Saturday, May 21, 2011

In Loving Memory of Sister Helene Foley, SCC

As the world contemplated whether the Great Rapture would occur today, Jesus came in the early hours of the morning, around 1:30 a.m., and called home to eternal life our very dear +Sister Helene Foley, SCC.

When my father and his godbrother would greet one another at a family funeral they usually said to one another, "Condolences and Congratulations!" I think in the case of Sister Helene the meaning of their greeting in the context of faith makes perfect sense.

While our hearts will miss her physical presence among us, we can rest assured that God carried her directly to her eternal reward, fullness of life in Him. A model for all of us, Sisters and Associates alike, Sister Helene would never consider herself saintly although we easily recognized it in her. She strove daily throughout the entirety of her life to be all she could be for Jesus and those she met in community and ministry. Her faithfulness to her baptismal vows, her religious consecration, and the Gospel of Jesus was evidenced on a daily basis in so many ways recognizable to us, yet in her view she was simply a fellow sojourner on this journey of life, responding as best she could to Jesus' immeasurable love.

Attentive to many devotions as part of her daily prayer life, she embraced The Rosary and the Stations of the Cross not as rote formulas to be recited but as true encounters between her, Jesus, and Mary. As many of us witnessed firsthand, she modeled her life as a Sister of Christian Charity after Mary -- from Nazareth to Calvary to Pentecost, and beyond, always bringing to life the charism and spirit of our Mother Pauline. Sister Helene's heart beat with love until she, in the words of St. Catherine of Siena, "closed her eyes to this world and opened to the next." Whether we have known Sister Helene for decades or met her only for a short time, we are better people beacuse of her.

As we pray for the repose of Sister Helene’s soul, let us also hold in prayer the many intentions that were important to her daily remembrances, including but not limited to praying for priests who by virtue of the Sacrament of Holy Orders bring us the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Sister Helene prayed daily for all of us, and I have no doubt that she, in the same spirit as St. Therese of Lisieux, will continue to do the same from heaven.

Together we pray: “Eternal rest grant unto our dear Sister Helene, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.”

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