To unexpected places,
Called from blindness,
Is to sing from our hearts
The Return: Christmas morning 2002. It’s three in the morning and I
wake with the desire to write a record of my sister’s conversion. I take note of my own, in writing her’s; in truth, one nourishes the other. So, I write this, knowing it’s my vision of her that is offered here. She can’t speak for herself. She died on January 21st, 2002 from lung cancer. Yet, this story has already been written on the tablet of her heart and confirmed at the gateway of her life, on the other shore.
The Leap: It’s the Second Sunday of Advent 2001. MaryCandace enters St. Nicolas Church, very short of breath. There, she’s greeted by her parish priest, by friends and family in attendance for the ceremony of Confirmation. Few know she is taking this step beforehand; many misunderstand her reasons for doing so. Surprised, together we stand before the Altar of the Lord, MaryCandace dressed in white, and for the first time greets the Lord in her reception of Holy Communion, now, as a living member of His Church
MaryCandace expressed the conviction that one day she might step out, and in faith abandonment herself to Divine Providence in this Way. So, in her final years, she grew closer to the Lord without the usual fanfare or complaint, but mostly, through a personal encounter in unexpected places, with people who helped her transformation from a life in despair, to one lived in hope and love. She could now return home with renewed spirit and a restful heart.
A Beginning: It’s the week-after Christmas, ten years earlier (1992) and I’m boarding a plane for Paris. My sister lived near the city for 20 years; in France for 30. I’m reminded of the diagnosis of cancer she received for the second time, now in her lungs. The first go-around resulted in the removal of a breast. My sister’s first experience with cancer was a frightening one. So, I knew my visit with her in Ville D’Avray where she and her children lived, offered few answers. But I tried to reach out and share in her battle. It was a time of uncertainty for all of us, but especially for her. The experience is a vivid reminder, that not all is as it appears. In looking back, the imperative I felt to join her, in her quest to overcome the odds, was a journey in hope.
The alarm went off and the Spirit moved me…to go and see. I was sacristan in a Catholic Church, and it was Advent. My heart was convicted by this need to be-with-her. I was bewildered. I wanted to bring something to her and her kids, something to comfort or assist her in the days ahead. So, I made my flight reservations on the heels of Christmas day 1992 and off I went, in flight to Paris.
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