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beatitude

Sad News of Sr Faith

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Carmelshrimp

So sorry to learn of the loss of your friend. Sister Faith and I exchanged several messages as she prepared to enter Notting Hill and during her time there.  She was a born Carmelite and the only consolation I can offer at this sad time is that at least now she can fulfill her vocation in a way her illness never let her do on earth. Prayers for you in your sadness, but not for Faith - I'm sure she's praying for us.  May she rest in peace.

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beatitude
9 hours ago, truthfinder said:

I was expecting a different sort of post when I read this.

My condolences to her family and to you. May she rest in peace.

I'm sorry if it gave you a shock. I hadn't thought of that. I will amend the title to make it clear that there's grief inside, so no one is opening it thinking it contains news of a return to Carmel (although in one sense it does - I keep thinking of the little book On This Mountain that one of the Notting Hill sisters wrote, and surely she has ascended that mountain).

I have been reading C.S. Lewis's A Grief Observed. It's a very slim book, written after the death of his wife - just a few pages of rage and grief. It's beautiful. For some reason I'm finding it difficult to listen to Christmas carols, preferring silence, but there are two worship songs that I have on repeat when I do put on some music - Matt Redman's Better is One Day and Chris Tomlin's Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. "Teach me some melodious sonnet / Sung by flaming tongues above / Praise the Mount, I'm fixed upon it / Mount of Thy redeeming love. / Here I raise my ebenezer / Hither by Thy help I come / And I hope, by Thy good pleasure / Safely to arrive at home...How Your kindness yet pursues me..."

One of the things I loved about her was that even when she was housebound or in hospital she was able to make me feel as if she was sitting in my living room with me. She took  such an active interest in the lives of her friends. She was always present. I had a pretty rough year in 2015. I was still living in Bethlehem then, and I could never have believed that someone thousands of miles away could have been such a support. She had her own cloister - her bed, her chair, an increasingly weak body - but just like all our nuns, she made herself felt far beyond its limits. Since she died I've been in touch with all sorts of people from all walks of life who had got to know her somehow, and I marvel at how many very different people she touched.

I've known her for twelve years. Almost half my life. She's the first friend my own age to die, and this comes with a sudden sense of amputation that wasn't there in any grief I've experienced so far. I knew that Faith was seriously ill, and from time to time she would tell me that a fellow brittle asthma patient had died, and as she'd told me a bit about asthma I knew that three British people die from it daily on average. But somehow I always put them in a separate category from her. I got used to her being hospitalised, even in the Intensive Care Unit; I got used to seeing the tubes and the needles and the wheelchair; I just assumed that she would go on living with it.

This suddenness has brought home to me the full haunting power of the Gospel story about the rich man who was hoarding treasure: "Fool! This very night your life will be demanded of you, and whose will be the things you have prepared?" I don't think that just applies to literal treasure, but to all our good intentions that we never act upon. Spend your kindnesses; don't keep them in reserve for a tomorrow that never arrives. Faith asked me to go and stay with her a few weeks ago. I was busy with work, so I put it off, even though I knew she badly wanted to see me. She lived at the opposite end of the country and the thought of travelling to her and taking so much time off was stressful. But there was something in my heart urging me to go. I didn't. I decided to go 'soon' instead. "Fool! This very night..."

It's a tough message. But right after Jesus tells that parable, in his very next words, he gives the blessed reassurance, "Therefore I tell you, do not be worried about your life...Which of you by worrying can add a cubit to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? ... Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." He makes good everything that we could not accomplish, pours out every gift we were not capable of giving to each other.

I keep thinking of that beautiful verse from Revelation, "Behold, I make all things new." That is both comfort and grief - grief, because I want everything to be the same as it was; and comfort, because I trust him enough to know he's got something better.

On a final note, I came across this Christmas poem by Magdeleine L'Engle, and I wanted to share it for the sake of the last line, which seems such a powerful remedy for the kind of grief that makes your skin feel too thin and like you need to hide away from anything that's likely to cause more hurt.

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war and hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out and the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour and truth were trampled by scorn–
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn–
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.

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OnlySunshine

I am so sorry to hear of faithcecelia's passing!  When I was discerning religious life, she offered a lot of support and help along the way and was a very kind, sweet soul.  :sad:

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beatitude

There is a New Year retreat down in London that I wanted to go to, but as the accommodation is always basic (retreatants camp on the floor of whichever school or parish hall has been hired for the event) I decided against it - nights are the worst time for me and I was concerned that I would disturb other retreatants if I were to cry. Then I got a phone call out of nowhere from one of the Little Sisters of Jesus, and in her usual extremely forthright way, with barely a pause to say hello, she went, "You will sleep in the community and have your own room, and every day we will go to the retreat. Do not worry. I will come with you." The LSJ know I love that retreat. I was so touched that they had remembered, and they'd realised without my saying anything that I would find it hard to participate this year. If I had to choose one sentence to sum up the Incarnation, that "I will come with you" would be it. Another thing the sister said to me was,  repeated two or three times, was, "She is working for you." I think it's true. Various practical difficulties I was experiencing with my work and life in general have suddenly been resolved, and the manner in which they were resolved makes it hard not to suspect the involvement of Faith. ;)

My publisher is expecting my manuscript by 4 January. When I got the news that she was gone I just froze and thought I would never be able to deliver it on time. I'm sure Faith herself would have other ideas. She used to press on with whatever she was doing even when she was dreadfully unwell. I broke out of my freeze-frame by opening the cover page and adding her name to the dedication. After that I could write again, and if I say it myself, this book will be good.

