On Thursday, the day Joey and I were arriving in New Jersey, my parents received the sad word that our good friend was dying. It was a bittersweet reunion that morning.
If you are fortunate, once in your life you meet an angel on earth. It was therefore a huge blessing that our entire family was blessed to have this guardian angel be a friend to our entire family. Sister Lucy, as we all affectionately called her, was our angel. She virtually adopted our family as her own and we loved her very much.
She was my sisters' 6th grade teacher at the now closed St. John's Catholic school. She became and remained our friend until her death this past Wednesday at the age of 89.
Since last week my family and I have been reminiscing a lot about this wonderful sister. My parents had her over for dinner regularly, at least once a month or so. She was a little bit of a woman but what a dynamo! She was as Irish as you can get and still spoke with that delightful Irish lilt in her voice. Her family came over from County Cork, Ireland. She was a wonderful story teller who often regaled us with tales of her experiences as a Sister of Charity in China, St. Thomas the Virgin Islands and of course of her beloved family and her students.
Her funeral was held last evening at the beautiful chapel at Convent Station. For many years now, Sister Lucy's memory failed her and she did not recognize us any more. Yet she was still sweet and funny as ever. The celebrant priest had been Sister Lucy's 8th grade student and he spoke of her with such love and admiration. As he told stories of his mischievous ways when he was Sister Lucy's student and how she dealt with his shenanigans, it was as if Sister Lucy was still with us. I guess she was with us in spirit as they say.
There are many stories that I would love to share but one that stayed in my mind is one my sister told me. After Sister Lucy retired as a teacher, she moved to an affluent town's convent. There she brought Holy Communion to the homebound. One day my sister accompanied Sister Lucy on her rounds. On that particular day, they stopped over at Catherine Beebe's home. If you are a Catholic homeschooler, you are no doubt familiar with this Catholic author whose books were included in the Vision Books series. She wrote St. John Bosco and St. Dominic and the Rosary as well as other books. I still wish I had accompanied them that day.
Another story my sister told was when Sister Lucy and Sister Carita, author of Havoc in Hunan were in China. A Communist soldier forced themselves into their bedroom. The sisters were usually always dressed in their habits. However, that day, Sister Lucy hadn't been feeling well so she was in bed. When one of the soldiers went to her bedroom he picked up something from the chair and started curiously looking at it with a perplexed look on his face. Sister Lucy burst out laughing and continued to laugh as he had picked up her corset. She was gutsy!
With the passing of Sister Lucy, the Sisters of Charity lost the last missionary sister to China.
Sister, we will miss you but I know you will be telling God all of your old jokes.