The following is a reflection at Sr. Anne Mary Lochner’s Vigil Service given by Sr. Rita Ann Wigginton, OSU
The Song we listened to was Daughter of God by Sarah Hart.
The first reading was taken from the Last Counsel of St. Angela Merici to her daughters.
The Gospel was Matthew 5:1-12
Sr. Anne Mary is a daughter of God, along with all of the women sung about in the recording we heard at the beginning of this service. She is also a daughter of St. Angela. She did what St. Angela encouraged all of us to do in the first reading today. She esteemed each one of us. Helping when she could, however she could. She was bound to each of us in love, and we to her. She knew in the depths of her being that God was always with her. She knew this, how? Through her struggles with several illnesses over the last few years, particularly that of not being able to drive anymore [because of her impaired eyesight. She was really angry with God about this one, yet she was faithful in praying to God through it all. And God saw her through to a calm resignation of her reality. What amazing courage and faithfulness that took! She was such an inspiration to me.
Our Ursuline motto is Soli Deo Gloria—Be Glory to the only God. She did all she did to give Glory to her God.
Jesus asked his disciples: “Who is my brother? Who is my sister?” He answered his own question with: “The one who hears the word of God and acts on it.” Anne Mary was an avid listener of the word of God, and she acted on what she heard. This brings us to the Gospel we just heard. Anne Mary was passionate about many things, but particularly the downtrodden. She cared for those who couldn’t lift themselves up by their bootstraps because they had no bootstraps. She lived all the beatitudes, especially the one for “those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied: they shall have their fill.”
In her ministry with Project Women, she prayed that women and children would be treated justly and that they would be given the opportunity to get the “bootstraps” they needed to live their lives with dignity. For the last few years, Anne Mary volunteered at Catholic Charities. She prayed for the immigrants coming through the doors, that they would receive what was owed them by the mere fact that they were human beings who deserved our love and compassion. She loved her Thursday afternoons spent in Shelbyville accompanying and assisting lawyers helping the immigrants with their legal needs. She hungered and thirsted for righteousness. I believe that now she is satisfied.
The theme for this year, which we received on Missioning Day this summer, was Be Clothed in Grace. Through her baptism, Anne Mary was clothed in grace. She was graced and loved by God every moment of her life, just as we have been graced in having known and loved her, and in having been known and loved by her. Now we hand her back to God’s loving embrace.
When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.
Thus, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Artwork by Jen Norton, used with permission.