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Funeral Reflection for Sister Glenna Raybell
Funeral Reflection – Sister Glenna Raybell
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Sister Nancy Miller – Prioress
I thank you all for being here to celebrate the life of Sister Glenna. We are especially grateful that her sister, Janice, could be with us. Janice, Sister Glenna loved you and your family. She would often talk about you and when you or a family member needed prayers, she would always put up a note asking us to pray. We are glad you are here.
Some of you may not know that Sister Glenna was a convert to the Catholic faith. When she was 19, she was baptized as a Catholic. This meant a lot to her. She often talked about it not only on Oct. 31, the anniversary of her baptism but whenever someone asked or there was an opportunity to talk about her faith. Her baptism led her into a new and meaningful relationship with God. She was graced with a love of Jesus and blessed as a beloved daughter of God.
Throughout her life, Sister Glenna had a heart for those in need and would reach out to them in any way she could. She did this through teaching elementary and secondary grades, working as a social worker and finally as a canon lawyer. We knew her as a person who stood up for what she believed and courageously expressed her views especially when it came to promoting justice for those oppressed in any way. She also had something to say on nearly any issue that would come up in her varied interactions. We always knew where she stood because Sister Glenna would clearly tell us. She may have seemed like a tough woman on the outside, but we all knew she had a big, soft and warm heart.
In her later years, Sister Glenna suffered greatly from back pain and other ailments. It was hard for her and for us to see her experience these hardships. None of us like to watch our loved ones suffer. Yet I believe that suffering is God’s way of molding and transforming us so we are ready to let go and enter eternal life. If we allow it, suffering can bring us deeper into the life of God. The second reading for today’s liturgy says not to be discouraged for although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
As time went by Sister Glenna let go more and more of the material things of this life. She didn’t want any distractions. She was open to God’s transformative and renewing action in her heart. We can only guess what was going on between the Holy One and Sister Glenna during the last months and days of her life. But I do know that over the recent years she grew deeper in love with Jesus and those around her. It became easy for her to express it – by saying “I love you” when our visits came to an end and extending her blessing to us.
On Monday afternoon God came to take her home. She was ready. For some time now she has waited to go to the place which God had prepared for her for all eternity – a home of everlasting love.
Sister Glenna, we will certainly miss you but we are happy for you and rejoice with you. We pray that now you are freed from all pain and are comforted in the arms of our loving God. As we continue to celebrate the Season of Easter, we know and believe in the hope of the resurrection.