Look very closely. In the middle of this wonderful, sprawling, familial sea of love is Mrs. Sue Kelsey. Sue died upon the Feast of Saint Stephen, December 26, in 2020. She was 97-years-old. May she rest in peace.
This week Bishop Boyea has been challenging each of us to write a letter of thanksgiving to our mother, living or dead, and to pray a Hail Mary for her daily. It’s the latest weekly challenge from Bishop Boyea as part of his Disciples Together on the Way initiative.
One person who has taken up the challenge is Marita Martin. Marita is Sue’s daughter. In fact, she’s sat next to Sue in this photograph. Marita is also the Director of Religious Education at Saint Mary Parish in Chelsea.
Do take a moment to read this beautiful letter of thanksgiving as Marita recalls a remarkable woman who “loved going to Mass and drew her strength from the Lord”: Marita writes:
My mom was a woman of great faith and love. She served our family, our church, our neighborhood, the sick, the dying, and the hungry.
Our family would take summer camping trips and she would crawl in the back of the station wagon, open the cooler and make our bologna sandwiches for lunch. She packed our church clothes in a special box so we could find them on Sundays when we went to church in whatever town we were near or whatever national park we were camping at.
My mom was there helping at school carnivals and a member of the altar society.
When a neighbor got sick or needed a nurse’s opinion it was my mom they called.
My mom worked 30 years as an ob/gyn nurse helping to bring many babies into the world and help the new moms recover. When a patient was having a difficult time and didn’t want to talk, my mom was the one they sent in to talk to the patient and find out what was wrong.
When my mom retired from hospital work, she volunteered as a hospice worker. She would give respite care so primary caretakers could have a break. She was there when many souls went home to Jesus.
My mom and dad worked at the inner-city soup kitchen. She loved going to Mass and drew her strength from the Lord.
In her last years of life, she was in an assisted living facility and developed dementia. You never knew what she would remember or what kind of conversation you were going to be able to have with her.
In her last months I said to her, "Thanks for sharing your faith with me, Mom." She answered, '"You have made good use of it".
We were blessed to have Fr. John Linden come and give my mom the anointing of the sick. Hospice care workers helped us see her through the last days of her life.
It was my honor and privilege to hold my mom’s hand as she went home to Jesus.