May 31, 1923 - July 6, 2014
“Come, you whom God has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world”.
I wonder if those present in Sister Dominic’s room last Sunday afternoon ever thought of these words as they witnessed Sister Dominic being summoned so peacefully by God. It is interesting because Sister Dominic selected this passage as the Gospel reading for her Funeral Mass this morning. It is as if Sister knew that after all the experiences in her life, especially those years spent in living community life and carrying out her ministry as a Sister of St Joseph, that this sentence from St. John’s Gospel would be for her a forecast of her eternal reward.
There is a sentence in our Constitutions, the section on Spirit and Purpose that states:
“We engage in spiritual and corporal works of mercy so that justice and peace, freedom and dignity may prevail.” Since the day of her entrance into the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, from her home in Lynn, on September 8, 1943, Sister Dominic Condon lived these words of our Constitution. Her ministry as an elementary and high school teacher encompassed various Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. It was in recognition of her educational professionalism that Sister Dominic was appointed Principal to St. Brendan School, Dorchester. In every school that Sister Dominic ministered she was embraced by students, teachers and parents with great delight! They daily saw her smile of welcome, felt her encouragement and heard her words of guidance and academic instruction. I am sure Sister Dominic’s desire was to have all her pupils know the peace of God, feel freedom in their choices of vocation and work, and experience in all they undertook, God’s presence, and their unique dignity of being a chosen child of God.
In August 1976 Sister Dominic moved to Cardinal Spellman High School. Her talents as a teacher and gracious personality were appreciated not only by the students, but more importantly by the Sisters in the Convent. While residing at Cardinal Spellman Convent, Sister Dominic had the joy of living with her dear friend, Sister Vincentia. Together they enjoyed many outings, visits to Canada with Sister Marie De Lourdes and attendance at art exhibits and music shows. However, as the community woman she was, all the other Sisters in residence at Spellman fully experienced Sister Dominic’s loving care and presence as well.
This cordial spirit of Sr. Dominic was continued to new residences, St. Joseph Hall and to Bethany Health Care Center. All who came in contact within these two houses with Sister Dominic, the nursing staff, family, friends, other Sisters, and especially Sister Susan Reilly, witnessed a woman secure in God’s faithful love for her. In every response she made, one heard always a gentle “thank you” uttered from her lips. Her peace-filled demeanor seemed to radiate her deep relationship with her faithful, compassionate God, as she manifested gentleness and kindness each day. Truly all of us here in this chapel recognized that those qualities were the essence of Sister Dominic Condon’s life.
Last May I had the privilege of attending Sister Dominic’s 90th Birthday celebration. Each person in the Activity Room that afternoon, members of Sister’s family whom she dearly loved, colleagues in ministry, Sisters of St. Joseph and friends delighted in the honor of being a part of Sister Dominic’s life journey. All of us were grateful that we could celebrate this special birthday with her. As the accolades were being spoken, I watched Sister Dominic sitting in her chair, smiling, with her eyes shining in amazement at what was being said of her. For Dominic and all of us, it was an afternoon of pure joy!
The Gospel passage for Sister’s Funeral Mass also contains a reading of the Beatitudes. These parallel our CSJ Constitution Consensus statement which captures our religious life…
“The Sister of St. Joseph moves always towards the profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction.”
During her many years of religious life Sister Dominic lived as a peace-filled woman reflecting the love of God in her mannerisms, words, and deeds. Her ministry as a teacher and Administrator demonstrated her deep concern and love of the dear neighbor, and for her, never was there a distinction…from Dorchester, Somerville, Cambridge, the South End, and Boston to Brockton and Framingham, she dedicated her religious life towards the enabling and empowering of the dear neighbor. In essence, Sister Dominic Conlon modeled our Consensus Statement and living of the Beatitudes to all of us who encountered her.
Sister Dominic Condon’s death is indeed a great loss for all of us who knew her. We, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston give thanks for the presence of Sister Dominic in our Congregation for the past 71 years. We pray in gratitude for her life. We shall miss Sister Dominic, but we can rejoice that her covenant with God is now fulfilled. Sister is with her loving God, and God is with her.
Given by: Gail Donahue, CSJ