A Life Well Lived
Sr. Joseph gently places the guitar strap around her “Sister’s” neck, they lock eyes, nod and began to play the guitar, the same guitar, in tandem, and sing. Sr. Marie Mathilde de la Croix strums, Sr. Joseph plays the chords, I am, quite simply, enchanted. Their music is joyful, and brings a smile to the face of each person, including Sr. Marie Mathilde’s family, all gathered here today to celebrate her 100th Birthday!
“She really enjoys music,” shared Sr. Joseph. “She is very young at heart, loves community and bringing joy to others. She is willing to give anything a try.” After several songs, our Little Sister Centenarian goes solo and sings one final tune, acappella, the Japanese children’s song “Sisi” and many spontaneously sing along with her.
Earlier in the day, Rev. William Brailsford, our chaplain, offered a Mass of Thanksgiving. Little Sisters from around our province, Mother Mary Michael, our superior, and Mother Provincial Loraine Marie Clare, family members and friends join Sr. Marie Mathilde. In his homily, Fr. William spoke of Mary and Martha, the classic portrait of unity between contemplation and action, emphasizing the fact that throughout her life, Sr. Marie Mathilde has been both a “pray-er” and “worker.” “These two roles,” he said, “are meant to be lived intimately united to one another, for prayer is truly the “soul” of the apostolate.” Sr. Marie Mathilde, who at 100 years is still fit and active, will soon celebrate the 80th anniversary of her religious profession. “May we all strive to live as Sr. Marie Mathilde,” shared Sr. Maria Grace, “hearts full of gratitude and thoughtfulness.”
After Mass, Sr. Marie Mathilde made her way to the Resident dining rooms, and gave every Resident, Volunteer and Employee a gift of Spanish cookies. I never imagined I’d attend a 100th birthday party much less, that a Centenarian would be such a vibrant part of her own celebration. Sr. Marie Mathilde is truly surprising. It is amazing to see that everyone moves into her presence with a feeling of awe. Folks curtsey, ask for and offer blessings, rest their foreheads on hers, and simply hold her hand. She is gracious, gentle and very loving.
When Sister finally slows down it is for a delicious dinner complete with a cake decorated with just three candles – a one followed by two zeros. After dinner, the Little Sisters, Residents, Volunteers and Employees gathered for a wonderful show, planned in the style of Sister Marie Mathilde’s home country. The performance begins with beautiful dancing — a beautiful Colombian Cunbia or courtship dance and then Spanish dance complete with a steady beat of loud hand clapping, castanets, stomping, and graceful arm movements. Next Spanish Class students from St. John’s College High School sing for us, Sr. Joseph and Sr. Marie Mathilde perform, and the program ends with Sister Marie Mathilde’s acappella performance of “Sisi.”
Today is a great day and we thank God for the joy that attracted Sr. Marie Mathilde to the Little Sisters and for the joy she sows in our lives.
Happy 100th Birthday Sr. Marie Mathilde!
Please click here to view a photo slideshow from this celebration
Birthday Wishes for Sr. Marie Mathilde de la Croix from her relatives in Colombia…
Today all your relatives from Colombia and all around the world are celebrating with you on your 100th birthday. We hope that today and all year through; may the power of Lord guide you, the might of Lord uphold you, the wisdom of Lord teach you, the eye of Lord watch over you, the ear of Lord hear you, the word of Lord give you speech, the hand of Lord protect you, the way of Lord go before you. We all feel very grateful and happy for having a woman like you in our family and in this world. God bless you and have a beautiful day!
Que Dios te bendiga siempre y muchas felicidades!
With love and admiration!
– Maria Saldarriaga’s and Bernardo Velasquez’s Family