Sister Rene Marie Randon, CSJ
This Easter season sets the tone for our liturgy this morning. For those who believe, life has not ended for our Sister Rene Randon, but changed. The Easter scripture readings encourage us to “Rejoice and Be Glad”, as we marvel at the wondrous works of God. Today, we enter into a joyous celebration of S. Rene’s entrance into eternal life.
Before going any further, let us take a look at who was our sister Rene Randon? The race of life for Irene Agnes Randon began on September 4th, 1927. She lived on Park Place in Brooklyn during her childhood years and attended St. Teresa’s Elementary School on Sterling Place and her High School years at St. Francis Xavier Academy on Carroll Street. She graduated with honors in June 1946.
The following September, Irene entered the Sisters of St. Joseph and at Reception received the name Sister Rene Marie. Rene spent 76 happy and active years as a Sister of St. Joseph.
- Rene started her teaching career in 1948, bringing her love of God and neighbor without distinction, to the children at St. Brendan’s, St. Benedict Joseph, OLPH, Mary’s Nativity and Holy Cross. Her entrance into the high school level started in 1976 until 2006, at her beloved Bishop Kearney.
Rene was a kind, gentle and cheerful person with a great sense of humor and spirit. She was always ready to enjoy a good laugh, especially with her three good friends, S. Anita Rosaire, S. Agnes Muriel and in her later years, S. Pat Maris. These women complemented one another in their friendship.
Rene was prayerful and learned early on that in order to get Jesus’ attention you went through his mother, Mary. She had great devotion to Our Blessed Mother and very often seen in Chapel and in her room praying the Rosary. Time was spent before the Blessed Sacrament where she prayed for all her students and for the “current intentions” that was listed on the Bulletin Board near the Chapel entrance. Attendance at daily Mass was important to Rene and she didn’t let any disability impede her from getting to Church on time.
Rene had a great love for her family. This was evident as she made sure her parents had dinner each night in their elder years by bringing it to them, as they lived near the Convent.
Rene’s sense of humor spilled out into her class room. During a Religious Studies class at Bishop Kearney H.S., Rene lifted her arm to write on the board. At that moment, the already loose elastic in her skirt gave way, and her skirt fell to the floor. Thank goodness for slips! She quickly bent down and lifted up her skirt. Above the laughter of her students, one student called out “Wait! I fell asleep and missed what happened. Do it again.” It was a great moment of laughter that was enjoyed by all.
Pope Francis, in his Apostolic exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel”, reminds us that “we are all missionary disciples who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice.” Rene was aware of this and during her 30 years at Bishop Kearney inspired the student body to participate in fund raisers supporting the work of our sisters ministering in Appalachia, as well as assisting S. Noraleen Murphy in her efforts in providing food to families in the local area in Brooklyn.
Rene’s beverage of choice was cold milk. She often shared how her mother had a cold glass of milk waiting for her and her brother when they returned home from school each day. Throughout her life, Rene continued to drink milk at every meal. She also enjoyed liverwurst sandwiches, Oreo cookies and coffee ice cream for dessert. She saw these as contributing factors, that at 94 years of age she still had all her own teeth.
If you were lucky enough to meet Rene and Pat Maris in the kitchen at lunch time, you were sure to have an enjoyable time. No matter the day, you were treated to contagious laughter and funny stories. S. Rene’s humor, laughter and love of life reflected her love for God which she shared with so many.
During my last visit with Rene at the rehab center, I asked her if she would like to pray? She nodded her head and said “Yes”. I asked then, what she would like to pray for? She turned her head toward me and said,” Ask God to take me home.”
On the evening of May 8th, her prayer was answered. God took her home to join Him, her family and all the saints in heaven. Standing before her was Jesus ready to embrace her and celebrate her homecoming. Rene finished the race as a good and faithful daughter and Sister of St. Joseph.
We thank God for the Gift of Rene’s life and the example she has given to us. May we, in turn, be faithful and continue to minister to all those who come into our lives with joy and with great love.
Mary Ellen Vesey, CSJ
Sister Rene Marie Randon, CSJ died on May 9, 2022, in the 76th year of her religious life.