July 18, 1927 - February 7, 2015
Here I Am Lord, I Come to do your will.
We come together this morning to celebrate the life of Sister Mary Pavel Randall. Sister Pavel has requested that there be no reflections or sharing of memories this morning and I shall honor Pavel’s request. I do think it is appropriate to share some thoughts on Sister Pavel’s life in light of the Scripture and hymns that she selected for her funeral Liturgy which reveal to me a panoramic view of Pavel’s life. Although not in the sequence we will sing the hymns or hear the Scripture, we will get the “big picture” of her life if we listen carefully.
We begin Pavel’s funeral Liturgy this morning with the hymn, HERE I AM LORD. Over the last few months and I imagine throughout Pavel’s whole life her prayer mantra has been “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.” Even as her physical condition began to diminish you would often hear her pray to God , reminding God “Here I am , I am ready, take me home !”
Our first reading this morning from the Prophet Jeremiah begins “I know the plans I have in mind for you”. I am sure that when Mary Randall left St. Peter’s Parish in Lowell in 1945 to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph she had no idea the plans God had for her. But with an open heart and a generous spirit Pavel listened to the stirrings of God’s Spirit as she was missioned to be classroom teacher and an elementary school principal. Again in 1976 with an open heart and a generous spirit Pavel followed the promptings of the Holy Spirit to go to Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Pecos, New Mexico to minister as a spiritual companion and retreat director to many.
I don’t think it was coincidental that Pavel died on Saturday, Mary’s day. I believe Mary interceded for Pavel and God took her home. Our Communion hymn, GENTLE WOMAN honors Mary, the mother of Jesus to whom Sister Pavel had great devotion and for whom she was named.
The quote from our CSJ CONSTITUTION that Sister Pavel selected for the cover of our Mass program reminds every Sister of St. Joseph that “We see relationship at the heart of mission”… we seek to foster growth in one another” . In ministry, Pavel has enriched the lives of many, “ she has been blessed with good things and plenty… her table has been surrounded with friends.”(ALL MY DAYS”)
And so today, we sing along with Sister Pavel “Till the end of my days, O Lord, I will bless your name, sing your praise, give you thanks, all my days.
God spoke to Sister Pavel in nature her love of the great outdoors called her to pray “Sing to the mountains, Sing to the sea. Let us be glad and rejoice. Death has lost and all is life. Sing of the glory of God.” Death has lost and all is life – for Sister Pavel eternal life.
Let us rejoice with Pavel as she now experiences the ultimate of all relationships, eternal life and complete happiness with her loving God.
Given by: Patricia E. McCarthy, CSJ