Saturday, November 07, 2009

Sister Rosemary Statt, R.S.C.J., 1937-2009.

As some longtime readers of this blog know well, I spent some months as a novice and one of my summers in First Studies doing refugee resettlement work with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County in San Jose, California. Early on my first day at Catholic Charities, my supervisor took me around the office to introduce me to my new coworkers. Along the way, we passed an empty office with "Sr. Rosie Statt" printed on the open door. Though she was out of the office, my supervisor assured me that I would encounter Sister Rosie later on. "You'll remember meeting Sister Rosie," she said, "and you'll remember that I said that."

Meeting Sister Rosie Statt was certainly a memorable experience, as was sharing a workplace with her. Sister Rosie's work was very different from mine: she spent her time finding places for poor people to live and negotiating with landlords, while I tutored African and Asian refugees in English and helped them adjust to life in the United States. Even so, I often crossed paths with Sister Rosie in the hallway or the lunchroom, and she sometimes stopped by my office to impart words of encouragement or support. At first I thought she was looking out for me, until I found out that she did the same with almost everyone in the office.

Sister Rosie demonstrated a commitment to cura personalis that extended to clients and coworkers alike. She cared not only about what people were doing but about how they were doing, showing an active concern for the emotional and spiritual well-being of all the people she spent her days with. Her good cheer and infectious sense of humor remained undiminished even as she began to suffer the effects of the cancer that would ultimately take her life. As Sister Rosie's health faltered, she continued to work to serve others in a manner that suggested that her ministry gave her the strength and energy that she needed in her battle with cancer. Though that battle that ended last Saturday when Sister Rosie died at the age of 72, her example of service will surely live on in the memory of her clients and coworkers.

Since I learned of Sister Rosie's death earlier this week, I've been praying not simply for the repose of her soul but in thanksgiving for the gift of having met and worked with her. As a member of the Society of the Sacred Heart - the fabled "Madames" of yore - Sister Rosie was proud to follow one of the great spiritual charisms in the Roman Catholic Church. For me, Sister Rosie also served as a fitting representative of the many religious women who have given their lives in generous and often little-noticed service to the Church and to people in need.

As I join my prayers with those of Sister Rosie's friends, family, fellow sisters, clients and coworkers, I also pray that her work and example may continue to inspire all who knew her. AMDG.


Post a Comment

<< Home