Ann Marie Ghiloni, CSJ

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

September 1, 1914 – August 26, 2018


If we listen attentively, we can almost hear God saying to Sister Dorothy Melanson:  “Well done good and faithful friend, enter into the kindom I have prepared for you since the creation of the world”. 

Dorothy, born to Joseph and Elizabeth Melanson, grew up in Allston with her cherished siblings, Evelyn and Chester.  She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1933.  All her life, Dorothy believed that her life was a precious grace with limitless blessings.

 As most of you know, Dorothy would have celebrated her one hundred and fourth birthday on this coming Saturday, September 1.  Now she celebrants that birthday in heaven surrounded by her loved ones.  She was in her eighty-fifth year as a Sister of St. Joseph and lived her life with graciousness and grace – ever the lady.

 As a Sister of St. Joseph of Boston, Dorothy taught in many of our schools in the diocese:  South Boston, the North End, Medford, Dedham, Dorchester, Lynn.  In 1956, she answered the Congregation’s call to assume the ministry of Novice Director, introducing well over six hundred young women to religious life and the history, spirit and spirituality of the Sisters of St. Joseph.  (She also taught us the proper way to eat an orange and a banana.)

On Dorothy’s one hundredth birthday, the sisters who entered in 1958, planned a wonderful birthday party for her.  They shared their fond memories and novitiate stories. They remembered that Dorothy (Sister Elizavetta) was the first person to greet and welcome them to the Novitiate. Were there time to tell the stories, we would be sitting here well into the evening!   It was a wonderful celebration for Dorothy and brought her much joy.

 As vibrant, young women (teenagers really) the postulants and novices were not sure what this new life would hold for them.  They learned many things. Their most valued learning was how to use their gifts to serve the “dear neighbor” and continue the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

 For the past fourteen years, Sister Dorothy called Bethany Health Care Center “home”.  Her life here included a continuous life of prayer for others and her beloved community.  Hers was a ministry of companionship, being a source of encouragement and hope for the residents and staff.  Her warmth and joy brought comfort to many.

 Dorothy chose the readings and music for her funeral.  They speak boldly of the beliefs and values she held dear.  She gave thanks to her God always for her life, her family and her community.  She counted each person who cared for her so lovingly and tenderly here at Bethany Health Care Center, a blessing in her life.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus proclaims that those who have fed the hungry, visited the sick, gave drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, will inherit what has been prepared for them.  We know for sure, that God has grasped Sister Dorothy Melanson by the hand and said to her, “Welcome O blessed one – inherit all that has been prepared for you”!  Dorothy, may you rest in peace!

 Given by S. Denise Kelly, CSJ

August 30, 2108