Thursday, June 23, 2011

Retreat Day

I just facilitated a wonderful women's retreat day at the Montfort Seminary in Bay Shore, NY. It was attended by about 65 wonderful women. I named the topic "What's In Your Toolbox?" and had a big toolbox filled with all the tools needed to get the most out of our spiritual journey.

It was a beautiful summer day and we could meet in small groups outside on the lovely grounds. The day went flawlessly, despite a few glitches with me fighting with the noise of the air conditioner. I was hoarse at the end of the day but happy.

It's interesting watching the faces of the participants. Some are blank, some are animated and you even get a few that talk back at you while you're trying to relay the message! Sometimes, the crowd is hard to read. This particular group really wanted to be there. It's tough for women to take a whole weekend away for a retreat. We were able to give them a few hours to recharge.

It's a privilege to be asked to do days of retreat or recollection. I was humbled by the invitation. I lit a little candle to remember the women who went before us and showed us the way. I also lit it to remember my sister, Stancie. I wished she had some of the peace that I saw in the faces of these sisters. Her picture was in the folder that held my notes. I know she was rooting for me.

We spent some time during a 3 day retreat a few years ago when she made her Cursillo. I was there with her. Later, she worked the retreat as an angel. I forgot about that. Many Cursillo participants sent me notes and Mass cards. They're good pray-ers. We Sheehan sisters are all "Cursillistas". Another bond.

I look forward to the next assignment when I can be of service to a group of fabulous women. Maybe even a few men next time?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


My sister, Stancie, died in her sleep on May 25. Her funeral was a week ago today in Marblehead, MA. She was going to be 62 in a few weeks.

What more can I say? How do you blog about a horrible thing like this? I haven't been able to write about it anywhere, and here I am so coldly typing those words on a blog.

I volunteered to say her Eulogy. It was a parting gift to her and to her family(that's me, too) and I was honored, daunted and terrified at the same time. Her daughter, Lucy, wrote her Obit and it was a gorgeous tribute to her loving mother.
It's all been said. We talked and talked, cried and then cried some more. More tears are left in the eye-buckets but mostly, I'm still in shock.

Shock and disbelief. It's so hard to believe I'll never see her sparkling blue eyes and huge smile ever again. Get a big hug. Ask her for clarity on my memories. Include her at family celebrations. Called her number and got her voice--tears came.
See her picture out of the corner of my eye in the living room-tears came. Laughed about our silly Sheehan-isms--tears well up.

Sisters and Brothers--they're not replaceable. Who would you ask something like "Remember when Mom did this?" other than your brother or sister. We shared so much, my first friend and I. That bond never dies. I know it didn't with George, Jr. when he passed in 1999. I still hear his rich voice and see his smile. I pray that for my sister, Stancie.

Miss you forever!