Our Daily Bread — Funeral Homily for Elaine Nosal, 94

By Fr. Victor Feltes

Elaine was born ninety-four years ago, nearly three hundred miles and five hours away, in Barnesville, Minnesota. Sixty years ago, she and her beloved husband Louie moved here to Bloomer. Elaine recognized the skills and gifts of others but she knew her great talent was cooking. “I love it,” she said. She loved to feed people. She had worked at a bakery back in Minnesota. She started cooking in Bloomer at the Knotty Pine (which is the Main Street Café today). Then she took an important job here in her new parish.

For twenty-five years, Elaine labored as head cook at St. Paul’s Catholic School. She loved cooking at school. Her family says she would have done it for nothing. She loved the kids, all three hundred of them. She always greeted them with a smile and knew all of their names. She fed them all homestyle-style food and nobody brought sack lunches. Starting very early in the morning she made fresh bread or cinnamon rolls from scratch. You could smell them baking during recess. She also baked leavened loaves for First Communion; non-consecrated but blessed loaves for the families to take home and eat together or preserve as a precious memento. After working through the school week, she would often cook for local weddings on the weekend.

Elaine loved to make food for her family, too. Her adult children all lived around Bloomer and on Saturdays or holidays she would bring them all together, filling her house for a feast. Elaine’s children and grandchild would enjoy an evening supper, a bed snack, and her famous pancakes the next morning. “I just love my family,” she said, and her masterfully prepared food was an expression of her love.

Elaine’s family has also told me about her deep Catholic Faith. For example, Elaine was faithful to praying the Rosary each day, and always kept her string of beads besides her. St. Luke records in his Gospel how the Blessed Virgin Mary would hold in her heart and ponder upon the events, the mysteries, of Jesus’ life. By reflecting on these things, Mary grew in wisdom and in the glory of her Son. People brand new to praying the Rosary, tend to focus on reciting the words and counting the beads. But those with more experience at this devotion tend to shift their focus to those mysteries. The Rosary’s traditional, concluding prayer highlights this reflective approach and its benefits:

O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.”

Through prayer, by contemplating the person and life of Jesus Christ, we can know him better and become more like him, so that when other people encounter us they will have a greater experience of him.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth entirely from scratch. He was at work long before any of us awoke in this world. Because God so generously loved the world, the Eternal Son traveled far to live here among us. Jesus Christ came not to be served, but to serve. He came for his marriage, his marriage to the Church. And he prepares for her a meal, a gift of his very self. He smiles at us and knows each of us by name. He gathers his family at his house to feast and rest and rise with him. He offers us the freshest, sweetest bread in the Eucharist. Its aroma goes out to all people, and anyone who has truly tasted it would not choose another. Jesus loves his family and his masterfully prepared food is an expression of his love.

I believe Elaine that is pleased you have gathered today to be comforted and pray for her soul, but I believe she has greater joy from any way in which you knowing her has reflected him, helping you to encounter the Lord Jesus Christ whom she loves.

One Response to “Our Daily Bread — Funeral Homily for Elaine Nosal, 94”

  1. pussywillowpress Says:

    Beautiful :)!

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