Yesterday's feast of the Immaculate Conception was a kind of triple-header for us: it was a major feast day, of course, but the Mass was offered as Sr. Michael's funeral Mass, and in the evening we had a lively Christmas concert in the same chapel.
In community, we are continuing to exchange Sr. Michael stories. For two of my novitiate companions, Sr. JuliaMary (she of the "Best Catholic Books") and her childhood friend, Sr. Christine Virginia, Sr. Michael was the first Daughter of St. Paul they ever met. The sisters in Miami, where she was stationed after her return from Puerto Rico, shared with us that her favorite color was a vibrant RED, and that they called their community "the eternal banquet" because of Sr. Michael's desire to celebrate every possible birthday, anniversary and feast day. The sisters who assisted her in her last days (at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center) mentioned that when she was first admitted there (no one had yet realized how serious her condition was), the Rabbi who is the chaplain paid a visit. Sr. Michael said she knew there was a Jewish prayer for healing, and the Rabbi asked if she wanted him to pray it. Of course she did. "In Hebrew or in English?" "Both!" This same Rabbi came here to pay his respects as we waked Sr. Michael. But the most surprising visitor was, without a doubt, Cardinal O'Malley. Turns out, the Franciscan friary in Puerto Rico was just down the street from the Paulines, and the Cardinal knew Sr. Michael from those years they both spent in that mission.
Sr. Michael had been looking forward to our Christmas concerts, so we know she was there last night, helping us to get all our notes and words in the proper order. Our final concert of the season is this afternoon. Once she helps us get those same notes and words together, she can get some "eternal rest."