We celebrate the life of Sister Phyllis Theresa Franzo, a Sister of St. Joseph for sixty year’s. Phyllis loved life and lived in the present moment of each day. In the Church’s season of ordinary time we listen to the scriptures telling us of Jesus’ early ministry of healing, welcoming the stranger and inviting others to watch, listen, follow and do what he has done for the suffering, lost, and lonely. The early disciples paid attention and at times wondered what Jesus’ message of inclusive love, healing and forgiveness meant.
Phyllis experienced God’s love early in her life through her parents, Theresa and Dominic and that love was nurtured and sustained in the close relationships she had in her family. All of her life she cherished times to celebrate with them, the regular contacts and the mutual support in times of sorrow.
As did the early disciples, Phyllis paid attention, watched and listened to Jesus speaking to her heart. Relationships were so important in her life and throughout her ministries, Phyllis cherished the children she taught, the many parishioners she encountered and those she served in so many volunteer ministries. Phyllis taught younger children in St. John the Evangelist, Visitation, St. Stanislaus and Holy Spirit, all in the Brooklyn Diocese. Moving to Suffolk County, she was an active participant in the life of St. Patrick’s Parish in Smithtown.
A true Sister of St. Joseph, Phyllis did whatever needed to be done. She came to Brentwood, serving in our Maria Regina Residence and eventually in our Renewal Center where she was a warm, welcoming presence. She continued to use her creative abilities to enhance the lives of so many who visited and for all of us here in the convent. Phyllis was truly the face of the loving God she knew so well. I am sure that as she was welcomed by her God into eternal peace, the question we will hear in today’s gospel was asked: “Phyllis do you love me?” But I think God responded for her: “Phyllis I know that you love me.”
Phyllis, as in the proverbs reading today, we praise you for your faithfulness and integrity. We admire your strength and commitment. We thank you and we love you.
Sister Phyllis Theesa Franzo. CSJ died on January 9, 2017 in the 61st year of her religious life.