Greetings, friends. I’ve been out and about for the last few days. I was able to make it home for my dear Sister Annunciata’s funeral and burial. Celebrating the Resurrection Liturgy for a Sister is one of the most amazing things — again and again I am reminded by my nuns that though we grieve we celebrate the life of our Sister and her new life in the Presence of God. I miss Nuncie quite a bit. It was great to hear stories about her from the old days all the way up to her last moments.There were some pretty amazing moments while I was home … here are a few of them.
- Outside the closed door of Nuncie’s room is a table with a flower and notebook. Inside the notebook nuns, nurses, staff, and others leave notes addressed to Nuncie about what she meant to them. We do this for all of our sisters.
- We have the wake for our Sisters at the Motherhouse in our chapel. Often sisters will sit vigil with the body at different times during the night and day. I arrived too late for the formal wake, and wanted to be sure to spend some time alone with Annunciata. Early in the morning I walked over to the Motherhouse and into the dark chapel. No one was there. In the back of the chapel was the casket, and on either side of the casket were two beautiful lamps yielding a pink glow. Nuncie wore the blue suit from her Jubilee celebration. I pulled a chair over and just sat vigil with her and talked with her. I pray that she watch over me and the congregation.
- Following the funeral, we got in our cars and headed out the back part of our campus to our cemetary. As we went, we passed by our IHM organic farm. There was a young man working in the field. When he saw the procession, he stood, immediately took off his hat and held it at his chest until well after we had passed by.
- A Sister recounted a story from after Annunciata had died. She had said a prayer to Nuncie and asked her for a sign that everything was okay. Within seconds the bell for the Angelus began ringing — the Angelus is a Catholic prayer about the Annunciation, Nuncie’s namesake. The Annunciation is the story of the angel of God announcing to Mary that she would bear the Son of God.
When I returned home, I happened upon this article about another person’s experience at the funeral of a beloved nun. Be sure to check it out.
Thank God for Sister Matthew and Those Like Her
by Eddie McGuire for the Australian newspaper Herald Sun (July 13, 2008)