A Mother’s Love — Memorial Mass Homily for Georgetta Thibeau, 94

By Fr. Victor Feltes

Georgetta was born here in Bloomer in 1928. She grew up in this parish, attending our St. Paul’s School. Her funeral Mass was offered in Racine after she passed away this January. And following this morning’s Mass, her remains will be laid to rest in our South Catholic Cemetery.

In the gospel for today, Jesus says, “Love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” So I asked Georgetta’s daughter, Sue, whether her mother had laid down her life for her friends. She replied, “No,” — her mother laid down her life for her family.

Georgetta raised her six children all by herself in Racine for most of their youth. Her two boys and four girls knew it was not easy for her and helped out as they could. In an era with much less government support, Georgetta worked night shifts to provide for her family. But she lovingly provided them more than just food and shelter. She also gave them the example of her Catholic Faith.

Georgetta, it is said, was never without a rosary in her hands, day or night. Whenever she came across a rosary she would pick it up and place it into her prayer rotation. But there was one rosary in particular about which she gave her children special instructions. On more than one occasion, she told them to take the rosary she kept on her headboard and place it into the urn (this urn) with her ashes when she died. Why? “Because that one glows in the dark.”

The Holy Rosary and our Blessed Mother Mary were always near to her heart. And the Blessed Mother she loved leads me to a final reflection. Jesus Christ perfected his mother in love to love like himself. Jesus said, “Love one another as I love you.” Who besides the Lord has loved with a greater love than her? Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Yet this presents a puzzle, since the Virgin Mary never died a martyr’s bloody death.

From Mother Mary we discover that a person can lay down one’s life with the greatest love as a loving offering for others even without dying a red martyrdom. And these others (these “friends” one loves and lays down one’s life for) can be one’s own sons and daughters, since Mary is our spiritual mother and we are her dearly beloved sons and daughters. Mother Mary learned how to love like Jesus loves us, and Georgetta learned how to love like Mary loves us. That is why, even in death, Georgetta remains in the light.

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