You touched many lives through God’s love
Rev. Sister Mary Clement Fernando
On February 14 last year, before we went our separate ways and took leave of you, our dear Sr. Clement, we turned with warm affection to express our fond farewell to you and to each other. The leave-taking was deeply painful, but still it somehow eased our sadness and strengthened our hope that one day we shall joyfully greet you again when the love of the Lord which conquers all things, destroys even death itself.
Now, what we cherish profoundly and fondly are the beautiful memories you left behind and your ever present winning smile, your openness and almost extravagant generosity in treating people who crossed your path. Quiet, unassuming, kindly and even shy by nature, you exploited your God-given talents in the service of God, especially, by taking good care of God's children and making liturgical celebrations come alive and meaningful for them.
We remember how while growing up, you were more into style, fashion and trends than books, literature and other intellectual pursuits.
We reminisce how at times you would avoid company and retire into your own quiet and private world. We recall in the midst of all this, how God called you to a wonderful vocation of service and ministry to the sick and the dying. We renew our appreciation of your many great qualities of mind and heart.
We resuscitate the many happy memories of birthdays, Christmases, family weddings and other get-togethers we celebrated and enjoyed.
Most importantly, today we celebrate the fact that when the call came, how generously you responded to it and remained committed to that chosen vocation for over 25 years, even at times neglecting to pay enough attention to your own personal health needs.
Over the years we followed you to practically all the places where you were stationed, to enjoy your breadth of magnanimity and the amazing wealth of generosity. Kuliyapitiya, Elpitiya, Tangalle, Kandy, Rakwana, N'Eliya, Dankotuwa, Mahawewa, Karagahagedara and Geelong in Australia –were some of the places where you were able to touch many lives and make God's love and presence a reality for many who came in close contact with you.
It goes without saying that time has blunted the keen edge of our grief but you are still very much alive, fresh and vivid in our memories, because as the poet Tagore so appositely said, "Death is not the extinguishing of the light. It is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come."
May the angels lead you into Paradise. May your loved ones who have gone before you marked with the sign of faith welcome you with open arms and take you to the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem.