Thea McCabe, CSJ

We remember her in the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn.

March 8 1929– December 7, 2019

In the midst of this Advent season, a season of expectation and waiting, God called Thea home!  No more waiting and wondering for Thea as she now sings a new song of rejoicing to her God.  God’s glory has been revealed to her.  The God of compassion, light, wonder and joy now embraces Thea with everlasting love.

 Thea Marie McCabe was the youngest of six children born to Jeremiah and Kathleen McCabe. Thea and her siblings, Helen, Clare, Paul, Muriel and Robert grew up in Somerville.  After graduating from St. Clement’s High School, Thea entered the Sisters of St. Joseph. She was the second daughter in the McCabe family to enter the Congregation.  I am sure her sister Clare had something to do with nurturing the seed of vocation in her youngest sister’s life.

 In the second reading for today’s Liturgy we will hear of God’s great love for us.  We respond to that love by loving others.  Thea manifested God’s love throughout her life in the various ministries to which she was called.

Her great love for God was manifested to her students and others in Allston, Mattapan, Randolph, Swampscott, West Roxbury, Newton, Milton, Weston and Framingham.  She always responded with a profound love of God and neighbor without distinction.  Hers was a love that acted with justice, loved tenderly and walked humbly with her God.

 While ministering at Regis College, Thea reached out to the housekeeping staff, befriending them, teaching them, listening to their stories and responding to their needs.  She is still remembered, with great fondness, by each person she touched while ministering at Regis.  Her ministry at Framingham was a ministry of presence.  She often sat at the Nurses’ Station on the fourth floor at Bethany, greeting visitors and staff, offering welcome as they passed by.  Hers was a quiet and joyful presence.

As we continue to wait in joyful expectation for God’s coming, let us rejoice with Thea, whose very name means God, as she enjoys the light that will never be extinguished. 

I now invite her dear niece Catherine to share family reflections of Thea.

 Given by: Denise Kelley, CSJ          December 13, 2019


Reflection by Christine Nihan (Thea McCabe’s niece)

 When Sr. Denise and Fr. McLaughlin called me to kindly inquire more about Thea and what words came to mind when I thought of her, I jokingly told them, “Please don’t steal my material!” But I’m going to borrow some words from my cousin Mary Ann’s daughter, Laura. She’s a journalist and wrote a nice remembrance of Thea on Instagram.

 The two thoughts that I shared with Sr. Denise and Fr. McLaughlin about Thea were Social Justice and Education.

 Laura wrote how Thea and your community have been radical and fearless in pursuit of social justice. Before it was popular to support victims of AIDS, your community did so. When Paul Ryan began a war on the poor, you stood on the side of the poor. And you didn’t hesitate to confront injustice within your own church as well.

 Thea loved her years at Regis, as both a proud alumnae and later when she lived there. She enjoyed working with students. Although she had the best vocabulary of anyone I have ever known, she didn’t gravitate towards the best and brightest students, but rather those who were struggling. She worked with those that needed help reading or perhaps English wasn’t a first language. Again, she sided with the marginalized.

 Lastly, Thea was so appreciating of the staff here at Bethany. The names are too numerous to mention, but you meant so much to Thea and she was so thankful to you, and by extension so are we, her family.

 Thank you. Christine Nihan