A Touching Funeral


Early yesterday morning we heard of the death of the grandmother of one of sisters. Ibu Theresia was 91, and she died peacefully in her sleep after a long illness. Several of us joined Rosa in her village for the funeral later that same day. There were many beautiful things about the funeral; I will share just a few of them with you.

Firstly, as we went to the open coffin to pray I was struck by how peaceful Ibu Theresia looked. It must have been a great comfort to her to spend the last years of her life surrounded by her large extended family and with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren around her. Secondly, I was touched by how natural death seemed in that setting. Ibu Theresia’s work was done. Her large family is strong and united; they are committed Catholics and active in many areas of church life. Whilst there was sadness yesterday, there was also a feeling of completion. As we celebrated Mass some of Ibu Theresia’s smallest great grand children played contentedly in front of her coffin.

The celebrant, a Jesuit priest, is Rosa’s brother. In his sermon he spoke of how Ibu Theresia would spend days on end walking from village to village selling goods in order to provide for her family. Often she would sleep in the open on someone’s terrace. This was the third thing that struck me – the love and strength of character that enabled Ibu Theresia to work so hard for her family. No wonder she was so deeply loved.

Finally, I was moved by the great crowd of mourners – the whole village turned out for her funeral. It was deeply touching to see as many Muslims as Catholics at the Mass. Here people of different faiths live peacefully side by side and are true neighbours to each other. I found this a beautiful example of inter-faith living, interfaith witness.

I was never fortunate enough to meet Ibu Theresia in life but at her death I discovered a little of the richness and the beauty of her life. I learned a great deal yesterday about life lived well for others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: