Yesterday I went to the funeral mass of Peggy Donnelly, aka Sister Margaret Hughes Donnelly, SUSC. She was a social worker who worked with me when she was a student at RIC at Harvard Health. She died at 52 after a long bout with cancer. Everyone said the same things about her, from the Bishop to her Mother Superior, to her brother--that she was gracious, kind, always thinking of others. She never had a bad word to say about anybody. Nobody mentioned how pretty she was. At Harvard Health we had some pretty bawdy meetings and parties, and, while she never told an off-color joke, she laughed at the ribaldry of others, and never made you feel that you should be careful what you said around her. She had such a thirst for knowledge. When she had a cancellation of her own patient, she would sit in on my therapy sessions. She was determined to be the best therapist she could so that she could help others. All spoke of her faith. Toward the end, whenever she would speak, she would cough painfully and uncontrollably. A priest, visiting her, said to her that it must be hard not to be able to speak to anyone the way she wanted. She whispered, "At least I can talk to God."
The church was in Fall River. Having been in Fall River only to go to the outlets there, I have always seen it as a run-down slum of a town. But high on the hill there are mansions after mansions, all in gorgeous condition. Years ago, the owners of the mills that have long since moved South lived there. Holy Name Cathedral is there. It is a gorgeous church, fairly new. Unlike most of the Catholic churches in New England, which are austere stone, this one is simple white wood. It's very large and beautiful inside. It was good to hear the real Massachusetts accent, as when her brothuh spoke of the cities of Faw Rivuh and Noo Behfuh.
Thank Gawd the cawfun was closed.
I have always wondered how the Pope (not just this one) can beatify and canonize people into saints, when they didn't work "real" miracles. She was one of the saints that I have met during my life, and she has my vote, Your Holiness.