A dear friend's father passed away this week. It was a life well lived and in his final hours, as in his life, he was surrounded by his large and loving family. What most of us would hope for.
A religious man, we thought it appropriate to visit a church and light a candle in his memory. We walked the chilly Warsaw Stare Miasta from church to church. Pausing at each doorway to remove our hats, before taking in the grandeur. But, the candles remained elusive.
The Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice, or Felician Sisters, are a branch of the Third Order of St Francis. The active-contemplative order was founded in Warsaw, Poland, in 1855 and named for a shrine of St. Felix, a 16th century Franciscan saint especially devoted to children. The Felician Sisters have always sought to harmonize a deep spiritual and community life with dedication to diverse acts of mercy. Their Foundress, Mother Mary Angela Trszkowska, was beatified in 1993.
We quietly took seats. Just then the room was darkened, lit only by the lights of the christmas tree placed at the front. A moment later the room was filled with sweet voices, as their song rose to the high ceiling and filled the space. And then, as suddenly as it began, it was over, and they stood and made their way out.
"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you", that would suffice. Meister Eckhart
Five minutes earlier or later and we would have missed this special moment. There were no candles to light, but we knew we'd found the place to say our prayers of gratitude for his life...and for ours.