December 7, 1931 – February 11, 2015
“O Lord, with your eyes set upon me, gently smiling, you have spoken my name.”
When a loved one dies and is no longer with us physically , we are left with a sense of sadness and loss. Dottie’s passing is a great loss to all of us- her wonderful family and friends, all Sisters of St. Joseph especially the Sisters on Alroy Rd and the 6th floor here at Bethany with whom she has shared community life for 65 years. We come today to share our grief and to support one another in prayer for Dottie .Because we are people of Faith, Dottie is not lost to us. We know where she is. By living a life of love and service for “the dear neighbor” she is where she has prepared her whole life to be, with her loving God.
Yesterday the universal Church began the scared season of Lent. I found it interesting that the reading from Deuteronomy that will be proclaimed in just a few minutes is also the Scripture reading for the Thursday after Ash Wednesday. In this reading Moses knew that life is not only a gift but also a responsibility. Each of us has the option for making choices, either to embrace life or to shun it, to live life to the full or attempt to avoid the responsibilities of one’s duties. We all know the choice that Dottie made. In every ministry Dottie was called to, she embraced our CSJ Constitution’s section on “Spirit and Purpose” which reads “We engage in spiritual and corporal works of mercy so that justice and peace, freedom and human dignity may prevail. “Whether at Boston School for the Deaf, or Catholic Charities or Fontbonne Academy , from the smallest child at BSD, to the young women at Fontbonne or the oldest client at Catholic Charities each person’s human dignity was precious to Dottie. Like Moses, who taught his people about the meaning of life, Dottie also knew that suffering, as well as the mystery of death, would be part of life. Living with physical diminishment helps us all to realize that it is in self-giving love, even unto death that we attain the fullness of life.
Our reading from the first letter of St. John speaks particularly of the love God has for each of us. God’s compassion and faithfulness to us, His calling us to be His children and God preparing a place for us in heaven are very comforting thoughts. Dottie felt the love and compassion God had for her and reminded some of us many times during her final days, that she was looking forward to all that God has prepared for her. I think she was telling us “not to let our hearts be troubled”. Dottie now enjoys life eternal. Life where there is no more suffering but only everlasting joy and peace.
We are a people of Faith and our Gospel this morning tells us that anyone “who believes will live forever”. Dottie will live on forever in our hearts, when we remember something she said or did or when something we see or hear reminds us of her. For me the picture and the words on the cover of our Mass program remind me of Dottie. The blue water reminds me of her sparkling blue eyes and the expansive ocean recalls to me her ever present, ocean-wide smile.
In the early evening on February 11th our loving God who called Dorothy Anne Stinson by name in Baptism and Sister Donald Marie by religious profession as a Sister of St. Joseph, called Dottie’s name one last time. May Dottie rest in peace.
Patricia E. McCarthy, CSJ