Monday, February 20,
I was gone most of last week to Long Island where we buried Connie di Biase in the heart of her Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, NY. This morning as the university celebrates Presidents’ Day with a visit of high school students exploring our world as a possibility for the next fall, a friend from Brentwood, Jeanne Ross, c.s.j. emailed to thank me for coming to share Connie’s funeral and cremation.
“I think we gave Connie a great send off. Your homily was quite poignant and we could hear the pain of your loss. I hope the days and weeks ahead will be grace-filled as you deal with the absence of your soul-mate.”
My sister Mary traveled with me; she was close to Connie too. After the funeral, we took the Port Jefferson ferry from Long Island to Connecticut, along the coast to Madison where Connie lived and welcomed hundreds of women and men to her condominium. She lived on the banks of the tidal estuary Hammonasset River. Listening over a meal or on the phone, Connie helped storytellers find the beauty and grace alive in their confusing and hard places. It mattered on last Thursday’s sun drenched afternoon that we could sit on Connie’s back porch and be still, honoring the years our friend sat on the porch, listening and allowing stillness to build and beauty to deepen on the estuary and in peoples’ stories.
Best to read the poem out loud, with pauses.
Have a blest work week.