Friday, February 11, 2011

My grandma the Nun

Mary Angela Kerr - aka Grandma :)

We celebrated my grandmother's life today. She had been in hospital the last week and a half after suffering from a stroke. I spent a number of days by her bedside and couldn't help but notice the name tag of our beloved Angela Kerr declared her as "Mary Angela". I had never seen or heard the "Mary" bit of that before, though wasn't surprised.

My grandmother was a nun. Yes, you heard correctly...a nun. She joined the sisterhood when she was just 18 years old. I find this interesting because when I was a child I remember dearly wanting to be a nun - I can't tell you why. I also wanted to be a mennonite though so maybe it was the faith-visible-to-the-world thing both groups have going on (for the mennos it might have also been the appeal of their horses).

She had served as a teacher and principal within her community. I won't go through the details here but at a certain point the nuns were given the option of leaving. My grandma chose to do so because she no longer felt her call to education.

Shortly after leaving, she met my maternal grandfather (she was my mother's step-mum). They were quite the couple: a former Catholic nun paired with a former deacon of the Baptist church haha. Their love for God united them and their love for each other was amazing to watch.

When my grandpa fell ill two years ago I moved to Chatham for the month to stay with my grandma who was ninety at the time. I will never forget the sight of her each morning on the way to the hospital to visit with him - she would literally run down the halls of the hospital towards his room and I could barely keep up! It brought a smile to my face every day. We'd arrive at his room and the first thing she would do is say hello (though he was unresponsive) and the very second thing she would do is write a new Bible verse on the board by the foot of his bed. That's where her hope and strength were found.

At the service today my uncle spoke of her life & their life together. He shared a letter my grandfather had written her many years ago and I'll share it with you now. Click on it to enlarge it.

A love I can only hope for!

The faith in and total love for Christ they shared continues on in me (all six of my grandparents have been amazing examples of love and faith). I pray I'm as blessed to live until 92 but if I don't please know that I will have lived every day totally in love with life and appreciative of the people I'm sharing it with...and with dreams of changing the world one day at a time :)

I'll close off with some of my favourite photos of her life.

Their wedding day

This is my favourite photo of them together. The went square dancing every week up until my grandfather fell ill. He was 82, she was 89. Love it.

Gran and Jeff

Guest of honour at her ninetieth birthday celebrations a few short weeks after  my grandfather's passing

Together at her 90th

Uncle Dale speaking at her 90th birthday

Our visit together two days before her stroke <3
Love her to bits and will miss her dearly and will always remember her infections smile and laughter.

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