On 25th April, on the Feast of St. Mark, our dear Sr. Grazia said good bye to us. It was a day which brought us Daughters of St Paul, specially the Bandra Community, a shock and deep sadness, to know that after two sisters had passed away in the month of March, one more sister within a month is leaving us for her eternal reward. I had sent you a message on 11th April saying that Sr. Grazia began to show signs of declining health, her haemoglobin was low, and she had infection all over the body. The chemotherapy could not be continued and she was taken to Holy family for the transfusion of blood, for she had reached the 4th stage tumour of the urinary tract. Sr. Grazia had a very peaceful death although she suffered intensely.
After the documents of sr Grazia was ready, she was taken to the Bhaba hospital morgue until the 27th morning around 7.00 am when she was brought back and placed in our chapel. Not a minute passed when prayers were not said or hymns sung, in order that the ambience be almost like the one she was approaching – that of heaven. As soon as the body was placed in our Chapel we prayed again as a community the Office for the Dead.
The funeral Eucharist began at 9.00 am and the Chapel was overflowing with the relatives and well-wishers of our dear sister, and of the Congregation in general, including members of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master and the Society of St Paul. Rev Fr George Kaitholil, the Vice Provincial of SSP presided over the Eucharist and in his homily he highlighted the aspect of hope and trust so beautifully and powerfully. Truly Sr Grazia was privileged to be led through a carriage of prayers of the Pauline Family who were far from lacking on this day. Her face was looking very peaceful and radiant. Sr. Vimala gave short introduction about Sr Grazia and Sr. Ancy John proposed the vote of thanks in which she also testified about Sr Grazia’s life. The choir helped us all to praise God using our voices melodiously. Before the Eucharist ended, the Funeral Rites were carried out by Fr Michael Raj, the Provincial Superior of SSP in the Chapel itself and closed the coffin, suggested by Mr. Elroy the funeral undertaker, due to extreme heat.
Two buses were arranged to proceed to the Sewri Cemetery for the burial. The grave was blessed by Fr. K. V. Sebastian SSP and while an appropriated song was being played, and all showering petals of roses and other flowers, the coffin was lowered down into to the grave. The wreaths and candles were then arranged on the grave beautifully at the end of the entire proceeding.
Sr Grazia was a person of prayer, she believed in the Lord, who promised his continuous assistance. She worked hard and taught her successors to love the work and motivated them, whether they were our young ones in formation, young sisters in various communities or the co-workers in the Catholic Enquiry Centre; she was a great teacher, for she really put her heart and mind into the responsibility entrusted to her, by using all her talents and creativities in whatever work she was called to carry out.
She was a person who readily made friends and collaborated with others, she was always striving to do the greatest good possible, inspired by the promise of Jesus Master, which echoed powerfully in the depths of her heart: “Do not be afraid. I am with you always.”
Sr Grazia’s brother-in law, her nephews, niece and their families, were present for the funeral. There were also sisters from the communities of Ahmedabad, Goa, Mangalore, Nagpur, and Secunderabad, besides the sisters from Borivli and Vasai. There were also several relatives of our sisters who participated in the funeral Mass as well as accompanied the body to the Cemetery.
The Lord visited Sr Grazia and called her for her eternal reward and the memory of her lingers in our minds ever fresh and we keep her in our prayers.
She was truly a Pauline apostle who offered her life in dedicated service of the Word with great love and zeal. May she obtain for our Province all the graces needed for our life and mission.
Sr. Ancy John fsp