Several months before she died a friend gave her a cross. A prayer cross. It wasn't fancy, it wasn't even pretty. It was carved from wood. A simple cross for a simple woman.
She was told to hold it in her hand, fingers wrapped around the 4 corners while she prayed. And then when she was too sick to pray....just hold it and it would become the prayer she could no longer speak.
And so she did. Religiously.....pun totally intended. She held it while she prayed, and she held it when she couldn't.
When our 4th boy was born, we asked Sr. Teresa to be his Godmother. She was mine as well and this seemed like a great idea. She was very touched and from the beginning she had a special place in her heart for Tony. Her face would light up when she saw him in a way that didn't happen with just anyone. Any story I could tell her about him and his antics were met with the laughter of a person that loved him like her own. She loved him so much.
Around the time when we knew she was coming to the end of her life, my mom told me what Sr. Teresa had told her. She wanted Tony to have her prayer cross. I was so touched because I knew what that cross meant to her. When she died, she was holding it during the viewing. One of her best friends, another nun, was sure to get it before she was buried. She had told many people about the cross and her special Godson who was going to get it.
About 2 mos. later my mom recieved an envelope in the mail. One of the nuns had come across it in her things. It was a letter to Tony. One that she had obviously written when she was getting pretty sick, as it was fairly hard to read. But it's message was clear. She wanted Tony to know about the cross and why she wanted him to have it.
The beginning was precious.....
The middle so sincere and loving.....
And the end more touching than anything I've ever read.
A woman who has had a life of service and a vow of poverty may not have much to leave in terms of material things....but the simple things she did have are far above anything money could buy.
My Dear Tony,
I want you to have this holding cross. It was such a comfort to me in my dying process and I want to share that with you. There may be times in your life when no prayer/no words come and you feel you are losing your faith. At times like that, just hold the cross and say nothing. This saying nothing is letting your body pray and is a prayer very pleasing to God.
I give this to you with all my love, loving you from heaven and asking God to embrace you with all His love and bring us together again in heaven.
Since I won't be around to see you grow up to be a good person, I want you to keep this as a reminder of whom you have been called.
My niece, me, Sr. Teresa, My brother, Tony