Sister Rita Elizabeth Derricks, CSJ
There is an old saying: “You can’t take it with you when you go.”
But, the Book of Revelation has another view – “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord… Yes… says the Spirit, theyare blessed indeed, for their good deeds go with them”. (Rev. 14:1-3)
I firmly believe that all of us – gathered in this Sacred Space where Elizabeth prayed so often-as well as many others who could not be here -are among the blessed recipients of the countless “good deeds” that Elizabeth did for so many.
The name Rita means – child of Light.The name Elizabeth means Fullness of the God of Plenty.Throughout her life, with family, friends and her many Communities,Rita Elizabeth brought the Light of Christ to those lucky enough to know her.Without a doubt, she helped others to know the fullness of the God of Plenty.
Elizabeth was a teacher – whether she was teaching students in classrooms,as a special tutor for those who needed extra attention, guiding Parish Catechists when she was a DRE,as a Catechist herself, when she was witnessing our Faith for those in the RCIA process – or even helping me learn the sacredness of theMinistry of Regional – and some practical “stuff” about that as well.
She brought that Light of Christ and the fullness of her own God-given giftsto me and to so many others. I, for one, shall always be grateful.
Elizabeth loved well and faithfully – and was loved in response. Elizabeth loved her family – and was loved by them-as the “Matriarch” of a large, sprawling Irish clan, she delighted in and was renewed by the family celebrations –and the addition of each new member.
Elizabeth loved her Congregation and her Local Community. Her Sisters speak of her as Kind an a woman who would listen patiently to all and who accepted everyone.She would create a comfortable atmosphere for those around herand helped to make the “Snows Convent” a welcoming place for all.
Her baking skills – especially her Irish Soda Bread –enriched many celebrations and a few waistlines. And the artist in her would decorate the House for each holiday and event.
When Sisters in the House were ill, Elizabeth would help to organize their “care plan” –and do it well.When I would ask Elizabeth how she was, she would reply:“Good enough”.
And Elizabeth loved this Parish Family of Our Lady of the Snows.When I would come to Mass here – I would meet her with the idea that after Masswe would go up to the Convent for tea. But that wasn’t so easily done, as Elizabeth would greet and be greeted by just about everyone.
Elizabeth delighted in the Crafts Group –and the very beautiful work they did together – as well as the fun they had doing it. Welcoming new folks through the RCIA process –both to the Catholic Church and to this special parish –brought her great joy. I have the feeling it brought joy to those folks too.
Elizabeth was deeply faithful to her friends of many years. I always admired her skills of keeping in touch with so many – even when they were at a distance.
And so, we the receivers of the “good deeds” of Sister Rita Elizabeth Derricks –will miss her deeply. But as her good deeds go with her to her well-earned place in God’s kindom,I can hear her say to me… and maybe to all of us –So now, Honey… be sure to keep doing your own good deeds so you have something to bring when we meet again.
Virginia Down, CSJ
Sister Rita Elizabeth Derricks, CSJ died on June 17, 2018 in the 69th year of her religious life.