For the third time in just as many weeks, our “little family” of Residents, Sisters, employees and friends of the home gather at the front door and prepare to bid a fond farewell to one of our family members. This time our much-loved Mother Benedict prepares to depart after six years as our Superior. In fact, already her bags are in the blue van set to transport her to Baltimore for a quick rest before she continues on to Newark, Delaware where she will assist Mother Joseph Caroline.
Mother Benedict takes a moment to speak to every person and promises to pray for each one. Suddenly, I think of the lyrics to What a Wonderful World performed by Louis Armstrong:
“The colors of the rainbow,
So pretty in the sky.
Are also on the faces,
Of people going by,
I see friends shaking hands,
Saying, “How do you do?”
They’re really saying,
“I love you!”
Of course, that is exactly what we are doing, telling Mother that we love her! There are many handshakes, hugs and even tears. I feel tugging at my heart as one tender-soul finds much difficulty in letting go of Mother’s embrace.
“This is the life of a Little Sister,” Sr. Janet reminds us, “to receive your obedience means that you are being assigned to another location.” “For each Little Sister in her heart,” she explains, “this is like saying yes to God all over again, a re-commitment to do God’s will.” And yes, Mother has received her obedience from La Tour. Therefore, we offer up our individual prayers for Mother, and wave goodbye as the bells of our home toll her departure.
A large gathering of Residents, Sisters, employees and benefactors of our home were also present at a special Mass of Farewell for Mother Benedict held May 7. “Mother Benedict shares three wonderful characteristics with Saint Jeanne Jugan, her great courage, her sensitive nature and her deep relationship with God,” said Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick the principal celebrant. Ministers of the Liturgy, William Wakefield Cardinal Baum, Most Reverend Joseph Thomas Dimino, Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Joseph Lee and Rev. Msgr. Joaquin A. Bazan, Rev. Msgr. Joseph Ranieri, Rev. William Brailsford, and Rev. Charles Green as concelebrants joined him.
Mass was followed by a reception in our breezeway complete with wonderful friends and delicious food prepared by our kitchen staff — a perfect way to say…
“Thank You Mother Benedict!”
Click here to view a photo slideshow from this event.
O Holy Spirit, Praise to You (Laus tibi, Sancte Spiritus, 2006) Howard Helvey (b. 1968)
O Holy Spirit, Flowing Light, of sun’s gold sheen and mirror’s bright,
reflect in us your clear delight: Laus tibi, Sancte Spiritus.
O Holy Spirit, Wisdom’s Fire, of leaping flame and steeple’s spire,
uplift our intellects’ desire: Laus tibi, Sancte Spiritus.
O Holy Spirit, Healing Balm, of scent-filled air and salving calm,
distill our tears to crystal psalm: Laus tibi, Sancte Spiritus.
O Holy Spirit, Heaven’s Dove, reach through the lattice of your love
and train us toward the life above: Laus tibi, Sancte Spiritus.
O Holy Spirit, Paraclete, make strong our hands and swift our feet
to serve the Christ in all we meet: Laus tibi, Sancte Spiritus.
Based on the writing of Hildegard von Bingen, b. 1098