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Generosa Francl, OSB

Reflection by Sister Christne Kouba,, OSB
December 10, 2008

As a former teacher, Sister Generosa taught us some valuable lessons by her living example since she returned home from the nursing facility a year and a half ago.

The first lesson she taught us was to respect her life. Due to the loss of her cognitive functions of memory and rational speech, and her inability to walk because of her crippled legs, she was totally dependent on others. She must have been aware, to some degree, of the physical hardships she was experiencing. A normal question for her would have been, “What was there to live for?” In our mindset of faith, however, we knew that God had given Sister Generosa the gift of life and she in turn gave us the gift of her disabled life. It was for us to learn to see the suffering Savior in her. We were to care for her by keeping in mind the day of our own judgment before God when we will be asked: “What did you do for the least of my Sisters and Brothers?” The second lesson she taught us was that peace and happiness are the result of embracing God’s will. A sense of peace and joy were the expression on Sister’s face as she dozed daily in her chair in the infirmary lounge. Passersby would remark at how angelic she looked. On awakening she would often smile and show recognition with her eyes of whoever was near. At times, she would try to speak though it was not understandable. Sometimes she would giggle and since we were unaware of what she was laughing about, we surmised it must have been a funny joke an angel had just whispered to her.

The third lesson she taught us was that God looks at the sincerity of one’s heart not so much at high sounding words. The saying that when a baby babbles, God becomes ecstatic and interprets the babbling to be a grateful song of praise from this little creature. In the same way, Sister Generosa, in her child-like innocence, would chant a repetitious babble in the evening which sometimes sounded as if she were campaigning for Obama, bama, bama. However, God hears things differently than humans do and must have been very pleased to hear her mantra chant of praise.

The fourth lesson she taught us was that we do not belong to this world. The world no longer had a hold on her. Often when she was being fed, she would stop and gaze toward the ceiling, sometimes blinking her eyes as if celestial beings were present in her visual field. She no longer had any interest in daily events, stories or music. She was totally immersed in a world of tranquility, and in her vulnerability, God was slowly carrying her away from us over the eternal bridge to that wonderful place of blessing.

Then, what homework did she assign? She assigned only one thing and that was for us to be her friends. In other words, to confirm her human dignity by feeding her when she was hungry, keeping her clean and comfortable, visiting and consoling her when she was lonely or crying, and above all, praying for her, thereby keeping her directed toward God, her one and only desire. We are grateful for what Sister Generosa taught us and we praise God for taking her away from us on the feast of the Immaculate Conception since in her lifetime she was so devoted to the Blessed Mother. We visualize her now as God’s precious soul in total rapture as she worships God in spirit and in truth. May she enjoy God’s promise of immeasurable happiness where divine and human love dwell in fullness forever. Amen.