Saturday, November 18, 2006

We had our first-ever funeral in the monastery today, for Oblate Jill Gendel, may she rest in peace. Jill's life was full of difficulties yet I never saw her upset. As her sister put it, she always thought the best of everyone. She led a whole crew of scholars at Catholic Theological Union in daily prayers for me before my ordination (badly needed!). Much of Jill's suffering was quite literally for Christ. She was Jewish and entered the Catholic Church about 25 years ago. She remained devoted to her people, though her decision to follow Christ made some relationships very hard.

Many from her family were present at the funeral. Today, I was very aware of the connections between Catholic liturgy and the temple and synagogue. We made sure to pray two Jewish prayers, closing the homily with the Kaddish, the prayer prescribed for the family of the deceased, and of course saying the Lord's Prayer together (I have heard that Cardinal George has referred to this as a Jewish prayer: taught by a Jew and containing no reference to the Holy Trinity!).

Would you please say a prayer for Jill and for her family? And please remember in your prayers the ongoing Jewish-Catholic dialogue, which I believe is so important for the future of the Church and the Jews. What a wealth we have to learn from our 'older brothers' in Faith.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was sorry to read of Jill's passing today and that I missed her funeral. She was a very nice lady. I will pray for her tonight.

Tom Downes

Anonymous said...

Been catching up on past blog postings. Please relay to Dom Brendan I very much enjoyed his posting on the Assumption. Thank you.

Tom Downes

Edith OSB said...

How fitting, for a monastery in the heart of the city, that your first funeral was for an oblate.

Of all the liturgies we celebrate, our funerals are actually my favorite. They are filled with the hope of eternal life and the joy of the communion of saints. When I was first considering monastic life, a funeral took place while I was visiting - and I thought, "it would all be worth it, just to be buried like this." That sounds quite superficial, but at the time it was not.

eneville@mtmc.edu said...

I understand Jill was briefly a member of two other communities. Can you tell me which ones? Someone thought perhaps she had once been with us (Sacred Heart Monastery, Yankton, SD), but I do not find any record that she was.
Thank you.

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