On the Loss of an Amma

On Monday I lost one of my Ammas. Sister Germaine Cupp went to her eternal rest. She is now with God, and that is a great blessing for her … but I will miss her greatly.

Sister Germaine was a wisdom figure for me, with words of gentle compassion, hope and truth. She listened deeply and nonjudgmentally. I truly was blessed to know her, live with her and have her in my life.

One experience early in my life as a Benedictine Sister set the tone of our relationship. I had just entered the Benedictine community, when I received a voicemail from my sister saying that her marriage was not going well and she need to talk with me.

I was so worried. As I sat on the sofa waiting for my sister’s call, wondering what she was going to say, Sister Germaine came into the living area. She could see that I was not at ease, and asked if I was okay. I explained that I was waiting for a call and why.

Sister Germaine sat with me until the phone call came. We did not say much, but her silent presence and support – exceptional for one who had been a member for all of a week – meant the world to me. She possessed the wisdom to know that was all I needed.

The phone call arrived and when I came back into the living area, there sat Sister Germaine, waiting patiently for my return. She ask how the phone call went. I said my sister was getting a divorce.

Sister Germaine didn’t judge or express any opinion or comment. She simply said, That happens, and that she would keep my sister and her family in prayer during this time of change for them.

What simple, quiet wisdom. She knew that my feelings would not change because of what she said. But her simple words and promise of prayer meant much more to me than anything she could have said.

From that day on, I knew I could rely on Sister Germaine’s wisdom in times of sadness, frustration, anger and confusion. I wish I had her here now … but know her spirit is with me as I navigate her death, and will continue to be whenever I need her.

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