This dear woman died yesterday, but I only heard the news this afternoon. I had the joy of working with her from time to time on the Diocesan Close -- she was working on reorganizing the Library, and I was the part-time Diocesan Convention office coordinator, in addition to my half-time service as pastor of Saint Paul's, Yonkers.
One of my fondest memories of her is of a day I celebrated the weekday Mass in one of the Cathedral's apsidal chapels. Madeleine was a regular at these weekday gatherings, and always a joy to see. This particular day, just as I began my sermon, a very loud organ recital began in the nave. (Cathedral scheduling, right?!) As I shrugged in some frustration, Madeleine gathered the other few present for the liturgy up to the front row, shouting, "It's not a Eucharist without the sermon!" and I delivered my sermon in a literal huddle, all of us gathered arms on shoulders. I can still see her upturned radiant face and sparkling eyes, with the sunlight from the east-facing stained-glass windows washing across her eager expression, yearning for and savoring my poor words that midday as if they were precious draughts of water in the desert.
May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
Tobias Haller BSG