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Celebrating the Life of Mary Readé

Eulogy by Mike Readé; Homily by the Rev'd Cameron Partridge

May 11, 2024


Gospel: John 14:1-6

May 11, 2024

 

Witness to God’s Good Road


Good Morning, family and friends of Mary Readé, St. Aidan’s friends of Mary. We gather this morning to celebrate the life of an amazing woman. Mary was part of this congregation for many years – decades. All of you here were blessed to know her so much longer than I did. I was so glad to get to know her starting in the months after I first came to St. Aidan’s in 2016. Mary attended our 10 AM service, not ever to the 8 AM, to my knowledge, as she was decidedly not a morning person (when I would call her on the phone I made a point never to call before noon). I always appreciated visiting her and remember having long, deep conversations both at her home in the Sunset and at AlmaVia, where she lived in her last years. What I especially enjoyed about our conversations was how interested she was in the area of Christian formation. She loved church in general and the Christian Mystical tradition in particular, the long, rich vein of writings and prayer practices centering on the soul’s longing for God, the reaching out of our hearts for One who made us, who in Jesus Christ joined with us in every facet of our lives: our joys and triumphs, our heartaches and sorrows, our everyday lived realities. Mary shared with me her interest in St. Clare (1193/4-1253 C.E.), a thirteenth century woman who was inspired by the life and teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, giving up her possessions and becoming one of his followers. She ultimately became the abbess and founder of an order of women known as the “Poor Clares.” As more women were drawn to this way of life, the community spread across Europe.[1]

I learned of this interest of Mary’s because I had once shared a blessing of St. Clare that I adapt from one of the Episcopal Church’s worship resources. It is one of my favorites. I would usually offer this blessing for Mary at the conclusion of a home Eucharist, which I shared with her most of the times we visited— receiving Communion was very important to her. I could always sense the depth of connection that Mary sought and had with God, as I prayed and shared the Communion meal with her, and I especially observed it as she responded to this blessing: “Live without Fear: your Creator has made you holy, always walks with you, and loves you as a Mother. Go in peace to follow the good road, and may God’s blessing be with you always.”[2] The last time I visited Mary at Alma Via in late October, I brought my Communion kit. She received me warmly as I approached her, and when I asked if she would like to receive communion, she slowly shook her head, no, and said “it’s too much.” Understood and very much respected. She had been fed over a lifetime, she had traveled so far and seen so much. Truly, she was ready to go home to God. The spacious dwellings of God’s home were ready for her, as they are ready for all of us even now, inviting us to abide with one another in this life, seeking out connection where it can be make, trusting that God is holding us even when we cannot hold one another. And so I asked Mary, would she like me to pray with and for her. Yes, yes, she nodded, and closed her eyes. At the conclusion of that time of prayer, I said “now I share with you the blessing of St. Clare.” The smile that lit up her face! It could have lit up an entire building.

As I prayed the blessing, what I perceived was a sense of rest in God, a releasing into God’s own heart. This kind of prayer is something we can practice throughout our lives, not only at the time of our death. When life is difficult and we carry much pain—as I know Mary did at various points – we can bring to prayer our longing for God to hold us as we rest, to will ourselves to set our fear, our pain to the side, even if just for a moment, or for a nighttime of sleep, to allow God’s love, a love that St. Clare specifically describes as “like a Mother,” to surround us. We can ask God to accompany us in and through all things, and to help us discover what “the good road” looks like for us. This Mother’s Day weekend, all of us who may have lost a mother or grandmother, or a mothering figure in our lives, may find this an especially difficult time. But my prayer for all of us, and especially for you, beloved family and friends of Mary Readé, is that you might know yourselves to be surrounded by the love of God, a God who goes with us always to follow the good road. I give thanks for the amazing life of Mary Readé and for her unique witness to God’s good road.


[1] “St. Clare” in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1997), 357-358.

[2] Adapted from Enriching Our Worship I. (New York: Church Publishing, 1998), 71.

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