Sister Sara Goss

We remember her in the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer

Sara Goss

November 15, 1915 – August 7, 2014

Recently I heard the words of the song Blessed Assurance, written by Fanny Crosby.  The words of the refrain are: This is my story; this is my song, praising my savior all the day long.

These words reminded me of Sara’s (Sadie’s) response to one of the questions posed to her in an interview conducted by S. Rita McCormack some years ago.  The question was: How do you feel about the future of the congregation?  Sadie replied, “I have trust in the Lord.  I believe it’s in God’s hand, and I don’t worry about it.  Every morning, I tell the Lord, my head works, my feet work, my hands work, use them, Lord, this day.  And then I sing my Ode to Joy”.   Sadie’s own version of Blessed Assurance…her story, her song, her praise to her God.

In the Constitution of the Sisters of Saint Joseph quoted on the cover of the booklet we read, “We strive in every aspect of our lives to be for others a visible sign of God’s presence and active love”.  Other phrases from that same section of the Constitution, such as: in simplicity and joy, we look to Joseph, our model, responsive to the stirrings of the spirit, capture some of the essence of Sadie’s spirit as she strove to live her life as a Sister of Saint Joseph for almost 81 years.

Sara, her older brother and sisters, Bill, Frances and Margaret,  were nurtured by their parents in a loving, faith-filled family, living in the Gate of Heaven Parish community.  Religious life was quite familiar to Sara.  Her paternal Aunt was a Sister of Mercy, and her maternal aunt, (S. Melmarie), and her cousin, (S. Melrita), were Sisters of Saint Joseph. Growing up, Sara had great devotion to the Little Flower and dreamt one day of becoming a Carmelite nun; yet through the Providence of God, and with the blessing of her parents, Sadie entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph, and on March 19, 1934 received the holy habit and the name Sister Meltherese.  Sometime later, Margaret followed her younger sister to the novitiate.   She also desired a form of Mel in her name but that was not to be and she received the name Sister Ralph.

Mel means “in service of ”… Throughout Sara’s life as an educator in various Catholic Schools and parishes of the Archdiocese, ministering as teacher, principal or in later years as school librarian, in Cambridge, Jamaica Plain, Newton Center, West Roxbury or Weymouth, Sadie demonstrated the meaning of those words (in service of) to the children she taught, their parents, the faculty and staff, parishioners and especially with those with whom she shared life.

The sage advice given Sadie by Monsignor Hickey at the time of her transfer from Saint Paul’s Cambridge, her very first mission, “To take the Spirit with you.  Never look for results.  Do your best, and you will always be happy”; were simple yet profound maxims which Sadie took to heart and the Spirit was with her.

When Sadie retired from the classroom, she became the librarian at Sacred Heart School, Weymouth.  An avid reader herself, Sadie saw this as an opportunity to generate that same love of reading in the children, and to continue her relationship with them by sharing stories, poems, faith, prayers, wisdom and memory gems.  One of the poems she taught goes like this: What kind of day will this be?  Well, it really depends on me.  If I start this day with a friendly smile and just keep happy and glad all the while, the weather won’t matter a bit you’ll see for the loveliest kind of day ‘twill be.

As one of the honorees at the first Legacy Gala held at Sacred Heart Parish,

Sadie was recognized for the significant difference she made in the life of the Parish and of the School and for embodying the Spirit and commitment of the Sacred Heart Community.

For years Sara, Mary Claire and Theresa shared life together as a local community.  Their commitment, support, love and care for each other and their faithfulness to Sadie during these past 4 months while she was a resident here at Bethany Health Care Center was most evident.   Sadie was always grateful for the least kindness shown her.  So to, Theresa and Mary Claire extend their heartfelt gratitude for the gentle, loving care provided Sadie by the Staff on the 4th floor and all of Sadie’s caregivers including S. Mary Condon.

When asked by S. Rita during her interview, how Sadie would like to be remembered, she acknowledged God’s great love for her and her immense joy at being a CSJ and responded, “That I enjoyed religious life to the full; that I am happy to be who I am; that I like what I do; that I am happy to have had the health that I have and that I always tried to do my best.” And that she did.

At this time I invite Sadie’s nephew Bill Chisolm to share reflections about his aunt.

Sadie lived life confident of God’s love and faithfulness, believing that one day God would bring her to her final home.  We pray in gratitude for Sadie’s life among us and rejoice that she now celebrates New Life in the presence of the God for whom she longed and with those whom she loved in life who have gone before her.

Roseann Amico, CSJ

August 11, 2014