January 10, 1925 – May 26, 2015
We sisters of Saint Joseph frequently talk about the ever widening circle of relationship, connecting neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God. Your presence today is testament to how S. Jeremy lived out these words.
S. Jeremy, (Gertrude) Horgan possessed many gifts and qualities. Some of which I was privileged to experience. About 2 ½ years ago, as a “new” Area Councilor, I called Sister, to introduce myself and to request an appointment to visit with her in Manomet. She agreed. My first visit went this way…Sister greeted me at her door, and as we walked to the parish center, with construction all around us, she spoke enthusiastically of her current and past involvement in this very dynamic, active, growing parish of St. Bonaventure’s. When we arrived at the parish center she shared with me her morning ritual of preparing coffee and munchies for the after Mass gatherers, she introduced me to the parish staff members who were present and then invited me lunch. We drove to a nearby restaurant which I presumed she frequented regularly, because everyone greeted her with warmth and affection. We shared lunch together, I brought her home and I returned to Brighton. However, before I left she did invite me to return. That was a good sign!
Eventually, our subsequent conversations and visits became more serious and more focused on our growing concern for her personal safety and wellbeing as she was living alone, the winter was around the corner, and her physical condition was declining. Even though many parishioners, including the pastor, Father Ken, were solicitous and wonderfully generous with their time and pastoral response to Sister’s needs, it was now time for Sister Jeremy, after 33 years of selfless love and service to the people of St. Bonaventure’s, to allow her Sisters, her religious community to be involved in her continuing care which would best be done at Bethany Health Care Center. This conversation as you can well imagine was not easy to deliver nor was it, at the time, easy for her to accept. Yet, S. Jeremy, the woman of prayer that she was, discerned the wisdom of this recommendation, accepted the decision and made her transition to Bethany even sooner than anticipated. One could say, she did it her way! There were many plusses and blessings resulting from this decision, including the fact that her adjustment to her new surroundings was quick; she was happy, actively participated in various activities, reconnected with many friends, and she was most grateful for the time she spent visiting and engaging in conversations with her longtime, beloved friend, S. Rosenda.
All this is a glimpse into the manner in which S. Jeremy lived her life. She took seriously the words of today’s opening hymn…”Here I am Lord; I come to do your will”.
As a young woman, Gertrude had a dream of becoming a Sister. I imagine that S. Rosenda along with Gertrude’s family played a significant role by encouraging Gertrude to freely cooperate with God’s grace as she moved through her decision making and acceptance process. The Constitution of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, states, “a woman beginning her formation makes a gradual transition to life in our congregation”. Gertrude Horgan being the 6th child of Gertrude and Daniel Horgan’s 10 children was “at home” with her loving, faith filled family, living in and educated at Gate of Heaven Parish, South Boston. I presume that long before Gertrude entered the convent, she had some inkling of what life in community might be about just by being part of the Horgan family… praying, welcoming, witnessing, adapting, responding, reconciling, collaborating etc.
Some time ago, I read these words, which were attributed to Confucius, “Find something you love and do it”. Certainly, S. Jeremy found that something she loved.. her YES response to the Spirit’s nudge some 72 + years ago to being a Sister of Saint Joseph. A YES she renewed each day since.
In another section from our Constitution we read, “Our life together is an overflow of our personal intimacy with God. All we are and all we do is done in praise of God”. S. Jeremy was well aware that the gifts she possessed and shared as an educator, par excellence, as an innovative administrator, as a religious education coordinator, or as a dreamer, unafraid to risk the more in responding to the needs of the dear neighbor, especially during her 33 years at St. Bonaventure’s as creator of the Bonnie Seniors, or initiator of the Fund for the Needy, or organizer of Seniors Connecting was in Sister’s own words, “what her vocation was all about”.
She loved being a woman religious and willingly assumed responsibilities with much joy, fidelity, and humility, either as an educator, administrator, companion, volunteer, listener, or spiritual guide who witnessed to others not only the Good news of Jesus, but also being rooted in the charism and legacy of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.
S. Jeremy believed the words of the prophet Isaiah which we will hear read today, “I have called you by name you are mine. Do not fear I am with you”. Jeremy lived in the realization that God enlivens each one alive with God’s own life. She shared that belief with all those she encountered in her various ministries during her lifetime.
Enflamed with the Spirit of our founders to create a new vision of hope for God’s people, S. Jeremy lived a very full, active and rewarding life. May she now meet her Triune God knowing in a new way that she is precious in God’s sight and that God loves her most dearly.
I now invite Cindy Dow, S. Jeremy’s niece to come forward to share some reflections of her Aunt. Memories are treasured gifts that help us recall those times that connect us.
Thank you S. Jeremy for being a witness to others of God’s unconditional love. You heard God’s word and shared God’s message with all whom you touched.
Adieu mon amie, soit avec votre dieu.
Given by Roseann Amico, CSJ
June 29, 2015