Joy comes from knowing you are loved and all of us here were privileged to know the joy Cathy radiated each day. This morning we will join in the Eucharist, the ultimate celebration of the outpouring of God’s love on all creation. All of us here have experienced Cathy’s consistent joyful spirit, a spirit revealing her awareness of God’s unconditional love in her life. Cathy first experienced that love through her parents Eileen and John as they nurtured and encouraged her in their home parish of St. Anselm’s. Their strong Irish roots instilled a deep faith in Cathy, her brother Jimmy and their sister, Patricia.
Cathy always had a sense of purpose and was open to new opportunities. One of those opportunities was to become a member of the first class at Bishop Kearney High School where she met the Sisters of St. Joseph, and her dear friend S. Thomas Edna. Cathy grew to know God’s plan for her and responded to God’s stirrings in her heart by entering our congregation in 1965.
Always interested in nursing, in providing care for those who were struggling, Cathy studied nutrition and dietetics at Pratt Institute where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. Open to new opportunities, Cathy ministered as a dietician in our newly opened Maria Regina Residence, providing what would delight the sisters in residence there. And Cathy herself was always a delight to those she served.
New opportunities are always before us and for Cathy the rapid rise of technology in our daily lives provided a unique venue of learning and of course a new opportunity to help others. She brought her keen mind, “can do it” approach to life and joyful disposition to minister in our archives and secretarial offices. At the same time she provided loving care for her dear mother and caring attention to those at St. Ann’s Gardens.
As one often confounded by a new tech challenge I always took comfort from those in our second floor offices who would say: Don’t worry Cathy will help you with that. Perhaps that is the core of what we celebrate today, help, encouragement, joy in the face of challenge, confidence that God is with us in every circumstance of our lives. Cathy, we thank you for living out of that deep joy flowing from God’s love for you. We are grateful that you shared your deep faith, numerous gifts and selfless love with us until the last moments of your life. Now we wish you joy and the eternal peace that you now share with your sister and dear parents. We will remember all of the lessons you taught us but most of all we will remember the joy that radiated from your genuine love for all.
Sister Catherine Atkins, CSJ died on February 16, 2017 in the 52nd year of her religious life.