Wednesday, 9 May 2007

A personal note

My dear Mother, Clare Jane Sternbeck, died unexpectedly on 25th April. Her illness lasted less than a day. She died peacefully having been anointed and received Holy Communion some hours before. My sisters and I had the privilege of being with my mother in her last hours.

My mother's funeral was celebrated in S' Patrick's church Singleton by Fr Glen Walsh. He was assisted by Fr. Michael McCaffrey FSSP. A small schola of very generous friends sang the Gregorian chants of the Requiem Mass, which created a consoling, tranquil atmosphere.

The morning was very overcast and threatening rain, but during the Memento of the Dead of the Canon and during the Final Commendation, a ray of sunlight broke through and shone through the Seven Dolours window, falling onto my Mother's casket, just where her head was resting. A beautiful sign of God's presence.

My mother, the child of devout parents, and the product of a thorough Catholic education, had a life-long love of God, the Blessed Virgin and the Church. Her devotion to the Blessed Virgin was expressed by her being part of the Children of Mary in her youth and the Legion of Mary in her later years. Perhaps my mother’s Christian Faith was most manifest in her years and years of empathy with and generosity to the sick, elderly and bereaved. Until age made it too difficult, she had been a regular visitor to the residents of Singleton's Retirement and Nursing homes. And over the last 30 years or more (until the last few years), she never missed a Catholic funeral in the parish, and often went to funerals in other churches. Prayer was a large part of my mother’s life and she kept lists of those for whom she wanted to pray. Another of her little apostolates was to send people greeting cards, of which she sent thousands throughout her life. My mother was always most grateful for anything that was done for her and always repaid kindness with generosity and her never-failing sense of humour.

heartfelt thanks to all those who have offered their sympathy and have supported us with their prayers.