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Mary Josephine Quirk, CSJ
We remember her in the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer
September 30, 1936 – August 2, 2019
Today’s Liturgy is truly a celebration of the life of Mary Jo Quirk. She chose the readings and music she wanted for her funeral liturgy and they reflect her life beautifully.
In the first reading, you will hear God say, “Fear not, I have called you by your name, you are mine.” In the second reading we hear: “put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Always be thankful.” The Gospel tells us to, “Live in God’s love” and “Love one another as I have loved you”.
The songs Mary Jo chose for this liturgy also give us a glimpse into her soul: “God, you are the center of my life” and “Gentle woman, quiet light”
Mary Jo’s last weeks on this earth were lived without fear. Her gratitude and her sense of humor were always present. Although she was unable to eat, when asked if she would like something, she responded, with a twinkle in her eye, “Yes, a lobster roll and a strawberry sundae”! She was always thankful for every kindness shown to her by her devoted care givers here at Bethany and by her loving sister, John Mary.
Mary Josephine Quirk was born in Malden to Michael Joseph Quirk and Hannah McCarthy Quirk, both from County Cork, Ireland. She grew up in Malden with her two sisters, Betty and Anna and maintained life-long connections to Sacred Hearts Parish in Malden. When she was young, she became the group leader for her sisters and many cousins. She led the group on numerous excursions. As they ventured to the dentist on Saturday mornings, Mary Jo would make sure everyone paid their fair share for the train.
She entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph in 1954 and lived sixty-five years ministering to the dear neighbor without distinction.
Mary Jo’s life was devoted to the care of the Sisters of St. Joseph, whether it was in East Boston, Amesbury, Franklin or here in Framingham. When asked to describe her ministry, she wrote, “Ministering to our sisters, whether it be listening to them, being there when they need me, taking time to just be with them, sharing community or telling them how important they are, fills me with joy, hope and love. I have received much in blessings and graces from our sisters”.
Mary Jo spent over forty years as a Certified Nursing Assistant here at Bethany. She shared her gifts with our sisters: her life of prayer, companionship, a listening heart and encouragement. She was, indeed, a visible sign to others of God’s compassionate presence and love.
While living here in Framingham, Mary Jo widened her circle of ministry by reaching out to her neighbors next door who lived at Bethany Hill Place, an affordable, educational residence sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Mary Jo would accompany her sister, John Mary, and often visit the residents at Bethany Hill with their arms laden with books, crayons, winter hats and gloves, candy and cookies for the children. Both Mary Jo and John Mary were Santa’s helpers at Christmas time, wrapping all the gifts for the children. Theirs was a ministry of presence and active love.
In the Scriptures, we encounter two sisters who companioned Jesus and tended to his needs. Martha and Mary, very different from one another, but truly loved each other and Jesus. They gave their all to him and others. They remind me of two other sisters who gave their lives to God and others as Sisters of St. Joseph.
No reflection about Mary Jo would be complete without including the incredible relationship and companionship that Mary Jo shared with her younger sister, John Mary. Their dedication and commitment to each other were remarkable.
Different from each other – – – oh, yes!!!
Their bond of love and faithfulness, witnessed by so many, was indeed a reflection of God’s love for us.
John Mary, know that your sisters in heaven, Mary Jo and Betty will continue to watch over you with sisterly love and know, too, that your CSJ sisters and all those here at Bethany will continue to walk with you and support you each day.
Mary Jo, is now held in God’s embrace. May she rest in peace!