Dearest freshness deep down things

One of our sisters died in the early hours of yesterday morning. Marion was a woman of quiet, though unyielding dedication, who lived her faith and our mission entirely through service, and her strong commitment to social justice. She was part of the generation which entered during Vatican II and not only lived through, but embraced the seismic changes it caused in the Church and the Society; changes which enabled her to spend many years in small communities in poor areas, both here and in Venezuela.

With the news of her death, yesterday's Gospel acquired a new layer of meaning. Wherever I am, said Jesus, there also will my servant be... And for Marion, Jesus was present in the margins and in the marginalised; in homeless projects and ESOL classes, poverty and pain. This was apparent in the reflections she shared on the Gospel, which she always grounded in the news, or in her everyday encounters and experiences. Jesus was there, in the mess and the nitty-gritty, as much as in prayer and spirituality, nature and whichever garden or allotment it fell to her to cultivate. 

Rather appropriately for a gardener, Marion died in the first days of spring, a time filled with hope and promise, and greening, unfolding beauty. She enjoyed the satisfaction of preparing ground and planting, but also - months later - of harvesting her veggies and enjoying the fruits of her work and care. She also died on World Poetry Day, reminding me of a line from Gerard Manley Hopkins which I always associate with her. Several years ago Marion told me about the English teacher who had introduced her to Hopkins, by relating a moment when she was walking across some waste ground still strewn with the rubble of bombed buildings from the War. And suddenly, through the debris and the remains of devastation, she noticed tiny flowers growing, and these words from God's Grandeur came to her... 

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things...

In her final years much of Marion's energy seemed spent, worn out. And yet... and yet... In her still lived the dearest freshness deep down things: in her still lived God's mystery and unfailing fidelity, at the very core of her weakness, as our Constitutions remind us. And those dearest freshness deep down things were her energy, and ensured she spent her final years quietly, gently, continually, discovering and making known God's unlimited goodness, and the abundant love of his Heart. 

Wherever I am, said Jesus, there will my servant be... and equally... wherever my servant is, there am I.


  1. Que bonito escrito y homenage querida Silvana. Palavras que expresan como fue la vida de Marion, esa increible mujet de Dios y del pueblo.
    Me encantó leer este lindo escrito. Fuerte abrazo. Iris.


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