October 2, 1931 – April 14, 2017
“The real proof of the Resurrection lies not in the transformation of Jesus alone – but in the transformation of us who accept it.”
We gather at this Eucharist this morning to share the bread and wine of Christ’s body and blood doing what Eucharist means – to give thanks. Our loving God invites us today to give thanks for and to remember with compassion the life of Sister Catherine Theresa Stover, who lived her life as a Sister of St. Joseph according to the graces given to her by our compassionate God.
The quote on PRAYER from our CSJ Constitution on the cover of your program gave me an insight into what prayer might have meant to Sister Catherine. It says; “Our prayer is marked by expectation and openness to the transforming love of the risen Christ.” Sister Catherine kept journals with thoughts she gleaned from her times of prayer and spiritual reading. On the back cover of your program is written a journal entry called “Live Easter Daily”. When I read it reminded me of our CSJ Constitution quote on prayer which Sister Catherine appears to have internalized over her sixty-seven years as a Sister of St. Joseph .It made me pause and wonder, do I pray with expectation and with the openness to be transformed by God’s love. Do I really accept the resurrection of Jesus and allow it to transform me? Food for thought during this Easter season.
In today’s first reading from the Prophet Jeremiah, we will hear the familiar words “I know the plans I have in mind for you, plans to give you a future full of hope.” Sixty seven years ago, Catherine responded to God’s call to live as a Sister of St. Joseph. This, the plan that God had in mind for her future, was a life of prayer, full of expectation, hope and openness to the transforming love of the Risen Christ. At any given time in our lives we may not understand God’s plan for us in that moment but we do know and hopefully believe, that God is always with us. Catherine trusted in the plan God had for her and lived her life confident of God’s loving care
Our responsorial psalm reminds us that our Lord, the Good Shepherd is with us to guide us into the future, along the right path, that one day we will dwell in God’s house forever and ever. That day came for Sister Catherine on Friday, April 14th. During Holy week, Catherine had been united with Christ in his suffering and in the early hours of Good Friday morning, Catherine was called to share in Christ’s resurrection to new life.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we are reminded that with God’s grace, which is freely bestowed on us, God is always with us and will bless us with every spiritual blessing. Our Faith invites us to place our trust in God’s time and wisdom. None of us have been assured of a life without suffering, disappointment or heartache, but we have been promised that with God’s grace, freely given to us, we will be able to see our life as blessing.
The Gospel of St. John describes the Christian life. Every Christian is called to holiness. Jesus gave us the path to holiness in the great Commandment: Love one another! Sister Catherine knew God’s love and tried to share that love with others. So perhaps in the days and months ahead, we’ll remember the reflection LIVE EASTER DAILY, that every time we see Jesus, where we did not recognize Him before, Jesus rises again, in the faces of the poor and the unloved, Jesus rises again, in the everyday moments of life, Jesus rises anew. As we celebrate this Easter season, let us pray that we will be transformed every time Jesus rises in our own hearts in new ways and as the resurrection happens in the everyday moments of life.
Sister Catherine, God’s plan for you has been fulfilled. May you now rejoice in the company of saints and your family in the peace and joy of eternal life which God has prepared for you.
Patricia McCarthy, CSJ