Written on: February 9, 2017
Sister Rose Mary Cauley, GNSH, 81, died February 3, 2017 at Holy Redeemer Hospital Hospice in the 63rd year of her religious life. Below, we offer you the reflection on Sister’s life which was delivered by Sister Rita Margraff at the Memorial Mass in the Philadelphia area.
Reflections at the Memorial Mass
For Sister Rose Mary Cauley, GNSH
February 11, 2017
Someone will be calling you to be there for a while. Can you hear their cry from deep within? Laughter, joy and presence, the only gifts you are! Have you time? I’d like to be with you. Persons come into the fabric of our lives and then their shadow fades and disappears.
When I read this verse of the song that Rosie had chosen as the Gathering Song for this liturgy, I knew it was a perfect description of Rosie and her life.
As I look out at all of you gathered here, I know there are many of you who knew Rosie better than I. Sister Kay Healy knew Rosie, living as neighbors in St. Mark Parish in Buffalo. She knew Rosie’s mother and dad, Alice and Thomas, her siblings, Thomas, Patricia, Kathleen – known as Beanie, Mary Ellen, John, Joan, Joseph, and Ronald. I see members of her family – a family that she loved dearly – and with whom she shared joys and sorrows. She was a loving presence in their lives.
I see those of you who shared the early days of her religious life – those of you in her “band” and a large one it was. I see sisters who shared life with Rosie in Atlanta, in Peru, in Buffalo and in the years that she spent at the Yardley Motherhouse and at Holy Redeemer Lafayette. I see Sister Mary Brendan who knew Rosie at Holy Angels Academy and served with her in leadership in the congregation. I see Mary Finnick who lived with Rosie at Providence House and shared that ministry with her – a ministry which provided a residential environment, in which well-abled and disabled people lived together for mutual support. Rosie remained there for 21 years, serving disabled men and women with great love and devotion.
Rosie was an exceptional person. She was of the mentality that we were called to serve and that that meant all the time. She was something of a workaholic but though some workaholics resent those of us who don’t work so hard, Rosie didn’t seem to fall victim to that temptation. She just filled her days with reaching out to anyone who needed her. When she saw a need, she responded.
As a student at D’Youville College, she majored in Spanish – did she know that eventually she would minister in Peru. While a novice, she was asked to teach at Melrose Academy Grade School – St. Ann’s Hall. She continued that ministry for many years mostly in Atlanta, Georgia before studying at Syracuse University for a master’s degree in Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling. These studies gave Rosie the knowledge she needed to minister at Providence House and to serve as Director of Pastoral Ministry to the Handicapped for the Diocese of Buffalo – a job she did for many of the years that she ran Providence House.
The men and women of Providence House were her family – many of us can still remember their names, Theresa, Stanley, Mary Beth as they also in many ways became our family – which Rosie facilitated. Sister Anne Boyer told me this story about Rosie – and her ability to adjust to situations.
“I was helping at Providence. Rosie had scheduled an outing on the Excalibur) on Lake Erie. We left in the van; each one of us was responsible for one of the residents; I had Stanley, who had great difficulty walking. When we arrived, we learned we had a distance to walk…Out we went on the dock which was about a block out on the Lake, then turned for a short distance to reach the boat. When we arrived, the man apologized, said there had been a mistake in the computer (he already had a full boat), but we could come back @ 8:00 PM. I remember thinking if we have to, then we’ll do it… Anyhow, Rosie thanked him, and told him we would not be returning…. (I sighed relief) When we got back to land, she announced,”We’ll have a picnic right here.” (There were picnic tables…) She went to the little stand, bought hot dogs and hamburgers, soft drinks, to ensure a fun and enjoyable experience. I recall how quickly she changed gears, and had everyone feeling happy about a picnic outside near the water.
I witnessed that kind of fast change and adjustment many times at Providence House. Her caring came first as well as practicality. She frequently “put out fires” and engaged the residents to apologize for hurts and speak to one another. She always initiated the importance of speaking to one another, and showed by example that that was the way to live.”
