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Homegoings around the Vernal equinox

8th April 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Fr. Jerome LeDoux
Contributing Columnist

Shortly after swinging from 287 South onto I-45 South, splashes of bright-orange on the grass to either side caught my eyes. “Indian paintbrush flowers they must be!” hit my mind with a flush of joy. Instinctively, my eyes searched for accompanying bluebonnets, and, within seconds, there were the bluebonnets as well, early harbingers of spring.

Cruising down I-45 S from Fort Worth toward Conroe and ultimately to Carencro near Lafayette for a funeral, one could feel that the vernal equinox was just settling in around noon of that March 20. Recalling the betrayal, Judas trees (redbud trees) showed up here and there on the hillsides as they always do at the approach of Holy Week.

Despite the stubborn cold, ice and snow to the north – poor groundhog – pear, plum and peach blossoms exploded. Brightly-flowering dogwood trees began to appear on highway slopes closer to the Gulf Coast. Bridal wreaths (spirea), large pink, red and white splashes of Japonica azaleas flaunted their brilliant beauty, while cold-loving camellias, ever-smiling pansies, larkspurs and snapdragons showed off in loud colors.

This riot of colors led to Carencro some six miles north of Lafayette, Louisiana, the birthplace of Vianney Morrison who espoused Willie Mae Morrison of nearby Scott, a 62-year union made in heaven that produced daughters Addir Jay, Madeline and Sherry. Six grandchildren brought extra joy to the declining years of Willie Mae and Vianney.

They had settled down in an idyllic, peaceful home at the dead end of Bechet Street where a deep well provided all the pure, tasty water they needed. An excellent, avid cook, Willie Mae was an advocate for praying the rosary and enjoying EWTN catholic network. She was a happy homebody who shared everything with Vianney.

When Madeline alerted me to her mother’s rapidly fading health some months ago, I was privileged to swing off I-10 or I-49 to visit her a few times on my journeys. On one occasion, I administered the anointing of the sick to Willie Mae and was inspired by her deep faith, her attitude of prayer and her resignation to the will of God amid her pain.

If loving care could have kept Willie Mae alive longer, Addir Jay’s tireless hours in a chair at her mother’s bedside night and day would have surely accomplished that.

Vernal equinox flowers and multiple shades of green were tempered by homegoings. Mary Cawthorne Hudson, of Our Mother of Mercy Church in Fort Worth, Texas, went on to God a few days after Willie Mae Morrison did. Whether I would be able to officiate at Mary’s homegoing Mass depended on the time for Willie Mae’s.

Thank God, Willie Mae’s family opted for a Mass of Resurrection on Thursday, March 21, enabling me to get to Carencro and back to Fort Worth in good time for the Saturday homegoing celebration for Mary. This worked to her family’s convenience.

Mary’s Friday evening wake at Brown Owens & Brumley Funeral Home drew hundreds of dear relatives and friends. It was one of the most memorable gatherings I have ever witnessed. An unending procession of persons visited the microphone with glowing words of thanks, praise, admiration, appreciation and love for Mary.

I soon realized that Mary was one of the few who came in under the radar at Our Mother of Mercy Church. Since she did not communicate to me what she did, I had no idea that she was a premiere beautician who performed magic with the tools of her trade. She was one of those sought-after, asked-for artists who never lacked for work.
If you want to stay up to speed on information, keep your ears open at the barber shop or beauty salon. However, Mary had much more to offer. Mother confessor to many, she was a counselor and pleasant friend to all and everyone who came her way.

Beginning at Our Mother of Mercy School (Tommy Tucker), Mary taught for 31 years in various schools. Multi-tasking, she operated the beauty salon and flower shop with her son Juan and her mother Marie. Juan outdid himself with homegoing flowers.

Willie Mae Morrison and Mary Hawthorne Hudson seemed drawn to going home close to the sacred time of Holy Week. Yet, they slipped away early enough to give us clearance to celebrate the Passion and Resurrection of Christ unimpaired by their illness, thus giving us also a free hand and mind to include them in all our prayers and activities.

As so many others in the heavenly realm, these mothers are giving special witness to Holy Week, this most sacred time. Indeed, we have some new friends in high places.

This article originally published in the April 8, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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