Wake Reflection for Sister Mary Henry Russell, OSU
In the name of the community, the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, I offer our love and sympathy to Sister Mary Henry’s family and friends, especially to you, Sister Joseph Adrian, her sister, and to you, Isabel, Martha and Ursula, sisters, also, of Sister Mary Henry. To Sister’s classmates, Sisters Mary Regina and Mary Durr, our heartfelt sympathy.
Sister Mary Henry, as many of us do, pre-planned her own funeral arrangements. In January 2000 she chose the hymns and scripture readings for this January 2003 Vigil Service, as well as designated those she wished to serve as ministers during the service. She has planned the funeral liturgy for tomorrow with choice of hymns and scripture readings. She has named her pall bearers, the celebrants of the Liturgy, and requested particular persons for various roles within the Mass, as well as written her own prayers of intercession, to be prayed during tomorrow’s funeral liturgy.
On that same page with her funeral arrangements, she requested that her biography not be read. She preferred the reading of two special scriptural passages from the Books of Wisdom and Ecclesiastes. Let us listen to those words Sister Mary Henry wishes us to hear.
From Wisdom we read: “The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no affliction will ever touch them. To the eyes of fools, they seem to be dead; their departure will be interpreted as a defeat and their going away will be considered a disaster — but they have found peace! For though, to mortals, they may have suffered punishment, their hope is in life everlasting; and after a time of trial they will receive great blessings, because God has tested them and found them worthy. God purified them like gold in a crucible and found them as acceptable as a whole burnt offering on the altar .,..Those who have put their trust in God will find out that this is all true, and those who are faithful will dwell in God’s love. These are God’s chosen ones, and grace and mercy belong to them.” Wisdom 3: 1-6,9
From Ecclesiastes we read: “There is a time for everything, a season for every purpose under heaven: a season to be born and a season to die, a season to plant and a season to harvest; a season to hurt and a season to heal; a season to tear down and a season to build up; a season to cry and a season to laugh; a season to mourn and a season to dance; a season to scatter stones and a season to gather them; a season for holding close and a season for holding back; a season to seek and a season to lose; a season to keep and a season to throw away; a season to tear and a season to mend; a season to be silent and a season to speak; a season to love and a season to hate; a season for hostilities and a season for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
Sister Mary Henry, born Sarah Frances Russell on May 29,1916. Sister Mary Henry, born to eternal life on January 3, 2003. In the introduction to the intercessions, composed by you, you wrote: “The risen Christ appears, calls us by name, and so we pray: You are our hope and our salvation.” In the closing prayer, also written by you, you wrote: “God, our birth is the fruit of your love; our redemption, the fruit of your mercy. Help us to remember your goodness and make our lives a worthy revelation of your care. Let the hour of death be an embracing of your love and redemption and a longed-for reunion with you, our Creator, Savior, and Sanctifier.” Yes, our sister, Mary Henry, there is a time for everything, a season for every purpose under heaven. There is a time to be born and a time to die!
Sister Rose Marita
Congregational Leader 2000-2003
January 5, 2003