On Christmas Eve, one week ago today, a woman of deep fidelity and courage went home to God. Although she is at peace, we all mourn the loss of Sister A. Catherine Murphy, CSJ, known also as Sister Flavia. The Boston Globe worked with us on an obituary which appeared in the Monday, December 28 issue. Just click on the underlined words to follow the link.
Reflections on her life shared at Sister Catherine's vigil wake service are also available on our website at http://www.csjboston.org/memory20.htm
The memories shared in these two articles barely scratch the surface of the impact this Sister of St. Joseph had on so many people. I recall the time when I was asked by the congregation to study for my masters degree at the University of Notre Dame. Unknown to me, it was a time when an alarming number of sisters had gone to Notre Dame but not completed thier degree. So I was a bit shocked and saddened when, initially, I was not accepted into the program. Sister A. Catherine was president of our congregation at the time. She was shocked but hardly saddened -- she was emboldened! She picked up the phone; called Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, then president of Notre Dame, and told him she had recommended me to study and she expected me to be accepted. I went to Notre Dame because she believed in me. I completed my degree at Notre Dame because she believed in me.
It was at this time that I also began writing music based on Fr. Jean-Pierre Medialle's Maxims of the Little Insititute [one of the founding documents of the Sisters of St. Joseph] because Sister A. Catherine believed in my creative abilities. At her Funeral Liturgy I sang "Quietly Await" one of my songs based on Maxim 84. As I sang, I knew in my soul that this was a moment of pure grace. I'm not exaggerating when I humbly admit that Catherine was praying though me in that moment. I wondered if anyone else noticed. I received my answer as we left the chapel and literally dozens of people commented on the song. At the time I couldn't speak. I've sung this song at hundreds of liturgies; but this time was different.
I tell these personal stories of Sister A. Catherine Murphy because they are small examples of the many sisters, students, family, and friends in whom she believed. Not only was she president during these transformative years of my life; she founded Fontbonne Academy where I went to high school. She taught us to be our best selves. She was a true Sister of St. Joseph; a true woman of the Church.
Did you know Sister A. Catherine Murphy? Do you have a story of how she touched your life? Please in the comments section of this post!
Happy New Year...