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Entries related to: death

Ask a Franciscan: Grieving Family Members

Q. For six years, I was the sole caregiver of my mom and my aunt. They died eight weeks apart. I miss them so much; they were my best friends, and we did everything together. I still grieve their deaths, especially during the holidays. I cry often, but I offer all my loneliness, sadness, and Masses for the holy souls in purgatory. When will my pain and loneliness ease? I am very active in my local parish.
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Encountering Darkness, Rising from Grief

I ask the dark, have you come for my heart? I stand at their gravesides in the blue dress someone found for me to wear. The sleeves are stiff, irritating the tender skin of my empty arms. I watch. I am a girl in a dress the color of the sky, and all that remains from the threshing floor of my life are the names of things.
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Reflecting on Death with Francis of Assisi

Around the world at this time of year, we Franciscans celebrate the Feast of Saint Francis (October 4). One part of our annual observance is a service on the evening of October 3, known as the “Transitus,” or “passing” of Saint Francis. It’s a simple time of storytelling and prayers that recall how, at the moment of his death, Francis called out “Welcome, Sister Death!”
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The Hour of Our Death

I recently received a touching e-mail from a woman who described the moment her dear husband died. “As he took his last breath, he reached his hand out as if trying to touch someone,” she wrote. “And in my heart, I believe he was being met by our daughter and his mom and dad.” I thanked her for sharing that sacred moment with me—a moment she will never forget.
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Lent with Br. Casey: Death

My grandmother lived a very long, full life. In the 91 years before she died, she raised a family of 10 children—her crown jewel—who then produced her 28 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Never once did she go to a party and fail to make an impression on the other guests; and all throughout her life, she found pleasure praying the rosary and going to Mass, even being fortunate enough to pilgrimage to both Rome and Medjugorje on multiple occasions. If there was a bucket list for my grandmother, I can hardly think of something that she left unchecked. She lived a very long, full life. Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky.
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Seeking God with Sister Rose: ‘Lord, Give Me a Sign!’

My parents died within two weeks of each other many years ago. Dad, who never smoked, had terminal lung cancer. Mom had a limb removed due to diabetes and was on kidney dialysis. I was so brokenhearted and wanted a sign from God. I wanted to see a bluebird—a symbol of happiness. My parents had gone through so much suffering in their lives, and I just wanted to be assured that they were happy.  
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A Closer Look at Heaven

Our earthbound language is very limited when it comes to describing heaven. But the old romantic ballad that Fred Astaire sang in 1938 probably describes it as well as anything: “Heaven, I’m in heaven, and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak…”
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This Life and the Next

I have been a Franciscan priest for 55 years. As a priest, a good deal of my ministry has been at the end of a person’s life. Indeed, we priests help dying persons as they prepare to complete their life’s journey and return to the Lord. In my 55 years, including 11 years as chaplain at a 700-resident retirement center, I estimate that I have conducted over 750 funerals.
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Finding the Purpose of Suffering

It's been months since the loss of my grandmother, but my family is still stinging from the thought that we won’t be able to see her the way we did. Grandma spent these last years in a nursing home. As my mind wanders, I think, selfishly, that my routines will change. I won’t be able to pick up hot donuts on my trips to New York and swing by to have an early morning visit with her.
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