Sister Marie Agnes Doyle

We remember her in the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring

marie doyleMay 10, 1927 – May 17, 2014

In the folder containing the plans S. Marie Doyle’s (S. Candida’s) prepared for her funeral, I found a half sheet of paper that said Macrina Weiderkehr writes:  “Using GK Chesterton’s definition of a saint- a saint is one who exaggerates what the world neglects.  If I could choose one great gift that the world is neglecting, I would have to choose feminineenergy…it is pure presence, gentle yet firm; it is an energy that gives warmth, comfort, and spirit simply by its presence.  It receives rather than takes, it invites rather than demands; unfolds rather than controls; empowers rather than overpowers; finds itself in being rather than in doing….It is part of the fire that Christ came to cast on the earth- a slow flame that burns from within and gradually transforms what it touches, precisely because it touches rather than clutches.”

I am not saying that Marie is ready for sainthood but from the conversations I have had with many and the comments on emails during these past few days, I would guess that what was just read was a pretty accurate reflection of how Marie lived her life as a Sister of Saint Joseph, developing those many feminine qualities living them faithfully and in relationship with God and others. She had a gift for confidently articulating her love for her family, for her religious life, not that she did not have doubts along the way, and of her love for the Church, not that that relationship was without its challenges.

The quote from the Constitution of the Sisters of Saint Joseph found on the cover of Marie’s booklet states, “We see relationship at the heart of mission, and thus we seek to become ever more united in the mind and heart of Christ Jesus, and to foster growth in one another for the sake of the new creation”.

Shaped by her love of God, the message of Jesus, the invitation of Vatican II and the charism of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, that of unity and reconciliation, Marie discerned her many choices. With fidelity, courage and humility she responded to the needs of God’s people. Marie was drawn to that which was life giving, which brought her into relationship with another, and she did this by serving people with joys and sorrows, struggles and hopes whether as a teacher, friend, mentor, counselor, companion, challenger, listener, spiritual advisor, comforter, initiator…

Marie Agnes Doyle was born on Mother’s Day 1927, a true oldest child of a close knit family of six siblings growing up during the depression years.  She learned much from her parents about how a family, through skillful planning and creativity could survive during those days.  At a very young age Marie developed a deep-seeded, lasting relationship with God.  She attended Mount Saint Joseph Academy on an academic scholarship and there established strong bonds of friendship, and found kindred spirits among her classmates.  Upon graduation in 1944, Marie entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph.  Her Alma Mater in 1995 named her a Woman of Excellence, “for her passion for life with which her whole being vibrates and for her dedicated service in ministering to many different needs of others.”

Marie loved each of the ministries in which she was engaged and the relationships that developed especially among her St. Eulalie’s women’s group, the voice of the faithful, and one of the most profound and sacred experiences, that of ministering to the dying and their families in hospice care.

Almost 3 years ago when it was determined that Marie was no longer able to live on her own, because of declining health; she was missioned to Bethany Health Care Center. This was not an easy transition for her even though she was aware of her limitations which at times made her feel very vulnerable.   While here at Bethany she maintained her relationships with her many friends and was a vital resident of the 6th floor.

The scripture readings for today’s liturgy chosen by Marie speak of service, of inclusion, forgiveness, of living water, and of love.   Marie heard these words, listened with the ear of her heart, and followed Jesus as a true disciple, knowing what the cost of discipleship could mean.

We are grateful for the way in which Marie shared the gift of her life with us and how with God’s grace responded to many challenges and joys and cultivated lasting relationships.  We rejoice with her now knowing that she is with her God.

Each of us has our own memories of Marie.  These are precious gifts that help us recall how our lives remain connected.  I invite Denise to share her reflections about her aunt.

Marie your journey is over, abide in everlasting peace and joy with your God.

Given by: Roseann Amico, CSJ

May 22, 2014