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“After I told her goodbye and was preparing to leave her bedside, I felt her gaze and turned around. It was her eyes—always a lovely blue—but these were different—never have I seen the like,” so said her old friend, her voice quivering. “She was a blessing, both for herself and for me.”

A member of the teaching community of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, she had devoted the last five years of her life preparing for her dying and self-publishing her findings in the booklet, When Threads Wear Thin–Souls Stirring of an Octogenarian (2019). Written with humility and simplicity, it reflects her passion for her God with whom she had spent her vowed life, often in positions of leadership. Especially was this true in the wake of the Vatican II reforms that stressed all religious communities to the max.

The bibliography also reflects her interest in like-minded seekers, especially Dr. Singh’s insights that she internalizes within her own process. She probably spent little time in the Chaos phase and moved on to Surrender and Transcendence.

But to return to her glittering blue eyes, as I call them—a manifesto of her psychospiritual transformation before death. It seems like she was practicing the moment of “Free Fall” into Cosmic Love, her sense of the dying process as found in her journals.

Her name was Sister Carol Ann Collins, SSND. We miss her.

 

“Her name is Millicent—She’s nine weeks old.” Her voice trills, her dark eyes flash, her rounded shoulders stand tall as my neighbor shifts the short leash to her other gloved hand. Around her heels teeters her new poodle, its blonde scrimpy coat unlike the tawny one of Fredericka, her predecessor.

For long years my neighbor had cared for Fredericka: groomed her meticulously, walked her mornings and evenings, attired in appropriate rain or snow gear; and when younger, coached her to prance on hind legs to the squeals of kids. Even her hair color and loose fitting dresses complemented Fredericka’s. They were inseparable.

However, this spring brought change. Heavy were the steps of both my neighbor and Fredericka. Their walks were shorter, their spirits lagging. It was just a matter of time. And then my neighbor climbed the hills alone, her head bowed as if still searching for Fredericka, her black pointed shoes plodding resolutely upon the sidewalk. Somber was her attire and mood.

But no longer—winds now tease strands of blonde hair across my neighbor’s forehead and whips open her cream-colored long coat. Vibrantly alive, she bursts with news and the Universe is listening. We are too.

 

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