The soul of the just are in the hands of God...
These words from the Book of Wisdom, read at the Mass of Christian Burial of our dearest Sister and Superior General (September 2008 - September 2020) of our Congregation, Mother Maria Moryl, are a fitting comment on the life she led as a Sister of St. Peter Claver.
Born in Poland in 1955, Maria was the youngest of a staunch catholic family where the life of faith was always a priority. Although she was not spoilt, she was everybody’s favourite and that inner security stayed with her to the end of her life. Maria willingly accepted her share of household chores as well as the work on the farm. She loved the countryside and was an avid reader all her life. With her warm, kind personality, her positive attitude, her sense of humour and attentiveness to the needs of others, she made friends easily. She enjoyed her school days and made steady progress. She liked children and had given some thought to teaching as a career, but life took a different turn. However, the plight of children in the world especially the missionary world was always a big concern for her.
Growing up in Poland in the 1950’s was not easy. Her mother decided, like many others at the time, to go to the USA to help ease the financial pressures of her big family. Gradually she was followed by other members of the family. Maria was left behind at boarding school to finish her education. The family did not forget her and sent her gifts regularly. Her turn to leave Poland eventually came too but it was a cause of great joy for her, while on Visitation to our communities in Poland as Superior General, to be able to re-visit the familiar places of her childhood.
Mother Maria liked to reflect on the presents she received from her family in America while still at school. Money came and was spent without much thought. However, when she went to America, she too had to work for her keep and began to appreciate the value of money. Without a working knowledge of English and particular skills, the jobs available were mainly in the area of manual work, housework, bakeries, and the like. Now she had to balance the amount of worktime and the cost of a treat! Was it really worth a few hours hard work?
Mother Maria knew the value of time, of the present moment and often reminded us about it. In every moment of life, she would remind us, God gives us actual grace, that is, the grace to do at this very moment what we are supposed to do. The grace is for this moment, not for tonight or tomorrow. God does not give us the grace today to endure tomorrow’s pain …
While in the US, Mother Maria, came to hear about the Missionary Sisters of St Peter Claver. She decided to visit the Sisters and discovered that this was the way of life the Lord had chosen for her. She remained in America for her formation and for some years in the various communities there.
M. Maria lived out her commitment, totally consecrated to God in the footsteps of our Blessed Mother Foundress, as she sought to foster the missionary spirit everywhere. She often had a heavy workload, but she was always ready to give a hand wherever it was needed. She made light of her aches and pains. Her final battle with cancer was an example of her unwillingness to shirk her responsibilities but to carry on as long as there was hope.
Maria’s ability to adapt to different circumstances proved very enriching for her and was an asset to her in an international Religious Congregation and in the various positions of authority that she held: superior, formator and later on, as Superior General. In her journeys to visit our communities around the world, she was particularly impressed by her meetings with our friends and helpers – for her a wonderful Christian and Missionary witness everywhere of sacrifices, prayers, time freely given. After one such visit, she wrote: “This was indeed for the glory of God and the salvation of souls!”
On November 2nd, after a long and painful battle with cancer she died peacefully surrounded by the Community that had cared for her during the past year.
Mother Maria will be remembered as a calm, caring, understanding Mother who always had time for others. As we pray for her we continue to count on her prayers.
May she rest in Peace and continue to inspire us with her dedication to our missionary apostolate especially in the present upheaval caused by Covid 19!
by Sr Joan Lynch, sspc