peace

I got word today that Sister Elizabeth Ann Brennan, CSJP passed away this morning in Seattle. She has been struggling with some serious health issues, and so it was not entirely unexpected. In many ways it is a blessing to know that her struggle is over and that she is in the arms of her loving God, but she will be deeply and dearly missed.

Elizabeth Ann will always hold a special place in my heart. She was one of the Sisters who first welcomed me, literally into her home, when I was a candidate and spent long weekends living with the Sisters at one of our local CSJP houses in Seattle (St. T's). Long time readers of the blog may remember this as my "groovy sister reserves" era. Elizabeth Ann was one of those groovy sisters at St. T's who helped me realize that I made the most sense as a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace and made me feel at home.

Elizabeth Ann was a woman of prayer. That was one of the first things that was clear to me living at St. T's on my groovy sister reserve weekends. Praying together was a priority in that house, and it was by no means going through the motions. We prayed the prayers of the church, we prayed for our wounded world, and we prayed for peace. Elizabeth Ann had an amazing presence, as evidenced in her relationship with God, community, and others. She was spiritual director to a group of Lutheran pastors for a few decades and they LOVED her. I loved knowing that they loved her.

Elizabeth Ann was a woman of hospitality. My first experiences as a candidate at St. T's made this part of our tradition very clear to me. Here's a reflection I wrote on the experience as a candidate:
My Sister housemates here at my weekend groovy sister pad have taught me the value of hospitality. There are always “extra” people here. They’re not even really guests, because if you’re here, you are part of the house. At Christmas & Thanksgiving we had at least 25 people at dinner. The house seems to have a way of magically expanding to meet the needs of those present. Laughter, warmth & good food are always on the menu here.
Elizabeth Ann was a big part of that experience. I experienced their gracious hospitality just a few months ago when I was home visiting in Seattle and was invited over for dinner by the St. T's community. It was clear to me that Elizabeth Ann was struggling with her health and lamenting her lack of energy. And yet, she was gracious and engaged in conversation, asked questions about what I'm learning at school and my thoughts on our community planning process. I am so grateful I had that last moment to experience her hospitality! And to pray with her. The evening of course was not complete without prayer!

Elizabeth Ann was a woman of peace. If you knew her, you knew that. Enough said. And now she is at peace with her loving God. I know that as our community moves toward our Congregation Chapter, she will be praying for us and cheering us on.

Goodbye Elizabeth Ann. Thank you for everything.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Susan. It was very inspiring to read about Sr. Elizabeth Ann's hospitality, commitment to peace and prayer.