Sister Maria Martin Finn, CSJ
Welcome to all of you who are Sister Maria Martin Finn’s family – all of you who know her as Aunt Chris. Anne Marie told me that Aunt Chris was a “prominent figure” in the family that Thomas and Gertrude Finn started. I have no doubt you all agree. I trust each of you knows that you were very important to her.
When she was baptized in St. Teresa’s Church in Brooklyn, she was given the name Clarisse in honor of her aunt, S. Mary Clarisse, CSJ, but her siblings soon changed her name to Chris. After going to Our Lady of Lourdes school, Queens Village, Chris went to the Juniorate and then immediately into the Novitiate.
The biggest surprise for me as I read Martin’s profile was to discover that her BS from St. John’s is in History! Did anyone ever think of her as anything but a Math teacher? She taught in various elementary schools for 55years! Amazing! Mary’s Nativity, St. Rita’s, St. Athanasius, OL of Mt. Carmel, St. Christopher’s, St. Anne’s, Brentwood, St. Philip Neri and St. Christopher’s again. All were blessed with her excellent teaching.
I met Martin in St. Philip’s, Northport. It was my first mission. But Martin was very experienced, she was teaching the eighth grade and she was teaching Math. I experienced “the Aunt Chris voice” and saw its effects on the kids in the school yard. Needless to say, I was very intimidated! Soon I realized she was really a mush! Then I just loved her. She was hysterical. She could tell jokes that had all of us laughing but she also would listen and affirm. She was a great community woman.
That was true all through her life even to the end. After her teaching days were over, she volunteered in the Religious Ed program in St. Christopher’s, along with her good friend, Dolores McLaughlin. Several of us will never forget how she used her gift of humor at the dreaded driving tests. She arrived laughing and equipped with jokes about driving so she relaxed everyone who was there. We wanted to hire her for each day.
The Sisters and staff in Sacred Heart reminisced yesterday and shared three things:
She was “Sister Fundamentals” – but you will hear more about that later.
She was the Mayor of the community room – having her own brown chair in the center of the room so she could see all that went on .
She was an avid reader who not only read voraciously but engaged others in discussing the books.
Even in her last year in MR, she was a shining star. She went to every community meeting and was very present. She was totally interested in community things – she loved the Leadership Updates and would underline and memorize some things so she would be with it. She made friends with the other residents and once again, her gifts of affirmation and humor cheered many a person. One thing I am really grateful for was that her 75th jubilee was last year not this year. She planned the celebration with a bit of anxiety but with great joy – and she reveled in it. Her Gospel today is the one about the treasure in the field. Her vocation was her treasure, and Martin, you are our treasure. We thank you.
Now, I invite S. Peggy Fanning to share her reflection on Martin.