Thomas Joseph Bradley, CSJ

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

June 11, 1935 – November 30, 2020

 “Those who wait for the Lord find a renewed power: they soar on eagles’ wings, they run and don’t get weary, they walk and never tire.”  Isaiah 40:31

 Dolores Jane Bradley, Sister Thomas Joseph, was one of six children born to Thomas and Lilla Bradley. She was raised with her siblings June, Leona, Lilla, George, and Thomas, in Revere and later spent forty-one years there in ministry as a teacher at Immaculate Conception School. Were we not under restrictions today, this chapel would be overflowing with at least half the population of that city, many of whom were her students. Some, perhaps, still owe her homework!

Thomas Joseph was much loved and rightly so. As someone who saw life as a glass half full, Thomas was a blessing to all with whom she came in contact. Ever generous, Thomas readily gave of time and service to others. She was rumored to be an excellent shopper, not only with her routine weekly trips to the grocery store, but also to the mall stores to shop for others. 

I wish I had known earlier because I might have gotten my Christmas shopping done. Thomas enjoyed cooking and sharing the fruits of her labors. On Sunday, she had baked Irish bread and shared it with several of her neighbors.

During the years that she lived at Immaculate Conception, Revere, Thomas was the glue that held that convent community together. 

As each new member arrived at IC she found herself welcomed and embraced by the local community and especially by Thomas. Over time Thomas Joseph developed many lasting friendships with the Sisters, who were missioned there. Some of them were waiting to welcome her home as she left us on Monday: Dismas, Declan, Mary Shea, and Avis Joyce, just to name a few.  

When Thomas moved here to the Motherhouse, she joined Sister Helen Mary, and the two found a life together, enriched by prayer and true community. On Sunday, as they prayed together, they reflected on whatever might prevent them from running to Jesus. During the night, Thomas broke the bonds that limited her mobility and ran to Jesus, running without getting weary.

Today we join Sister Helen in mourning the loss of such a good woman. Today we celebrate a life well-lived.

Maya Angelou has expressed it well.

And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always irregularly.
Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. 
For they existed.       

Sister Thomas Joseph was truly a great soul, and we are better because she existed!

Given by
Judith Costello, CSJ