In this Advent time we wait in hope for the coming of Emmanuel, God with us, who will free us from whatever oppresses us. Today we celebrate the life of Maria Jane Frewen, who is now with her loving God free and at peace for all eternity. A Sister of St. Joseph for seventy two years, Maria Jane was born in Ireland to Johanna and Thomas. She came to Brooklyn with her parents, two sisters and her brother when she was ten years old. She grew up in Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Brooklyn and attended St. Joseph High School.
Upon graduation from high school Maria Jane entered the congregation. She was a musician and she used her talents generously, especially her love for the violin. Maria Jane taught music at The Mary Louis Academy and Holy Name of Mary in Valley Stream. She returned to Brentwood and the Academy of St. Joseph where she taught music and prepared students to participate in the many events and concerts at the school. She often joined in to literally “fill out” the orchestra. Providing individual lessons for students, Maria Jane shared her talents and love of music along with her patient and warm being.
She earned a degree in Child Study from St. Joseph’s College and continued her ministry in music at St. Angela Hall. I knew a number of children who would meet Sister Maria Jane after school for their individual violin lessons. She gently welcomed them and patiently encouraged them to develop their talents and take pleasure in sharing them at recitals and concerts.
In the gospel of today’s liturgy, Matthew praises God for what was hidden from the learned and clever but was revealed to the children. Maria Jane revealed God’s gentle and loving ways to children and adults alike. She can now enjoy the fullness of life as she has accepted the invitation to come, come to her loving God whose yoke is easy and burden light. She has found rest and no doubt joins in the chant of the chorus of heavenly hosts, praising God for all eternity.
Sister Maria Jane Frewen, CSJ died on December 19, 2019 in the 72nd year of her religious life.