We Remember Her
WE REMEMBER HER
``The memorials had some resemblance to obituaries, but somehow they were warmer, more connected to our shared experience as prayerful women.``
Each year, Companions gather in a memorial service to remember our sisters who have died in the past year. We celebrate lives well lived and mark a Companion’s move to what we lovingly call the Paradise Chapter.
The pandemic canceled Memorials in 2020 so we have two years’ accumulation of Companions who have newly joined the Paradise Chapter. Normally memorials are read in the Chapel at Adelynrood as part of our Annual Meeting but this year we must do them virtually in four Zoom sessions on June 26, July 17, CORRECTION: August 7 and August 28. Companions and families of our departed Companions have been invited, and the information about these Memorials gatherings are on our new website at https://schccompanions.org/2021-memorials/. The memorial biographies will be published on the Companions’ internal website.
The First Time I Attended Memorials
I vividly remember the first time I experienced this tradition. We were seated in the Chapel, between the little kneelers and rail at the back and the wooden sculpture of two figures witnessing our Savior on the cross, gateway to the altar. It was a steamy New England summer afternoon. The chapel windows were open on both sides. Fans moved the air slightly. Many Companions were wearing white and fanning themselves. I sensed an unexplained mood of alert anticipation in the room.
As I was a very new Companion, I recognized few of the Companion names on the list who would be memorialized that day. In the main building there was a display of photos of many of them, and I would learn much more about them shortly.
After the opening welcome, our Companion-in-Charge announced who would read the first memorial and who had written it. A Companion rose and went to the lectern on the right, adjusted the microphone and began reading from a sheet. The life and personality of our departed Companion began to take shape in my mind. I heard details of her participation in her chapter and at Adelynrood. I learned of her commitment to her parish. She cared about issues. She worked to relieve suffering. She might have married, raised children and had a distinguished career in the working sphere. I could tell from the loving anecdotes that the author included and the smiles and laughter of the listeners, that this Companion was much loved. Wow, I thought, she must have been amazing. I felt a bit shy, not seeing myself in her league as one of God’s friends.
All the Saints Who From Their Labors Rest
The memorials had some resemblance to obituaries, but somehow they were warmer, more connected to our shared experience as prayerful women. Required to keep the memorial to a certain word limit, the writers had to cram a lifetime into the short accounts. In spite of that, the vitality and love of each Companion remembered spilled out, one after another, showing an amazing variety of experiences that made up lives well lived.
These Companions didn’t sound like the stereotypes of serious religious women. They sounded like people I would have been delighted to know — every one of them.
Walking back to my little room after the last one, I felt energized. I was inspired to try to be more active, thoughtful and generous, like these role models. I also knew that even my quirks will be lovingly remembered when my time comes to join the Paradise Chapter and be among the memorials.