October 23, 1923 – March 3, 2014
On Monday evening as I drove home from Framingham I was listening to the radio and the newscaster commented on the beauty of the evening sky. As I looked out my rear view mirror I was struck by awesome beauty….Like a magnificent watercolor painting, the sky was a wash of blue, pink, white and gold. God’s special gift and I thought, Mura, you would love this.
This morning we welcomed Sister Mura Maguire back to this Community at Bethany Health Care Center, her home since her retirement from Saint Catherine, Norwood in 2000. The words from the Constitution of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, the section on Prayer, perhaps gave focus to sister’s life over these almost 71 years. It states: “Our prayer like our ministry and our vowed life in community, requires humility, and the courage to let ourselves be emptied by God, that we might be filled with love, a love that flows out to one another and to those whose lives ours touch”; it continues, our prayer is nourished by the constant revelation of God in Scripture, in nature, in the people and circumstances of our life which stimulate our response to God.
Sister Mura, certainly tried to exemplify the spirit of these words through her life and ministry by being that quiet, visible sign of God’s active and inclusive love, by having the courage to allow herself to be emptied so as to receive the abundance of God’s love and to extended it to all those whose life she touched, as well as those who touched hers, her sisters in community, her family, the children she taught, and so many dear neighbors. She manifested this uniquely, through her creative expression, in nature, in imagination, and in her ability to balance care for others, with learning and with fun.
No matter the place or the circumstance, S. Mura, revealed herself as a humble, dedicated woman who strove to model her life after Christ’s by being a thoughtful presence, generous with her gifts and showing gratitude for everything that was done for her. I believe that she was keenly aware that her life as a woman religious, and her ministry to God’s people was animated by her life of prayer. The art work in this booklet including Psalm 111 printed in her own hand was Mura’s prayerful way of expressing her life as a Sister of Saint Joseph and the gratitude she experienced for the tremendous graces and gifts that were bestowed on her by God.
Mura, even in her diminishment, acknowledged that she was nurtured by the love of her ever faithful God, and the thoughtfulness of those who companioned her. For many of seven of the fourteen years that Mura resided at Bethany, she and her dear sister, Catherine shared life together on the 2nd floor. There they were cared for so compassionately by their nurses and staff. In her very act of reaching out and of receiving, Mura grew to appreciate and understand that she and so many others were beloved of God.
Mura, Mary Elizabeth Maguire, was born over 90 years ago. Her family resided in Norwood and her parents enrolled her and her siblings, James, Elizabeth and Catherine, in St. Catherine Parish School. Recently I learned that while a student at Norwood High School, S. Mura played drums in the high school band. (That was probably where she got her love for walking)! For two years following her graduation Mura worked as a comptroller. It was in 1943, that Mary Elizabeth Maguire answered God’s call to enter religious life and for nearly 71 years lived as a faith-filled, dedicated Sister of Saint Joseph. S. Mura trusted that God had a plan for her and was confident that one day God would bring her to her eternal home.
Most of Sister Mura’s ministerial life was spent in various Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Boston as an educator of primary grade children; many of those years spent in her home parish of Saint Catherine, Norwood. As an educator, she was always the professional, demonstrating thoroughness, insuring that her children were well prepared, providing them a learning atmosphere in which each child was encouraged to improve his/her talents. These past few weeks I’ve heard some wonderful S. Mura stories and these helped me to learn about this woman.
S. Mura loved what God called her to be… a Sister of Saint Joseph, an educator of young children, one who freely shared her gifts of creative expression with so many during the academic year and during the summers.
The words of Paul’s letter to the Colossians, “You are God’s chosen ones; God loves you, clothe yourself with sincere compassion, kindness, patience, and gentleness; above all be clothed in love….be thankful, let the message of Christ find a home in you ” were words that touched Mura’s heart and spirit; words that that found a home and took root within her, and in her own creative fashion, helped her to pass that message on by sowing the seeds of faith and love in her students.
S. Mura was always appreciative of the friendships she formed throughout her lifetime and during these last fourteen years of the loving and gentle care that she received from the entire staff on the 2nd and 3rd floors here at Bethany.
In gratitude we pray for Sister Mura and the manner in which she shared her life and special creativity with us during her years as a Sister of Saint Joseph. We rejoice that she now celebrates her new life with her parents, her brother James, her sister Catherine, and her aunt, S. Mureth Keany for all eternity in the presence of the One who said, “I have called you by name, and you are mine.”
Memories are truly gifts. They allow us to keep the spirit of those whom we love alive in our hearts.
We are grateful that S Mura heard God’s invitation to live her life as a Sister of Saint Joseph and that with creativity, humility, fidelity and total dedication she willingly responded “Here I am”.
Given by: Roseann Amico, CSJ
March 6, 2014