I want to begin by welcoming you all here and sharing with you my condolences—especially to you, Bernie and Mischa, Corrine, and all the family gathered here. It is so good to welcome you all here. You know that OLG was an important home for Mignon throughout the course of her life. She first came here in 1973. It was home for her. And so it is on her behalf that I welcome you today.
The stories of Mignon that I have heard these past few days are beautiful, and yet we know that words and stories are never able to do a person’s life justice. A very wise person once suggested that there are four pillars to a good life, to a life built on solid rock and not on sand. They are faith, family, food and fiesta. They were, quite beautifully, lived out in Mignon.
Faith. Mignon was a devout Catholic since her childhood in India. Her days at St. Theresa’s Convent were beautiful days that opened up so many doors to her. The Church was there, God was there for her in those early days of her life: academics and sports and arts and softball and tennis and track. She was a dedicated member of this parish and we will miss her greatly. She was one of our receptionists and provided such a wonderful face to folks when they came here for the first time. She never left her faith and it never left her. She passed it along to her children. She taught them friendship with God, the most important thing a parent can teach a child.
Family. Mignon was very much a family woman. Family always came first. She wanted to be known most of all as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother. These were roles that came quite naturally to her. Scriptures are filled with how important family is…it is in the first book of Genesis and the last book of Revelation and all in between. Pope Francis said that the most important thing God ever did was the family. It is a factory of love, of hope. And Mignon was an integral part in that. One of Mignon’s gifts was to be able to make everybody feel a part of her family. Mrs. Christmas said that last night, that she kind of owned the world. She traveled Europe when it wasn’t common for a woman to do that, and she made friends everywhere. That is what the Christian is meant to do. She loved to entertain and to be hospitable, and that is a great blessing.
Food. Food is important in our Christian tradition. After all, the Lord chose to make a meal the most important thing in life. We call it the Eucharist. Mignon was fed by the Lord at his table countless times in her life. But there is something sacred about every kind of meal that is shared. Mignon was a master cook, baker, and cake decorator who excelled at entertaining. She knew the sacredness of food.
Fiesta. Mignon lived. St. Ireanaeus said that the glory of God is a human being fully alive. She lived. She had the kind of life the Gospel speaks about. She lived her dominion. She celebrated life, she knew there was so much to celebrate. She loved concerts, shows, fairs. The arts reflect the goodness and beauty of God, and she loved them for that. And her voice. God gave her a voice that she used at many a dance and many a party. She gave the Lord praise with it. She also sang Patsy Cline at many a karaoke mic. One song in particular comes to mind, one of her favorites: Crazy.
I’m crazy for feeling so lonely
Crazy for feeling so blue
I knew you’d love me as long as you wanted
And then some day
You’d leave me for somebody new
For thinking that my love could hold you
I’m crazy for trying
And crazy for crying
And I’m crazy for loving you
I think that song fits us all well today. We are, in a sense, crazy for feeling so lonely, so blue, crazy for thinking our love on earth could hold her, crazy for crying. We’re crazy for all that because, although in a sense Mignon did leave us for somebody new–she has gone to the Lord, and what a life she has with him now!–in a real way she has not left us. She is still with us. In a way we say goodbye today, but in a real way we don’t. For we who have Christ, we believe that when one passes from this world, life is changed but not ended. Our first reading from Wisdom tells us that, even though we are tempted to think that the faithful who have gone before us are dead, and that their passing from this life is something awful, they are actually in a wonderful place: “The souls of the just are in the hand of God,” the reading says, “They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are at peace.” You see, this is possible because Christ overcame death. And because of that, he has opened the gates to life eternal. And what a life that land of glory is! We know that eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him! Whatever image we have in our minds of God’s Kingdom, it is greater than that. And it is promised to God’s faithful.
And Mignon was faithful. Pray God that faith, family, food and fiesta—foundations of the Christian life that she embraced and lived so well—can be our foundations too.