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February 14, 2023
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February 15, 2023

Letter to the Editor: “My sister’s life was Christ-centered”

CN File photo: August 2012

I have shared 88 of my 90 years with my sister Maria. She died recently, went home, as Sr Paul Dominic OP. I knew her well, even though circumstances have kept us mostly thousands of miles apart, doing the same work.

In our growing family of two girls and seven boys, with our already grown siblings of two girls and three boys, there was lots of interaction, lots of fun, and some chastening adjustments too. Only three of us are still in exile here.

Once we accept the fact that perfection exists nowhere on Earth, then we readily proclaim this other fact, that my sister was a gentle giant of every virtue.

She put her big heart, her sensitive soul, her tireless body into everything she did, without fanfare.

She served the parishes of Toco and La Brea for many years as their administrator, effectively their ‘parish priest’. She was blessed to have  her own priest-brother Hilary, available for Sunday Masses. It was in these parishes that she earned the title ‘The Trini Mother Teresa’ because of her predilection for strugglers, the abandoned, the hopeless and her preferential option for the poor, not neglecting the wealthy and mighty but rounding up these latter to serve the former.

To her 77 (so far) nieces, nephews and their kids, ‘Auntie Maria’ was always the first go-to person for a cuddle, a giggle, a Calypso, a treat, a holiday and also, a little chiding when needed.

She drummed into their consciences this rule-of-thumb “WWJD – What would Jesus do?” Why? Because it was her own rule-of-thumb for her own life, whether it was caring for the deprived children at St Dominic’s Home or for the more privileged novices she was charged with forming, in her convent, or as chaplain to the West Indian Community in Toronto.

Her life was Christ-centred, so like His, her ministry was varied and spectacular. She was known as a woman of prayer and praise. But few knew of its full extent, that her prayer was a ministry of intercession and her suffering a ministry of reparation.

She died while receiving the Sacrament of the Sick’s Last Anointing.

So according to the teaching of Mother Church, she went straight to Heaven. Nevertheless, we continue to ask God’s mercy on her soul.

I end with the message I sent to her funeral:

Maria, dear sister of mine, go forth into Paradise;

For this were you born. For this have you lived.

For this have you just died. It’s a homecoming feast.

Be rejoicing forever. Be ecstatic forever.

Be forever in the Face of our Father God

And…..remember us there.


—Fr Albert Clarke CSSp, (residing in the United Kingdom)