Wake Reflection for Sister Charles Irene Hayden, OSU
In the name of the community, the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, I offer love and sympathy to the family of Sister Charles Irene, particularly to the nieces and nephews; to the friends of Sister Charles Irene, especially to Mary Jo and Rita; and to Sister Blanche Rita and Sister Mary Beatrice, classmates of Sister Charles Irene. To the staff in health and pastoral care, again our gratitude for your many, many hours of professional and loving care of Sister Charles Irene. To those who kept vigil with Sister Charles Irene, as she waited and waited to hear those special words from God that now is the time, my beloved, for you to make your home with me, a sincere thank you!
Albert Camus, the French philosopher, novelist, and essayist has said that the season of
autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. Autumn, for Sister Charles Irene, became the season for the springtime of her soul as she breathed in the light and heard the call of God with perfect clarity in mid-morning on October 22, 2003, the day of her 91st birthday!
Sister Charles Irene Hayden was born Julia Irene Hayden on October 22, 1912, the fourth child and second daughter of Charles Simeon and Lucy Delphine Hayden-Hayden. Their first daughter was christened Lucy Delphine and later became Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph Mary Wilfrid. Julia Irene was born in the little town of Sutherland in Daviess County, Kentucky. She was baptized at Saint Anthony Church in Browns Valley, Kentucky on October 23, 1912.
Eight years of elementary and three years of secondary education for Julia Irene was received from the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph at Saint Anthony School. Her senior year was spent at Mount Saint Joseph Academy, where again she was taught and mentored by Ursulines. On September 8, 1930, Julia Irene began a formal relationship with the Ursulines as a postulant. On March 19, 1931, Julia Irene was given the name of Sister Charles Irene. Temporary profession of vows was ritualized on March 20, 1933, and perpetual vows were professed on March 20, 1936.
Years of ministry as an Ursuline educator, began for Sister Charles Irene in Saint Joseph Elementary School in Paul, Nebraska where she taught piano and language arts from 1933-1937. She also directed the orchestra and the church choir. Sacred Heart High School in Waterflow, New Mexico became the next site for Sister Charles Irene to share her gifts in music. From 1937-1941 she taught piano and directed the orchestra, glee club, and church choir. Music, music, music through the years of 1941-1954 at Saint Francis High School in Saint Francis, Kentucky, at Holy Trinity High School in Springfield, Kentucky, at Saint Bernard Academy in Nebraska City, Nebraska, and at Saint Charles High School in Lebanon, Kentucky.
In 1954 Sister Charles Irene began her years in school administration. From 1954-1956, she was principal and teacher of grades five through eight at Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School in Hodgenville, Kentucky. From 1956-1966 she ministered at Blessed Mother School
in Owensboro, Kentucky teaching grade six from 1956-1960, as eighth grade teacher and principal from 1960-1962, and as a non-teaching principal from 1962-1966. From 1966-1968 she was principal at Saint Francis School in Loretto, Kentucky.
During the years of the mid and late sixties, the agenda of Vatican Council II became a guide for the way women religious would look to the future. The winds of change, the work of renewal, and the experimentation in religious life brought confusion and conflict to many. This was true for Sister Charles Irene. On August 1, 1968, she requested and received a year of exclaustration and on July 2, 1970 was dispensed from her vows. During those next years, Julia Irene (Ms. Hayden) ministered as teacher of grade six at Sacred Heart of Jesus School in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Then on July 1, 1979, to the delight of all of us who knew her, Julia Irene requested to begin the process of reentry into the community of Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph. During the year that followed, while preparing herself for reentry, she taught at Saint Bernard School in Louisville, Kentucky. On July 20,1980 Julia Irene professed perpetual vows as we, her Sisters, confirmed that our Sister Charles Irene Hayden was now one with us as a member of this community, sharing all things in common with us now and forever. We thanked God for her generous response to God’s call and for all the blessings God has given our community.
We promised our prayer and rejoiced with her as we witnessed her consecration.
The years of 1980-1994 found Sister Charles Irene at Saint Angela Convent in Louisville, Kentucky, teaching in Saint Angela Education Center, in outreach ministry, and as treasurer of Saint Angela community, During many of these years, she ministered caringly and tirelessly to her priest brother, Father Wilfrid. In 1994-2000 Sister Charles Irene served as local community treasurer here at our motherhouse. The year 2000 began her years of retirement.
On Sunday, October 12, 2003, Sister Charles Irene suffered a severe stroke. As she lingered, loving hands and hearts of family, of friends, and of us, her sisters in community companioned her through the shadows into a marvelous LIGHT.
Sister Charles Irene, the vision of God is yours! The music of the universe with its rhythm, vibration, and melody is held now in your heart, which has grown into the heart of God.
Sister Rose Marita
Congregational Leader 2000-2004
October 23, 2003