Her Core — Funeral Homily for Rose Lankey, 97

By Fr. Victor Feltes

Rose was born August 15, 1924, on the Solemnity of Mary’s Assumption into heaven. Today we offer her funeral Mass at St. Paul’s to aid Rose’s own journey to heaven. Three days after Easter in 1947, Rose got married here at St. Paul’s to her beloved husband, “Bud.” He himself joined the Church at this parish and Rose was proud to brag “he’s better than most Catholics!” They were married for 71 years. Rose often volunteered to serve funeral luncheons at St. Paul’s. After retirement, she came here for Mass six days a week; enjoying the holy meal of her dear Lord Jesus typically followed by having coffee with his friends and hers.

Rose had a lifetime of happy memories with her family and friends. During her last ten years on earth she would remark, “I’ve had a wonderful life.” But after Rose turned ninety years old, her mind began to fail her. Throughout the past two or three years her memory had become quite poor. For instance, she knew she had three daughters, but would fail to recognize their fully-grown faces. Yet, even as her human frailty in this damaged world stripped away so much from Rose, there was a deepest core which endured in her. What was that core within her? Her Catholic faith in Jesus Christ.

Rose’s faith and devotion would manifest even in final days. About a month ago, when her daughter handed her a Rosary, Rose looked at the beads not seeming to register their purpose or use. But when she was told “these are rosary beads which were blessed by the pope,” Rose cupped them in her hands and kissed them with her lips. About two weeks before her passing, her mind and body were so weakened that Rose had stopped speaking. Chaplain Lynn from Hospice visited her bedside and suggested to the family, “Let’s pray the Lord’s Prayer.” Rose’s three daughters and son-in-law had not heard Rose verbalize for days, but when they began saying the Our Father together they were in awe when Rose audibly joined in. Later, while Fr. Tim from St. Odilia gave Rose the Last Rites, her lips attempted at times to voice the words of prayer. She looked at the priest, that icon for Christ, with a look of comfort in her eyes.

Jesus tells us it is the will of God the Father that Christ lose nothing that our Father has given him, and Christ shall raise it all up on the last day anew. The poor will have the Kingdom. The mournful will be consoled, for “the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces.” And the meek will inherit the earth. And to those like Rose who lost nearly everything but him Jesus will restore to them everything again, “to dwell in the house of the Lord” forever. On that day it will be said: “Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! This is the Lord for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!” Jesus Christ is the good Lord to whom our beloved Rose faithfully looked. Let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved her.

One Response to “Her Core — Funeral Homily for Rose Lankey, 97”

  1. pussywillowpress Says:

    Rose & Bud…rosebud :). Love it :). May God grant her eternal rest, perpetual light, peace.

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