September 17, 1915 - June 3, 2014
Mary Fran requested that there be no reflections, and I will do my best to honor her request.
In the Consensus Statement of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, we read, “Stimulated by the Holy Spirit of love and receptive to its inspirations, The Sister of Saint Joseph moves always towards profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction from whom she does not separate herself and for whom in the following of Christ she works in order to achieve unity both of neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God..”
How often have we said to ourselves, I really don’t know this particular sister very well? Those were my sentiments about S. Mary Frances. Yet, during this past year and a half and more especially during this last week, I learned about some of the hidden expressions of Mary Fran’s receptivity to the inspiration of the Spirit, of her quiet manifestations of her profound love of God and love of neighbor and of her selfless acts of kindness, that demonstrated her belief in, relationship with, commitment to, her unique manner of following Jesus as a Sister of Saint Joseph.
What did I learn? Mary Fran was born in September, 1915, the first of two daughters of wonderful parents, and would have been 99 in a few months; in 1937 she entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph and developed a lasting friendship with S. Charbonnel; she ministered as an educator, and in her own words “ taught all grades, departmental and self-contained, in many schools throughout the Archdiocese”; became a Notary Public and offered her services to the community if they were needed; was devoted to her sister, Margaret; conducted prayer services for the residents in the apartment building in Medford where Margaret lived; was relieved and ever so grateful to the congregation when Margaret became a resident at Bethany; was quite familiar with the bus routes; was comfortable in expressing herself; had a wry sense of humor; retired to Fontbonne Hall in 2001; and was so grateful to the Sisters at Casserly House for their visits and care.
The readings and songs chosen for today speak of the riches of God’s love, grace, and promised compassion to those who hope in, wait for and continually search out their God. Certainly, Mary Fran lived in the hope of this promise. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians reiterates these sentiments when he reminds us that God chose Mary Fran in Christ, and that there is an intimate and unique relationship that exists between Jesus and her. John’s Gospel also speaks of being chosen by God as a disciple, follower, and friend. Again, Mary Fran knew Jesus was her friend, one who listened, guided, loved, took on her joys, anxieties, and challenges.
All her days, as today’s Responsorial Psalm reminds us, Sister Mary Frances identified with Jesus as friend and companion, responding in her way, to God’s gifts to her and I paraphrase: Till the end of her days, Mary Fran blessed God’s name, sang God’s praise, and gave God thanks.
Through Baptism Mary Fran was brought into the love of God’s family. Almost 77 years ago, she answered God’s call to come and be Christ’s presence to the “dear neighbor “as a Sister of Saint Joseph; and Tuesday evening, God claimed Mary Fran as his own, gathering her in love and giving her eternal life and lasting Peace.
Given by: Roseann Amico, CSJ
June 6, 2014