Requiem to an Artist

I planned to write something lighthearted, sharing with you the joy that is religious life.  But then something happened.

At our staff meeting this morning at Women’s Hearth, a drop-in day shelter in Spokane, we were told that Stephanie, a regular visitor to the Hearth, had died.  A waste management truck accidentally ran over her as she lay sleeping near the entrance to a treatment plant, hidden from view under plastic sheeting, cardboard, a blanket.  Stephanie was only 53.  She was homeless, but you should know she was so much more than that.

I’d like you to meet the Stephanie I came to know through sitting and talking with her, in listening to her.  She didn’t always make sense.  On the other hand, she often did.  She was extremely intelligent; she was genuine; she was real; and she was a fantastic artist.  One day I saw her coloring furiously on an inside-out sweatshirt.  With her permission, I watched as she created the most beautiful scene of snow-capped mountains surrounded by pine trees.  Across a blue sky, she had drawn a ribbon-like musical staff, complete with notes and the message,  “And Angels Will Attend Thee”. 

We miss you, Stephanie, but we know that the angels are attending you now. Spread your wings and fly!

Sr. Kathy Flynn
Spokane, WA


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