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Pope sends message as Benedictine Abbess laid to rest


The Funeral Mass for Lady Abbess Mother Marianna Pinto OSB “exuded an abundance of joy”.

This according to Abbot John Pereira OSB in a WhatsApp conversation with Catholic News last Monday.

The Funeral Mass in thanksgiving for the life of Mother Marianna took place October 30 on the grounds of the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Mount of Prayer, Coubaril. Interment was in the Monastic Cemetery at the abbey.

Abbot Pereira, who was among the concelebrants, shared that Archbishop Robert Rivas OP of Castries delivered a “stirring” homily.

Among the concelebrants were Papal Nuncio Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu; AEC President Bishop Gabriel Malzaire of Roseau, Dominica; Bishop Antonio Santarsiero Rosa of Huacho, Peru and Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB of Georgetown, Guyana. The Master of Ceremonies was Vicar General Msgr Michel Francis while Msgr Patrick Anthony served as commentator.

For the funeral the altar was set at the top of the stairs leading to the abbey church. The benches inside the church were turned around to face the altar. There were also seven large covered tents with chairs on the grounds of the abbey in front of the church. The celebrants, religious and the congregation “filled the entire church” and all the seating provided under the outdoor tents.

At the start of the liturgy, the wooden cremation urn vault was carried by the Benedictine Sisters and placed in front of the altar.

There was a special musical tribute in the Chewa language composed specially for the occasion by the Benedictine Sisters from Zambia and sung by the Benedictine Sisters of St Lucia and Zambia, the two communities founded by Mother. It was called ‘Tsiku La Lero’.

A message from Pope Francis, dated October 20 reads: “May Mother Marianna be received in the communion of the Saints. She will obtain from God the necessary assistance so that the two monasteries may be a place of light and love towards the poor….”

In his tribute to Lady Abbess, chief celebrant Cardinal Kelvin Felix, Archbishop Emeritus of Castries said that everyone who met her will always remember the encounter, either by her very presence, by what she said or by what she did. Though she was in the world, she was not of the world.

Cardinal Felix mentioned the “distinguishing marks” by which the monastery Mother Marianna built at Coubaril (St Lucia) will continue to be remembered: a place of peace and solitude, a place of meditation and prayer and a place of Christ-like hospitality and love.

Abbot Pereira said that Mother Marianna’s pioneering spirit was an inspiration to all. “Her faith in the people of the Caribbean to root monasticism in the English-speaking islands drew her from the distant and monastically well-established Italian peninsula to our beckoning archipelago.”

He said Mother Marianna was “a faithful friend” of the monks of the Mt St Benedict Monastery and the community will sorely miss her spirit of collaboration and goodwill.