Eulogy for Sister Eileen Farley, Sept. 23, 1932-Oct. 25, 2009
Eulogist: Sister Mary Fran Simons
Vigil: Oct. 28, 2009, at the Motherhouse in Concordia
Soon after I heard of Eileen’s death and learning of the intense suffering of her last days, there rose up within me these words:
Arise, my beloved, and come
For the winter has passed,
The rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear. Summer has come.
Eileen’s great desire has come to fulfillment. Her deep passion and generous, loving heart has been freed to give and receive full expression.
Sister Eileen Farley died October 25, 2009. She was 77 years old and a Sister of St. Joseph for 56 years. She was born in Fowler, KS on September 23, 1932 to James and Anna Murphy Farley, the eighth of nine children, and was baptized Eileen Agnes. Eileen entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on September 1952 and pronounced her final vows on March 19, 1957.
Eileen was preceded in death by her parents, four brothers and three sisters. She is survived by her sister, Betty Wygant of Grand Junction, CO, her sister-in-law, Mary Farley of Hutchinson, KS., and her many nieces and nephews.
Eileen was a woman who never lost the sense of her own humanity. She loved watching tennis matches on TV, playing bridge, dancing, laughing and a good story.
Eileen was authentic. What you see is what you get: delight—that beautiful twinkle in her eye, the sweet smile and hearty laugh. Sadness, anger or hurt—these, too, could be seen and heard. I, and I suspect others, sometimes might not like what or how Eileen expressed her thoughts and feelings, but if listened to closely, almost always there was more than a kernel of truth in it and something I did not want to see or deal with.
Eileen was a woman who was lured by a love and drawn by a dream to become a Sister of St. Joseph. For over 50 years, Eileen lived as a Sister of St. Joseph. In one of her commitment statements she wrote,
I ask the Congregation to accept my commitment to struggle with the Holy Spirit of love to live out the Heritage Statement of our Founder, Jean-Pierre Medaille, especially to move always toward profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction in humility, in sincere charity always in a spirit of gentleness, peace, and joy.
True to the ideal of a Sister of St. Joseph, Eileen always was doing seemingly little tasks in a hidden manner. Her faithful visiting and caring for her Mother at Mt. Joseph for many years, the respectful and loving way she visited our Sisters who are there now manifested her awareness of the power and grace of presence.
Ministry and service were her driving force. From teaching little ones, caring for the aging as a nurse aid to taking on the structures of society, Eileen was always in a mode of service.
But most of all, Eileen loved us, her biological family, and us, her chosen family of religious women. The shaping of human history and her own personal culture and history limited the expression of this love, just as it does for each of us, but her strong passionate love is now free of those limitations. We welcome you, Eileen, into the company of our family and friends who have gone before us into the eternal loving presence of God and we trust your continued care and blessing of us.
And so we pray: Arise, Beloved one of God, come. For see, the winter is passed, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear. Summer has come.
3 thoughts on “Eulogy for Sister Eileen Farley, Sept. 23, 1932-Oct. 25, 2009”
Bravo, Mary Fran! And…BRAVO, Eileen!! What a beautiful tribute to an authentic person. Eileen will be missed. I am so grateful to you, Mary Fran for the way you captured this life. What a grace.
I can so agree with Mary Fran’s words about Eileen. She was all those things. Mary Fran expressed so well all those things that Eileen manifested. My only regret is that Pat and I couldn’t be there to celebrate with her biological family and our CSJ family. Pat and I will miss her as she has been a part of our lives.
What a beautiful Eulogy to a good and loving friend , Eileen Farley, and companion on the journey of love as an authentic CSJ. May Eileen now enjoy the fullness of God’s great love with family, community members and angels who great her!
Thanks, Mary Fran.