Dear Sister Mary and Sisters,
I want to thank you for our Community prayers prayed every night for our families. They have borne blessings for me in a tender way this week. My aunt died on Thursday. She was 85. She and my uncle have been married over 60 years and have a family of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Sisters, it was touching to me to see how God answers our persevering, trusting and united prayers. I thought you might like to hear some of the quiet blessings He gave to us these days in answer to them.
My uncle’s sister called me that my aunt was dying. I am so far away and have not been around much for decades. What could I do? I called my aunt and she warmly said “Hello, Honey…” and we talked for a few minutes not long before she died. I had prayed for her and my uncle to be able receive the Sacraments since they have been housebound. Encouraged by one of our Sister’s examples of providing spiritual support for her niece and her family, I asked my aunt’s daughter if I could call the Church and ask for a priest to visit. Unhesitatingly she said “yes”. I called the pastor at their Church and asked if he could go to anoint her. Father went over Wednesday morning. My cousin told me that the whole family was gathered for the anointing. He described how Father knelt on the floor beside her bed and prayed with her, gave her Holy Communion, one sip of water, a small piece of the host, another sip of water, as tender as a mother. Then he gave my uncle Communion. I am so relieved and happy that they were united with Our Lord so intimately, a “taste of heaven”. My cousin said that Father brought so much peace to the whole family and thanked me for calling him. That night my aunt died in God’s peace with a Rosary hanging on her bedpost.
A few more tender graces. The family was sitting around the little living room, arm to elbow, keeping watch with my uncle. Our Lord let me be present, spiritually and through technology. I texted them a little letter saying that soon she would see Jesus and be so very happy. and that Our Blessed Mother would greet her. They read the note to the family. They told me my uncle smiled. That brought tears to me. I talked to him after my aunt died to tell him that I love him. He had not been responding well to people, but he heard every word I said on the phone and when I said, “I love you,” he said quietly, ”the same here”. Later they discovered that his hearing aids were dead -and he heard me still!
Today is my Aunt’s funeral service. Father again said yes to be present personally—as Christ is—and to lead it. Her death has touched the whole town with grace: My aunt and uncle’s family are active in town, and for the last few days the street in front of the house has been lined with cars, people flowing in to visit and reminisce, bringing pies, spaghetti, Jello, potato salad, sandwiches…a touch of small town homeyness. Now they are at her funeral service hearing the sacred prayers and seeing her resting with her little rosary with her. A witness to heaven, to Mary, and to our compassionate, loving Lord and to the Church.
Dear Sisters, how much God can do for those we love because of our prayers together to the Sacred Heart, because of our consecration. To them, we really are the Church. There is much more, but for now, this is just a thank you to you for your prayers, our prayers together to Our Lord who finds a way to share our Community graces with our families, our greatest benefactors, as He promised.
I love my family very much. They deeply care for each other. One of my cousins grieved, “What am I going to do without a mother?” Each person who goes ahead of us to heaven touches our hearts, our lives, and our relationships. And our souls are tender. I will send him a note and a picture of Mary.
As we pray each other to loving faithfulness and everlasting joy,
I am in His own Heart,
Your Sister Catherine