Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sister Denise Mosier: The Heroism of Consecrated Religious Women

What a weather morning here in Chicago. Went to the gym for my 6:00 A.M. spin class, and when I tried to get to the car, all heck broke loose. Thunder, lightning, and rain, rain, rain. It's been quite a few weeks here in Chicago.

Did you read the story about the religious sister who was killed by a drunk driver? There were two other sisters in the car as well, and they remain hospitalized. You can read the story here and here.

It seems that the intoxicated man (Carlos Montano) was an illegal immigrant. Local and federal authorities are using the incident to point out flaws in current immigration laws. While this incident surely shows some inherent problems, the real crux of the story for Catholics (and others) is in the response by the deceased sister's convent.

This is the statement released by the convent: "The Benedictine Sisters are dismayed and saddened that this tragedy has been politicized, and become an apparent forum for the illegal immigration agenda." The spokesperson, Sister Andrea Verchuck, said that she would rather focus on the needless tragedies caused by drinking and driving, and on forgiveness, in memory of Sister Denise Mosier. Sister Andrea went on to say this: "If she had been conscious at the time that she was taken from the wreck, if Carlos had been there, she would have said, 'Carlos, I forgive you.' "

Here's photo of Sister Denise Mosier. Look carefully at the words she is pointing to on the chalkboard, as well as the other words:

When I read stories like this, stories that remind us of the Christian heroism of religious sisters like Sisters Denise and Andrea, I am moved beyond words. I often wake up each morning and wonder how Christ will be made present to me in the unfolding of the day's events. Today, Christ was made present through the witness of these consecrated women.

When my life takes strange turns and I fall into sinfulness, I often am filled with doubt, doubt as to whether or not forgiveness is even possible. The words of Sister Andrea stand as a reminder today that, just as Sister Denise would have said "Carlos, I forgive you," so does the Lord look squarely at me, his beloved sinner, and say "Jerry, I forgive you."

In the words of Saint Julie Billiart, another one of my heroes (the foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur), "Ah, qu'il est bon, le bon Dieu!" Ah, how good is the good God.

Sister Denise Mosier, may the angels lead you into paradise, may the martyrs come to welcome you and take you to the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem.

And Carlos Montano, may you know how good is our good, loving, and forgiving God.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Thom, sfo said...

I really needed this today. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Sister Denise was my 6th grade teacher back in St. Marys, Pa in 1969. She was one of the good ones. I still have one half of the bookends she was given when she professed her vows. The other was broken that school year and in June when I was helping her put her room in order for the summer she gave me the one that was left. I want you to have this . . . it's important to me like you are.

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Thank you, Anonymous, what a touching story. You may just be in possession of a future relic. She certainly sounded like a saint to me.

Anonymous said...

Jerry, it's a HUGE world, but God makes it feel small by connecting us to one another in both miraculous and mundane ways in our daily lives.

Sr. Denise Mosier was a friend of mine, one of the special sisters at the Benedictine Monastery we now call our spiritual home, and she was a wonderful, vibrant, beaming messenger of God's love in her every move...and she moved a lot! She often did liturgical dance at special masses, and was always enveloping those around her in her loving embrace. You would have LOVED her! I know, because I remember YOUR enthusiasm and vibrancy and how you drew so many closer to God in your time at Mary Mag...

I was just reading this post b/c it was linked to my friends' Facebook account, and I don't even know what made me look at your name below the post, but I was shocked when I saw that it was you, my long-lost friend and confirmation sponsor...sorry we haven't kept in touch, but I remember the many times spent together fondly! I hope you are well, and I hope that you are still continuing to draw people into the life of the Church. It certainly looks like you are doing just that!

Lots of love to you, and I hope that maybe we can catch up one of these days!

All the best,
Kari Esbensen