We are in the process of moving today so I will be unable to attend the funeral. However, Sister Rose had asked me a long time ago to offer a few words at the conclusion of her funeral Mass. Although I will not be in attendance, I asked my brother, Deacon Mark, to offer the eulogy on my behalf. I have included the text below.
(Eulogy by Deacon Vernon--presented by Deacon Mark)
Dear Family, Friends, Clergy, and Sisters of the Most Precious Blood:
Sister Rose asked me more than a year ago if I would say a few words at her funeral. I assured her that I would if it was at all possible. I am deeply saddened that I am unable to be in attendance with all of you today, but unfortunately, at this very moment I am in the process of relocating from South Carolina to Iowa. However, I am grateful to share these thoughts with you from long distance.
Sister Rose was already in the convent when I came into this world. Thus, I did not get to really know her until my adult years. I especially came to know her on a professional level after my ordination to the diaconate. I just celebrated my 20th anniversary as a deacon last week, and the impact that Sister Rose has had on my ministry is immense.
I went to school for an additional year after ordination receiving my certifications to be a Coordinator of Religious Education at all age levels. I subsequently took my first full-time position in the Church immediately after completing that coursework. I became the Director of Religious Education at a small parish in Florence, Colorado in July of 2000.
While I had completed more than five years of coursework in theology and pastoral ministry, the realization hit me that I had no practical experience in the role I was about to assume. I shared my concern with Sister Rose and she quickly became my mentor. She handed me four binders with detailed processes of running a religious education program. It contained all of her parent letters, catechist letters, notes on preparing for sacraments, and many other details that I had not even considered. To put it mildly, she was well-organized and thorough. My fears were greatly relieved by having these valuable resources.
Through the years Sr. Rose shared more and more of her thoughts about ministry with me. I learned valuable insights about being a good administrator, but I also garnered much more. One of the things I remember most is when she said, “Administration of programs will consume a lot of your time. It simply is the reality. However, don’t forget to minister to people while you are involved in all of the administrative responsibilities.” That was solid advice.
As I remember Sister Rose today, I am grateful for many things. I have been a successful administrator in a variety of capacities over these last twenty years. There is no doubt in my mind that much credit is due to Sister Rose for getting me started on the right foot. I am moving today in preparation of becoming the Executive Director for St. Albert Catholic Schools in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Sister Rose will influence even more people through my leadership in this new environment.
While her brother Jack was still alive, we enjoyed some boisterous card games. We gave each other a hard time in the process of trying to come out winners. She even asked me once if I had received a double dose of original sin at birth. Can you feel the love?
In all seriousness, it is with great love that we say good-bye to a wonderful person today. We are grateful for the ministry of Sister Rose and the many lives she touched in a positive way through the years. I truly ask for God’s perpetual light to shine upon her.
In closing, dear sisters of the Most Precious Blood, please accept my deepest condolences. Thank you for everything you have done for Sister Rose through the years and thank you for your faithful witness to Jesus Christ.