The first time I met Rose was in the Church basement, clutching a styrofoam cup of black coffee. Our road to friendship was marked by her conviction I would come to like the Bitter Bean if only I would drink it black. I could never bring myself to see the matter her way, but we did become friends, roommates, and true spiritual sisters.
It didn't take long before Rose was at the heart of parish life. Her sincere love for God was reflected in her love for people. She didn't limit her time, service, or care for her contemporaries, being just as giving of herself with those more advanced in age, and always eager to hold the wee ones close to her heart. (It was a common joke to speculate how long it would take her to find and hold any baby in the room)
We are all unique and reflect different aspects of our Creator; it is worthwhile to uncover the particular way each person shows God to the world, as we can come to know the Real Presence of Him in our hearts if we're paying attention.
Rose is one of those rare and precious people for whom faith and life are seemless; there is no disconnect between what she believes, what she teaches, and how she lives. Knowing her is a catechesis on Christian charity, abandonment to God's Will, and forgetfullness of self.
Back in our days of being Young Adults, and gleefully speculating on our Future Life, a common word was 'vocation'. It seemed every conversation wound it's way around to the discussion of vocations, the merits of each, which was to be our particular call, and speculation as to when it would finally begin. We spent a lot of time waiting and lamenting, it seems.
While the question of vocation also occupied Rose's thoughts and conversations, she remained steadfast that for her it was marriage and family. From a very young age the desire of her heart was to have a family, to raise up Godly children, to establish a loving home of her own. She believed unwaveringly that this desire was itself a gift from God, and that as He is a faithful and generous Father, the cry of her heart would be answered.
Holding strong to this certainty, she was obedient as God appeared to lead her away from her desire, by sending her to an apostolate of celibates, and sincerely discerned whether she was to make her long-term stay permanent. She gave several years of service to a school of prayer and evangelization. There were several men along the way who may have tempted her to grasp for her own answer to prayer, but she resolved to place her trust completely in God, waiting for His gift.
It happened that once again her life underwent change, she moved away from friends and family and began a new undertaking with no clear promise of consolation. It was difficult and at times daunting. Several years passed, and Rose began to wonder if maybe it was time to move on, and make her own plans for her future.
Then it happened; her promised beloved arrived. With little fanfare he slipped into her life as if he'd always been there. Together they learned to negotiate the terrain of relationships; they discovered areas needing compromise, and learned that issues they thought were non-negotiable turned out to be unimportant. Most of all they learned what love looks like.
Less than eleven months after finding each other they were married. The day was wet, but every heart there witnessing the sacrament could see only the light of joy in husband and wife. They spoke their vows quietly, with conviction and dignity. Rose made a beautiful bride (as brides usually do) but in her case it came from the deep peace and delight that comes from witnessing first-hand the unbounded love and generosity of God the Father for His daughter.