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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

484 "Our dear June went home to God on Tuesday, July 6th."

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

Day 484 Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

"Our dear June went home to God on Tuesday, July 6th.

Greetings to our Sonoma friends and the Emmaus Community"

This lovely reflection is written by Sister Fran Kearney one of the three Kearney sisters; June, Pat and Fran from Sonoma who became nuns. She writes about the passing of her sister June Kearney, a Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. June was a profound, deeply wise woman and we loved meeting her and her two sisters at St. Leo's each Sunday. Each of the Kearney's had a twinkle in her eye -- of joy primarily, something knowing and something just a bit subversive. But then, love is always subversive. Their combined love was a powerful testament about lives lived unselfishly in service to others - especially to the least among us. June truly lived the vision statement of her order:

"Liberating life through education

and the promotion of justice"

"Our dear June went home to God on Tuesday, July 6th.

June celebrated her 92nd Birthday on Wednesday, June 23. The next Wednesday, June 30, she awakened and "realized my body had changed." I am not sure what she meant by that but by noon we had her in ER at our wonderful Los Gatos El Camino Hospital, where she stayed until Monday, July 5th. She had some infections and, given her other health needs, she was on her final journey.

June oozed gratitude during her hospital time, almost a litany she kept repeating . . . "Thank you God," "God has been so good to me/us." "Thank you,God, for our family, our Valley of the Moon, Nature, the children . . . and the many opportunities . . ."

She mentioned opportunities often. I think she had the list of opportunities offered her over her 92 years, but it was too long to recite them all so, just "opportunities" would suffice for her.

June told one nurse, "God is with me." Sunday morning I heard her say, "Come, God" I said, "Did I hear you say, Come God?" And she laughed, implying YES!!!! Although June and I had let God know we wanted to die like Pat/Sister Francis did by just going to sleep and waking up to see God face to face, June's final journey was less than one week, which I think is pretty special.

June returned to her apartment at Merrill Gardens on Monday afternoon, with the services of Hospice and Home Health Care. Our nephew, grandniece and Cousin Loretta Boyle's 3 daughters all spent time with her. When they left for dinner, our 28 Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary who live at Merrill, came and sat with June in small groups.

Some groups sat silently, some prayed aloud for June, some thanked her, some commissioned tasks to her (rain for the redwood trees and more Monarch caterpillars), one group prayed a decade of the rosary, another sang "How Good you are God" because June was so good, another sang the Hail Mary . . . we blessed her with the waters of the Richelieu Valley, where our Foundress Eulalie Durocher/Marie-Rose grew up and ministered before and after founding our snjm Community.

As the groups came in, I would tell June the name of each sister. When one of our best story tellers/good friend came in, June had a slight smile . . . so I knew she was with us.

She slipped quietly away at 10:45 am Tuesday morning. Later, as her body left Merrill Gardens, our sisters gathered to sing our traditional community hymn for travelers, "Ave Marie Stella."

I was very conscious of the many, many people who were separated from their loved one's final days and hours, due to Covid-19. One of our Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary nurses and I were able to be with her at the hospital from 10 am to 6 pm. Our other nurses and our community were/are so thoughtfully supporting us.

When I first received the phone call in 1997 from Pat and June that we were putting our Mom on Hospice, I felt like a little bird in a nest ~ my sisters and I were being held and being cared for. We were free to just be present to Mom. I am experiencing that same support and tender care these days. A profound experience, for sure!

Thank you for the joy you have brought June over these many years. I'm sure Jack O'Hare, our cousin Robert Walsh, and Bill and Tess Hagemann are giving her very warm hugs, along with so many other family members and Sonoma friends.

Peace to each of you and your loved ones.



How Good you are are God

Ave Maria Stella

(Sister Fran and Sister June)

Who are the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary

We are a congregation of women religious founded by Eulalie Durocher in Longueuil, Quebec, in 1843. As a community whose very heartbeat is a special charism that inspires and moves us to action for the good of the Church and world, we strive in each era to keep the fire of the original inspiration of our congregation alive in a world which today, as yesterday, calls out for peace, justice, and meaning in life.

We are attuned to the radical call of the Gospel, ever faithful to our charism as instruments of transformation, holding the full development of the human person at the very core of our mission. In the firm belief that education is liberating action, we continue our long tradition of promoting and celebrating the arts and music.

In recent years, the life and mission of our congregation have been enriched by lay people inspired by the values and ideals of the Congregation and the person and spirituality of Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher.

With a focus on integral ecology, we recognize and promote the intrinsic inter-connectedness among environmental, economic, political, social, cultural and ethical realities.

Responding to the needs of our world today, we work:

  • to prevent and deter human trafficking;

  • to promote universal access to clean water;

  • and to find solutions and advocate for immigrants and refugees.

Check out the Sisters on their Blog at:

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