On the day that Rosie went to Holy Redeemer Hospice, I had the opportunity to visit her. She spoke about how blessed her life had been and talked a lot about Theresa, a woman who lived at Providence House with her –
Theresa was severely disabled and needed a great deal of care – care that she received there. Rosie said that she talked with Theresa often and just lately Theresa told her that she was sorry that she was so far away because she would like to care for Rosie. Rose told me that Theresa always lived in the present moment – I believe that Rosie did as well.
When Rosie knew that she could no longer continue at Providence House, she took on the task of cooking at Renaissance House where Sister Ellie Martinez was director. Ellie sent me these thoughts about Rosie:
“Rosie was a very prayerful person. She lived herself what she inspired others to do. Just 2 weeks ago! I got a card from Rosie. She told me that she was told she talks too much and therefore was using up her much needed oxygen. Rosie said she was not going to stop talking and that she did not think the oxygen would mind! Thus, her sense of humor never suffered because of her illness.
“When Rosie was caring for her clients, there was never anything that was too much. Her devotion to their needs was constant. I always noticed that she used humor to redirect others when they were cranky. She could calm their irritable moods with clever distractions. With Teresa in her care, Rosie slept in the room next door so as to get up and care for and turn her in bed because Teresa was quadriplegic. When Rosie moved in with me, she immediately started planning to hold Teresa’s birthday party in our community center.
“On the Renaissance Campus when a young girl was feeling depressed because her family failed to visit, Rosie put her arm around her and said, “Come to the kitchen with me and we will be family together and make cookies.” Rosie was kitchen manager but on Sundays would help out doing a spiritual group with the adolescents.
“I truly believe that Rosie had to make a super hard adjustment to go from directing Providence House to cooking but the clients, staff and families loved her dearly.”
About her time at Renaissance House, Sister Eileen White noted,
“When she worked at Renaissance House with Sr. Ellie Martinez, she was well loved by the adolescents …because she gave them lots of food. She understood that boys and girls that age needed plenty of nourishment. Sometimes that put her at odds with the person in charge of purchasing and finances!”
When she moved to the Motherhouse, she didn’t wait long to find a way to connect with people in Bucks County who shared her conviction about social justice and peace. You may remember that Rosie was the chair of the Peace and Nonviolence Committee for many years. Sisters Rosie, Pat Kelly and Mary Salvadore tried to attend whenever gatherings the groups sponsored and she invited them to our Motherhouse for one of their gatherings. She was never one to care about obstacles that emerge from those of us who are detail people – she just went ahead and made things happen
Someone will be calling you to be there for a while. Can you hear their cry from deep within?
Rosie heard that cry and responded with her whole being.
Rose Mary, at long last, you are having some time to rest.
May you rest in the loving arms of your God!
You will remain in our hearts forever!
A native of Buffalo, NY she entered the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart in 1954. Her ministry assignments included Atlanta, GA, Lima, Peru, S.A., Philadelphia, PA and Buffalo, NY.
In the early days of her religious life she served in the field of elementary education; by the early 1980’s she turned her skills to serving the severely mentally and physically disabled for the next 25 years. She formed Providence Community, Inc. to provide a residential environment in which well-abled and disabled lived together for mutual support. Simultaneously, for 15 of those years she also served Buffalo Catholic Charities as Director of Pastoral Ministry to the handicapped. In 2008 she turned her efforts to aiding teens at the Alcohol & Drug Dependency Services/Stepping Stones in Buffalo.
“Retiring” in 2011, she moved to the Motherhouse in Yardley, where she engaged in Intracommunity service, including providing Pastoral Ministry to Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart living at St. Joseph Manor and Willow Lake Residence.
Sister Rose Mary held a BS in Spanish from D’Youville College, Buffalo, NY and an MS in Special Education & Rehabilitation Counseling from Syracuse University.
Predeceased by her parents and 5 siblings, she is survived by a sister, Joan Hurley and brothers, Joseph and Ronald Cauley, many nieces and nephews, in addition to her religious congregation.
A gathering is scheduled Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 10 a.m., followed by Memorial Mass at 10:30 a.m., in the Holy Redeemer Sisters Chapel, 521 Moredon Road, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006. Sister Rosie donated her body to science, and requested a Memorial Mass to be said at Holy Angels Church which will be on June 3, 2017 at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Sister’s memory may be made online to the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, or by mail at the following address:14500 Bustleton Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116.
Funeral arrangements by Beck-Givnish Funeral Homes, Inc.