June 9, 1925 – November 16, 2017
May God hold you in the palm of His Hand
In reflecting upon the many fine attributes of Anne Gavin, S. Arnold, what impressed me most, was her capacity to weave loving relationships among the many constituencies with whom she interacted. We as CSJ’s talk frequently about the ever widening circles of relationship… for her these circles were her Sisters in Community, her cherished family and close friends, the many Colleagues with whom she ministered, the residents and staff here at Bethany Health Care Center who were her dear neighbors, and the countless others with whom she associated.
The following words taken from our CSJ Constitution also reiterate this same message: “We see relationship at the heart of mission and thus seek to become ever more united in the mind and heart of Christ Jesus, and to foster growth in one another”
Electing to live her life by being desirous of experiencing God’s love and faithfulness, being consciously aware of God’s presence, and by bearing witness to that presence to all whom she touched was perhaps the reason for which she chose today’s psalm response. “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have loved you and you are mine.”
By the way, Anna prepared her own celebration for this day and with some nudging from S. Joanne, chose the scripture readings from Jeremiah, Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and John and the hymns, because all had special significance for her. ..
Anne Marie Gavin and her seven siblings grew up in Somerville. Her parents, Michael and Annie Hogan, both from Roscommon, Ireland, instilled in their children, profound love of family, deep faith, a strong work ethic, an awareness of the needs of others and of course a tremendous fondness for their beloved Ireland.
Moved by the Spirit, Anna responded to God’s invitation to her and followed her dream of becoming a Sister. After graduating in 1944 from St. John High School in Cambridge, Anna entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston. For 73 years she generously responded to this call, with integrity, dedication, and passion and acted with openness, resilience and grace to the challenges and joys that resulted with the changes in religious life and in the church.
Today’s first reading from the prophet Jeremiah articulates God’s relationship and promise to the exiled Israelites: “I will take care of you as I promised; I will bring you home. When you call and pray, I will listen. When you wish to find me, I will let you find me. I know the plans I have in mind for you; I am reserving for you a future full of hope.” Anne trusted that that same promise was made to her as well, so lived confident of God’s love and faithfulness and in the belief that one day God would bring her to Himself.
Anna lived her blest life doing what she loved best, being a Sister of Saint Joseph, teaching, enjoying the companionship of her sisters and friends, delighting in her family, singing with the Sisters’ chorus and grateful that she was able to assist others.
She frequently stated that she was so proud and grateful to be a Sister of Saint Joseph. On the occasion of her 50th Anniversary Anne wrote and I quote, “How grateful I am to my God and how blest, to celebrate 50 years as a CSJ.” In ending she stated, “And I intend to keep going with his or her help!”
Anna ministered as an educator and administrator until her retirement in many Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese. Whether as teacher, principal, vice principal, or serving in the finance office, Anne demonstrated professionalism, compassion, and care, creating an environment in which staff, students and parents felt loved, supported and accepted.
During her 73 years as a CSJ, Anna was mindful that God had her attention and revealed this by remaining engaged, maintaining a spirit of joy and comradery, or by offering encouragement and hope to those with whom she related. It is true to say that to the many who know and love Anne, especially her family and close friends, she will be missed. This holds true for this Bethany community as well. The residents and staff will miss her cheery good morning or good afternoon, her expressions of gratitude for assistance received, her singing, ready laughter, joy or disappointment in her favorite Boston sports teams, the sing a longs, especially on March 17th, and even her accordion playing. All now held in blessed memory.
Today, we pray in gratitude for the life of Sister Anne Gavin (S. Arnold) and rejoice with and for her knowing that she celebrates new life in the presence of the One who said, “I will take care of you as I promised; I will bring you home.”
We also pray for you, Anne, the prayer you prayed so many times with the residents here at Bethany…May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be ever at your back. May the sunshine warm upon your face, the rain soft upon your field and until we meet again May God hold you, Anne, in the palm of His hand.
Roseann Amico, CSJ