|Eulogy For Sr. Louise|
Our community has begun a new phase in its history…life without the physical presence of our beloved sister, Louise. On the last Sunday of Advent – the ending of the time of “waiting” and the beginning of the time of God’s new presence in Jesus, Sr. Louise, in her own classic way, heard and responded to the call of Jesus. She had anticipated this moment for so long and now without delay, she carefully “folded her tent” and joyfully ran into the arms of Jesus to being her new life.
I have lived with Louise for 47 years, and have witnessed her unique personal gifts and their development from her years in the Monastery in Victoria to her time in our midst in Duncan.
Her entrance into the Poor Clare community in Victoria was one of the most unique vocation stories of our time. Louise was visiting her best friend, Simone, and they were looking through the contents of Simone’s “hope trunk.” In there was a folded paper, which Louise asked to see. It was an application that Simone had previously intended to send to the Poor Clares in Victoria. Louise asked if she could have the paper. She took the application, filled it out right away, sent if off and was accepted by the Monastery. As the taxi arrived at the Monastery on the day she was to enter, Louise gave the driver her pack of cigarettes saying she wouldn’t be needing them anymore.
This beginning was an indication of the strong personality of Louise. Her personal love for Jesus was the strongest motivation of her seemingly rash entrance into the Monastery. This personal love relationship allowed her to weather the many storms and difficulties in her new life as a Poor Clare. Being of strong Russian stock, her indomitable will remained to the end. If she felt she could walk, she gave it a try, sometimes causing injury to herself and frustration to others. Also, she could resist strongly if something she was sure of contradicted what she was asked to do, she would conveniently forget any admonition she didn’t like.
The move to the Monastery in Duncan allowed Sister to express the special gifts and talents that were hers. Many of you have experienced her own inimitable way of expressing the love that was in her heart for anyone who crossed her path. Hugs and kisses, and her simple greeting: “God bless your day, and pass it on.” Her many notes written on whatever material was at hand – Kleenex boxes, old envelopes, etc., - were handed to you as she greeted you.
Louise enjoyed a little “sweet” at the end of her meal and a can of Coke was always her favorite. We often felt like writing to the Coca-Cola Company to offer her as an advertisement for living to a ripe old age.
Louise was also very generous and kind, and would give away anything she didn’t need. She told me repeatedly that she didn’t need her eyeglasses anymore and someone else could use them! She was always gracious and kind and even when she was almost deaf, she would emanate warmth and love that touched the heart of those who conversed with her.
As the months and weeks and years passed, Louise was wondering why the Lord was not coming for her. She had early on discovered a name that expressed her personally: “A HAPPY OLD NUN” and she began to sign herself that way. She had also come to the conviction that she habitually lived in the NOW – the “Eternal Now” as she described it. If one of the Sisters was exasperated with some foolish and harmful thing she had done, and was scolding her for her action, Louise would smile and say, “How I love it when you scold me!”
Each morning as one of the Sisters awakened her to begin her new day, she would open her eyes and say in a little singsong rhythm: “Good morning, God bless you, and make you happy, and holy, and bring others with you on the way to heavenly glory with God” …then she was promptly ready to enjoy her breakfast.
It seemed that, as the time was drawing close, she was experiencing a transparency, a transparency in the veil between heaven and earth – her parents and family who were dead were present to her consciousness as if they were still alive and she would ask about them.
Louise left us, true to who she was – a great lover of God and of each person that she embraced in her overflowing love. On Saturday, Dec. 20th, the day before she died, we were standing around the bed in the emergency room and she smiled at us, and even with the oxygen mask on her face, she puckered up her lips to give us her kiss!
“God bless you, ‘Sweet Louise’ and may your arms always be stretched out to embrace in love all those who need to experience God’s love in their lives.”
(given by Sr. Clare Lewis)
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