December 22, 1919 - September 7, 2013
During the past few weeks many of the residents and staff here at Bethany Health Care Center have experienced sorrow at the loss of friends or acquaintances. Yet, because of their belief in God’s promise that life is not ended but changed, they are consoled rejoicing for and with those who now share new life with a good and gracious God.
Earlier this morning we heard a reading from our Constitution that stated, “Our prayer, like our ministry and our vowed life in community, required the humility, the fidelity and the courage to let ourselves be emptied by God so that we might be filled with love, a love that flows out to another and those whose lives ours touch; a love that flows back into our deepening intimacy with God.
In her own quiet, steadfast, prayerful manner, Sister Raymonda lived the spirit of those words, in her ministry, her life in community, her volunteer service, in her retirement and during her final illness. With humility, fidelity and courage, Raymonda emptied herself so that she could be filled with God’s love; a love that she then shared with all those whose lives she touched.
Mary Agnes Casey was born in South Boston, December 22, 1919. By the time she was ready to enter junior high, her family made the decision to move to Jamaica Plain. The family lived in St. Thomas Parish and Mary and her siblings attended the Parish schools. She graduated from St. Thomas Junior High and High School. After graduation, Mary worked as a stenographer for a number of years prior to entering in 1944 the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston. All during her lifetime, Ramonda maintained strong ties and tremendous loyalty to her Jamaica Plain neighborhood. I imagine that she felt blessed to return to St. Thomas High School and where for a number of years taught business courses to the students, insuring that they were well prepared to take their place in the work force. She was diligent in her preparation and made learning enjoyable for her students.
S. Raymonda ministered in various Catholic elementary and secondary Schools in the Archdiocese of Boston, and at Aquinas College, Milton. She did this while continuing her own education, obtaining a Master’s degree in Business Education from Catholic University. In 1975 S. Raymonda was assigned to the Finance Department at Bethany Health Care Center where she served until 1995, when, according to her words, she was replaced by a computer. Many may remember her working in the office alongside S. Thomasette. After leaving the Finance Department, Raymonda volunteered her services on the 3rd floor here at Bethany and also at Bethany Hill School until she was no longer able to do so.
The readings for this morning’s liturgy tell us of God’s love and of our deepening relationship with God; reminding us that when we turn to God, God delights in us; God’s word is very close. Through prayer and discernment, with deep gratitude, integrity, conviction and humor, Ramonda witnessed to God’s word throughout her lifetime, and she grew in her quiet way as a loving woman, truly human, fully alive. She knew that she was loved unconditionally by her God and by her family. Just recently, Ramonda told Norma, that she had chosen the right life, that she was very happy and most grateful for all the kindness and generosity that was extended to her.
It was apparent to all that Ramonda’s life changed after the death of her sister, Louise. In her diminished physical condition Ramonda patiently waited for God to call her home. On the day Raymonda entered into eternal life the saying on the CSJ calendar quoted Seneca, “life is long if it is full”. Raymonda certainly had a long full life of almost 94 years; it was a graced life as a CSJ for 68 years, 11 months and 29 days.
Over these past few days I heard wonderful stories about a woman who developed some creative baby-sitting techniques, had an innate sense of righteousness, a unique sense of humor, had acquired some unusual barbering skills, and experienced joy in sharing her love and friendship with others, especially her family. I was just really beginning to know Raymonda and loved the person she revealed to me.
Thank you Ramonda for sharing your life, your gifts and your love with us and your family and for being a visible sign of God’s love to those in the process of becoming fully human, fully alive. Rest in peace with all those for whom you longed.
We are fortunate to have with us Fr. Thomas Oates who will celebrate today’s liturgy. S. Raymonda developed a special fondness for Father and in her very unassuming, quiet way supported Father’s ministry in South America.
Given by: Roseann Amico, CSJ
September 10, 2013