Homily, Sister Theophane Reinecke, OSB  “Keep on doing the things you have received and heard and seen in me and the God of peace will be with you.”

Homily for the Funeral of Sister Theophane Reinecke, OSB, at Mount St. Scholastica Convent, Jan. 7, 2012

There are varied expressions of the monastic life and the basic theory of that life is expressed in the Rule of St. Benedict.  Benedict wrote his Rule in the 6th century and its breadth of vision allows for various interpretations from very strict to less strict. The interpretation expressed in the life style of a modern Benedictine Sister is a living interpretation of the Rule.   The varied interpretations are like the colors of light filtered through a prism. From red to violet all are equal in their expression of the light        

The Readings wisely chosen for this funeral liturgy capture monastic elements in Sister’s  life.  The author of Proverbs advises the reader that “the beginning of Wisdom is this: get wisdom and whatever else you get, get insight. Prize her highly and she will exalt you.”  The Rule of Benedict is characterized by scholars as “Wisdom Literature.”   We do not speak of some kind of instant wisdom , one cube per cup of  steaming hot water, but of the  Wisdom that come as slowly as the oil poured on the rock seeps its way through to the ground. We speak of the Wisdom gained from living with a group of `Sisters, all seekers of Wisdom in Community.

The obituary of Sister Theophane is utterly impressive. The range of activity is phenomenal. Her work took her to grade a grade school in Ottawa, The Mount Academy, the college business office, a residence hall.  How did she manage all this?   Her life gives flesh to the counsel of Paul to the Philippians.   Paul says, Keep on doing the things you have received and heard and seen in me and the God of peace will be with you.”  For Benedictine I would change it a bit and insert in the verse, ‘Keep on doing the things you have received and heard and seen in your fellow Sisters in the Monastic life and the God of Peace will be with you.”

Sr. Theophane learned to love in her natural family and later in her monastic family where she learned, another point of view..  We heard in the Gospel that the disciples were very critical of the woman who broke in to the male party and “wasted” the ointment by pouring it on the head of Jesus.  Jesus told those men, “This woman does not think like you. She has other values, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.

Sr. Theophane, as a Benedictine Sister, learned in her family to love others but living with her Sisters she learned a different perspective and embraced a definitely different set of values.

Beautiful anecdotes and good humor spoken last evening gave us the lighter, softer, human side of  love and kindness of  96 years of life spent mostly as a Benedictine Sister. Wisdom has not only built herself a house. Wisdom has brought forth a person who will not be forgotten.


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