Monday, June 25, 2007

A profound week, deo gratia

On the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I began an eight day journey with Paul O'Leary OPL, and his mother Janet O'Leary OPL, in the room with Janet, Paul, and family, the evening when she left us to be with our Lord. Paul had just commented that many in the family did not understand that in being born to eternal life, she not only would not be suffering any more, but that she would be of greater benefit to them than in her present state. I related to Paul that at the death of St. Dominic, he said to his friars, "Why are you weeping, where I am going I will be of far more use to you than I am here." I had the distinct impression that she heard Paul and I and that was the moment she stopped breathing and her pulse gently faded away. We commended her soul to the Lord Jesus who died to redeem her. Arrangements were planned and by Paul with the assistance of Stephanie Dennino OPL; and one week later we honored Janet at St. Johns Cathedral with a rosary vigil, graciously led by Deacon Jack Pelowitz, and with music provided by the Schola Cantorum led by Maria Turner, wife of Mike Turner OPL. Janet's mortal remains stayed in the church overnight and the funeral on Saturday morning was beautiful. The choir of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist was outstanding; Paul Navarro sang to solos, opening with Schubert's Ave Maria, and closing with an exquisite requium which I still do not know the name of. Father John Legerski honored Janet with a beautiful funeral, and a homily inspired by the many facets of her life of service to Christ, a life lived with profound humility and devotion, in immitation of Mary. The interment at the Chapter House cemetery brings to three the number of members of our chapter who have made their exit in the Lord and left their mortal remains in our care. We closed the interment with the Dominican Salve Regina, beautifully sung by the chapter members led by Anita Moore OPL. Bonnie Fitzpatrick OPL had put together a wonderful repast afterwards, expecting around 20 to stay, but it was more like 50.

I am lost for the words of gratitude for Fr. Legerski, Deacon Pelowitz, all the members of the chapter, and friends of Janet who rose to the occasion to put all of this together, including the intercession of Bl. Margaret of Castello to help Gayle Boyer OPL find someone with a backhoe to open the grave.

As I watched and listened during the interment, the following words entered my mind:

But about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing, and he saith to them: Why stand you here all the day idle? They say to him: Because no man hath hired us. He saith to them: Go ye also into my vineyard. (Mt. 20:6-7)
What struck me for the first time is that they did not respond "Because we just got here" but that no one has hired us; the implication being that they had been there all along, but had been passed over. As someone who in school days was always passed over in the choosing up of teams, and now is passed over again, it gave me pause to wonder about future labors at this time that many might think is fast approching the eleventh hour. From the example of the service and humility of Janet O'Leary, to the sterling apostolic sanctity of St. Turibius, we pray the Lord, send forth laborers into your vineyard.


  1. FYI the requiem Paul sang was "In Paradisum"

  2. Here's the text with translation if you are interested...

    In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.

    May angels lead you into Paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your coming and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May a choir of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, who once was poor, may you have eternal rest.

  3. Thank you, I certainly appreciate it!