from the funeral homily given by Fr. Ron Will, c.pp.s., February 14, 2015 at St. Francis Xavier Church, St. Joseph, Missouri
Today is a sad day, a hard day. But we are also so grateful that we had Laurene for as long as we did—98years. She was a gift to us: to her children and grandchildren, and to our parish.
Laurene loved going to daily Mass in her earlier years. Her children describe her as a practicing Catholic. She didn’t just go through the motions and say the prayers. She put her faith into action by practicing the corporal works of mercy. She was a member of our parish act Committee (Active Christians Today) who visit our homebound, bring them holy communion, and write cards to them. She put her faith into action in so many other ways in our parish and beyond.
Her children remember their Mom and Dad kneeling across the bed and praying the rosary every night. They remember coming back from a trip to Omaha or Kansas City, how after being on the road a short while their parents pulled out their rosaries and began praying. If the kids weren’t praying along, mom would say, “We can’t hear you back there.” Laurene loved the Rosary.
Her children believe that their parents had an amazing marriage; they had a true partnership for 43 years. Her Funeral Mass happens to be on Valentine’s Day, a day when we honor our beloved. On this Valentine’s Day, Laurene is able to rejoice once again being in the presence of her beloved husband Tom. They had been separated for 29 years. On this Valentine’s Day, Laurene is also able to rejoice in the presence of her beloved Lord, Jesus Christ. It is an appropriate day to send her to her true love(s).
She was a longtime member of the Precious Blood Companions. She hardly ever missed a meeting, or a Companion Retreat, or a Provincial Assembly. It was very important to her. She is wearing a well- worn Precious Blood Companion pendant. The red is worn off. I think that is symbolic; she lived sacrificial love.
Some people referred to her as the energizer bunny. One example was on Christmas Eve. Their home was small, but they fed a large number of people. The kitchen became her command center for giving directions to everyone. She put on quite a spread. She was an organizer in many ways. She lit up when she was with her grandchildren; she played games with them, took them places, enjoyed having lunch with them and just talking.
And so we let go of our physical, daily ties to Laurene and let her go to God. As we do so we celebrate the bright promise of eternal life for her and also for ourselves. We discover in the time of death that we are not alone, that God is walking with us. When Rose Kennedy was asked during an interview many years ago how she could survive all the tragedies in her life, she responded without hesitation: “My faith.” What a difference faith makes in our lives. It does not magically take away sorrow, but it helps us to walk through it in union with the One who became flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Like Laurene did, may we always hold fast to that faith, and forever, in good times and bad, may we ever gratefully sing the goodness of the Lord.