delivered by Carol Wagner, RDC
Welcome to the Mass of the Resurrection in celebration of the life of Sr. Barbara Heil.
As I was reflecting on Barbara’s life in preparation for today, a reflection quote arrived on my computer.
It speaks to my heart about the life and ministry of Sr. Barbara.
The Lenten quote from Joan Chittister reads:
On his journey toward Calvary carrying his cross,
The face of Jesus cradled in the hand of Mary his mother
is an icon of the unity that bonds souls in times of shared pain.
The quote continues:
There is a oneness here that is above and beyond the biology of birth.
There is no distance here, only a melding of hearts that is beyond anything merely physical.
Now, Jesus knows, they are bearing together the beginning of a whole new world.
If you look at the stained glass window on the side of our chapel,
you will also see Veronica, a woman of deep compassion,
wiping the face on Jesus on his way to Calvary.
The face in that stained glass window is actually the face of our MMV.
This Lent, each of us in this Church is living with the pain and suffering of Mary and Veronica –
as we too embrace the tragic death of someone we love…
Someone who was very much like Jesus’ mother Mary,
Someone who was also like Mother Mary Veronica –
Sr. Barbara Heil’s face could be in that stained glass window too with Jesus…
Yes Sr. Barbara Heil was filled to overflowing with Divine Compassion and love for each of us she knew so well…
And for the all the children and families she embraced each school year for the past 60 years.
Reflecting on Barbara, her gentle, loving, caring smile,
and her way of being present with each and every one of us,
is what we can recall today to fill our hearts with comfort
as we pray to journey forward together living as she did,
in deep commitment to Divine Compassion.
As we deal with our own sadness over her loss,
memories we share can fill us with comfort and hope,
as we strive to live in her footsteps
and live out her legacy of kindness, generosity and compassion.
Creative and caring, generous and kind, Latin and Math (tho I am told she majored in history), boys and girls, sports and theatre, sewing and praying…
Barbara was a multi-talented gifted Sister of the Divine Compassion!
She embraced others with her whole heart – day in and day out…
a humble, kind woman
who spent her life mentoring and empowering each student and family, sister and colleague blessed to know her.
She has touched the lives of thousands of children and families,
students and professional colleagues, young and old,
in RDC mission and ministry –
her legacy will live on in their lives of service and compassion
into the future.
We welcome Barbara’s family members, her brother Jim and sister in law Arlene, and her dear nephews Mike and Chris and their families who are here with us today –
We welcome our Cardinal Dolan, Fr Vallaincourt, and all our celebrants, students, colleagues and friends. We welcome the Kennedy Catholic and St Patrick communities.
We welcome you and share your loss and sadness as we say goodbye to our dear Sister Barbara.
Her gentle and holy presence will be missed deeply by each of us who knew her and loved her.
Today we celebrate the welcome Barbara received
from her parents, her sisters, her extended family and friends…
when she returned home to God last Friday
back into the arms of Divine Compassion.
As we celebrate this Liturgy of Resurrection for Sr Barbara Heil
let us embrace life as she did
with its struggles, challenges and all its joys,
filled with gratitude to God for the gift she has been to us,
and for the legacy of compassion
we carry from her in our hearts and lives.