“Til the end of my days I will sing your praise…give you thanks all my days.”
Sister Anne Condon, OSC: Born, June 10, 1913; Profession of Vows, March 28,1933; Died, January 11, 2016
“GO HOME …”
In the Gospel of Mark (2: 1-12) for today’s weekday Mass, the friends of the paralytic broke through the roof because of the crowds, in order to place him before Jesus for healing. Jesus saw the deep faith of the man and his friends. Addressing the paralytic, Jesus said: ” ..rise, pick up your mat, and go home. It was a holy night of vigil when Sister Anne picked up her mat to go home. She broke her bonds after a very long struggle, at 12:10 a.m. Monday. Sister Gabriel and I were privileged to vigil with her that night; so gentle, so silent, so easy was her passage that we might easily have missed that sacred moment had we not been watching her closely.
Sweet Anne – a woman who would say to each of us here today, “I love you so much, and I care so much for you and your families. I thank you for walking with me, for the many years we have shared, for the care you have all given me. 1will continue to be with you. I ask you to be mindful of me.“
Sister Anne, a great woman of God. The words of our sister and mother, St Clare, from the 13th century, were a constant inspiration for her:
“Loving one another in the charity of Christ, let the love
you have in your hearts be shown outwardly in your deeds. “
Anne was not afraid of hard work; she was equally not afraid of prayer, nor of profound beauty. She would often say “If people only knew how wonderful it is to be a Poor Clare, the world would be filled with Poor Clare monasteries.
With five of us from Sauk Rapids, she initiated our presence in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul/Minneapolis, At that time our Sisters of St Joseph gave us haven at HolyAngels Academy, as a “home before our home”. In the next decade we grew very quickly. In 1960 we received an invitation from Archbishop Harold Henry to makea foundation in South Korea; as a community we said yes and opened the monastery on Cheju Island in 1972 which in turn founded a monastery on the mainland in 2001 inYangYang. And in 1991 a community of four went to Saginaw, Michigan.
Another involvement in the Clare life was that of our federation of monasteries; as you might suspect, Anne was very involved. She held in great respect an educated and cultural life, making her the logical person to be a leader of a study program for contemplative sisters at the then-College of Saint Teresa in Winona.
I could go on and on with specifics about what filled her life, her days. She was ever so generous. Here at the monastery, we have liturgical masterpieces from her loom as master weaver, an art she loved and created as long as her health would permit. Here we also have evidence of her looking ahead, thinking of future generations.
It is difficult to recount her life of virtue. She didn’t flaunt her piety, yet it ran deep as an ocean. Anne knew exactly from where came her strength. A great icon to all of us in her last months, weeks and days, was the full acceptance of her life at St Therese in New Hope as her home. Not an easy transition from life with us in our monastery, but that grace of transformation to the fact that she would not be able to return to 8650 was equally God’s triumph and Anne’s triumph. It helped us, her sisters, to a place of peace, a peace that would wrap her round in her last days and hours. She was ever a woman of strength, a strength that helped others to walk upright and stand tall in trust, humble faith and great love.And most especially in gratitude: her mantra was “Thank you.” For the slightest assistance: “Thank you.” She was especially grateful for the care she received in her frailty; for example she spoke so often of the staff at St Therese:”they work so hard,” she would say.
Feisty, tough and, oh, so tender, always quick to say, “I am sorry.” Having walked with Sr. Anne for over 65 years through storm and calm, thick and thin, I testify to the wonderful gifts engraved in her heart and spirit. She has entered the quiet, peaceful immensity of God, of Clare and Francis, of countless loved ones, of the beautiful universe, greater than we can grasp from our side.
I believe she would say to all of us: “Thank you for coming today. There is life that as yet is unlived in you; let it blossom into a future that is fired by Love. Fear no fear that enters your path, for fear is cowardly in the face of your God-given inner strength.”
Go forth, Sweet Anne. Go to the embrace of the One who created and sanctified you, the One who has nurtured you as a mother into your precious life. Go home, Anne, go home to your mountain. From that holy place, remember all of us as you cry out with all the holy ones: “KADOSH, KADOSH, KADOSH: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, LORD GOD OF HEAVEN AND ALL CREATED THINGS …
Testimony of Sister Helen Weier, OSC