As she used to say, "God is good, all the time."

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Josefa

Dear Beatitude,

You  have  such  a  GOOD  friend  in  heaven  !!

I recognize  this  :  I  think  / KNOW

my  grandmothers  are  interceding  for  me  all   the  time  ......

God  bless  you  !

 

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Indwelling Trinity

Way in the past, faith would write to me asking me questions on how to prepare for Carmel. How ardent was her desire to be completely identified with her beloved. 

Good looked on that desire and gave her her hearts desire. He formed her in the crucible of his  purifying fire,and she proved worthy. 

I have never met a Carmelite who has not been tried by the fire of God's love. I am in no way implying that this only happens to Carmelites; but in a cloistered order this purification takes on a certain immediacy that may not be as obvious in a different order. Having no outside apostolates to distract oneself from from the silence and solitude one is more disposed to see oneself as we really are. That takes great faith and great love. I believe Faith has that love and stamina in her in my book she was a real carmelite in process. 

The process did not end when she was sent home from Carmel ;rather God intensified her period of purgatory and formation as a Carmelite for as I always say and I do not remember which Saint said it, but a carmelite is known from within. Good took her out of Carmel and gave her a cell and more solitude to be alone with him offering herself for others than she could ever find in a O. C. D. or O. Carm.  monastery. 

I think Jesus saw her love the Father smiled in her and the  Holy Spirit and our Mother of Carmel brought her home where her life is hidden with Christ in God. May she have eternal rest and the joy of the beatific vision. 

Please pray for us sister faith as we will pray for you and your family. 

IT

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GraceUk
Quote

 

I was very sad indeed to read the news.   I used to post on Phatmass a few years ago and remember reading about Faith's entry into Carmel and her hopes.  RIP.

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beatitude

Faith's funeral was today. It was a beautiful Mass, concelebrated by her parish priest and the priest who officiated at her clothing ceremony in Carmel. The extern sister from the Carmel came too, and there were all sorts of other people there - she had so many very different friends. It was a great comfort to spend time with them. As she was a fan of funky shoes, the brighter the better, a group of us had taken special care to wear something outrageous on our feet. I think we were the best-shod funeral cortege that southeast England has ever seen. ;) It was a hard day in many respects, with lots of tears, but also many palpable reminders that the communion of saints is real and we are living it. Please continue to pray for her family, especially her brother.

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beatitude

It feels very strange without her. Her funeral already feels so far away, and the memory has a dreamlike quality, as if it didn't really happen. Part of me still expects to hear from her any minute.

I would be grateful for your prayers, as I'm finding it extremely difficult to pray at the moment. I think I have reached the "If I ignore it, it didn't happen" stage of grieving. ;) When I do pray, I'm comforted and in pain both at once. It's so hard to drag myself to Mass, so hard to pick up the rosary - I'd rather just blank out her death and what I feel about it, and I can't ignore anything very easily when I pray.

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Pax17

Beatitude, I lost a dear high school friend to breast cancer more than five years ago, and part of me still hopes she will be there when I pick up the phone.  At the same time, she is with me...the funny things she used to say are now part of my vocabulary.  I can remember her facial expressions, and know how she would respond to people and situations I encounter.

The pain will ease, and Faith will always be with you.

 

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Chiquitunga

Oh my goodness I am so surprised and sad to hear this..........

I remember her very well! I sent her some Carmelite stuff in the mail including the Teresa of Los Andes movie. she watched the whole thing. I remember following her story......

I am so sorry for your pain beatitude.... I will pray for both of you. I am sure Faith is thinking and praying for you. she is the first I have heard of from this phorum going home to Our Lord. May she Rest In Peace! Sr. Faith (as she was a Sister at heart), pray for us!

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Sister Leticia

Dear Beatitude, there is no roadmap for grief. Yes, people have written about and defined different stages, but each person has to travel this road in their own way, and the stages can be zigzag roller-coaster. What is a comfort for one might not help another - be it prayer, looking through old photos, eating chocolate or whatever. In the same way we work out how best to massage an aching limb, or which treatment is best for an aching head, so we each need to work out what is the best treatment for our aching hearts. 

So just try and go with the flow. Make sure you care for yourself, and don't succumb to anything which doesn't seem good, but also don't force yourself. There will be light - and it will probably come unexpectedly, but it will come. As Pax says, the pain will ease, and you will know that Faith is with you.

 

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nikita92
On 2/21/2018 at 11:58 AM, Pax17 said:

Beatitude, I lost a dear high school friend to breast cancer more than five years ago, and part of me still hopes she will be there when I pick up the phone.  At the same time, she is with me...the funny things she used to say are now part of my vocabulary.  I can remember her facial expressions, and know how she would respond to people and situations I encounter.

The pain will ease, and Faith will always be with you.

 

Please remember- "The spirit lives, as long as the living remember" Old Indian saying ;*)

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