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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Mrs. Mee Enters into Eternal Life
Mrs. Mee, a consecrated woman in Regnum Christi, passed away at the age of 97. Hers was an extraordinary life full of wisdom, humor, and great love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Mrs. Mee, desde su ventana, saluda a las consagradas el día de su último cumpleaños.
Mrs. Mee waving hello to the consecrated women from her window on her last birthday.
On Friday, May 16, 2008 at 10:10 a.m., the “grandmother” of the consecrated women passed away peacefully, surrounded by the prayers of the entire formation center for consecrated women in Greenville, Rhode Island. In the obituary below, we salute an extraordinary woman who embraced her married vocation and her consecrated vocation as two phases of a life that had always been dedicated totally to God.

A Life Spent Close to the Eucharist
Gabrielle D. Mee was born on June 10, 1911, on the feast of the Sacred Heart in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. She was the sixth of nine children in a family of French descent. Gabrielle received a strong religious formation at home and was educated by the Sisters of Jesus and Mary, from whom she learned the Memorare, a prayer that was deeply meaningful to her.

When she was 12 years old, she made the decision to go to Mass every day. She asked her mother for permission and her mother answered, “What a blessing for the family!” For the next 84 years, Gabrielle would receive Jesus in the Eucharist every day.  

In 1948, she married Timothy J. Mee, an eminent banker in
El P. Álvaro saluda a Mrs. Mee en una visita al centro de formación de las consagradas del<i> Regnum Christi</i>.
Fr Álvaro Corcuera greets Mrs. Mee during a visit to the formation center.
the area, with whom she shared her deepest religious values. Childless, they dedicated the greater part of their time, talents, and material means to help the Church. After her husband passed away in 1985, Mrs. Mee began searching for a work of the Church that she could support, and got to know the Legionaries of Christ. Upon entering the chapel and seeing that the tabernacle was in the center, she realized that the Legion was a faithful religious congregation and became a benefactor. 

Some years later, she met the consecrated women in the days when Maricarmen Perochena was the director of the formation center. She began going to Mass with them, and one day spontaneously asked Maricarmen if she could be consecrated. On November 7, 1991, she consecrated her life to God along with a young woman, Mimika Garesché, in the formation center for consecrated women in Rome.

Gratitude for the Gift of Life
Mrs. Mee constantly spoke of her love for Christ and also of her love for life as one of God’s greatest gifts. She began every day saying, “Thank you, God, for another day here!”

In December of 2005, one of the consecrated women who was taking care of her transcribed one of her spontaneous “contemplations”:

I’m glad to be here.  One day I made that decision.  One day I was on the street walking, somewhere, and it crossed my mind… Out of the blue sky I thought… I have a life!  What’s it all add up to?  What a gift!

 “We have life… body… soul… intelligence… Think about it!  I have a life. This is something enormous!

A life… what do you do with it? This is potential. Think of everything involved in it.  What will I do with it?  It’s not like a leaf on a tree or an apple… It’s a life!

How would a young person reflect on this?  What would he do with it?  It’s not a sum of money.  You can really do stuff with a life!

God-given… Where’s it going to bring me?  Or where am I going to bring it?

Right now, I have a life!  I’ve come into existence.  God gives it to me… a lot of possibilities.

We each have this gift but at some moment the question arises.  What’s he going to do with it?  A lot of choices to make in this life given by God. 

WOW!  It floors me!  Reality…. actuality… having something in my hands… A life.  A puzzle.  A gift.

How will I use it?  How will I be happy?

I’m not just a little bird at the end of a branch looking around.  What’s a bird have to offer compared to me?  I have a life!  It can be scary or happy or a puzzle… A life!

Thank you, God!

She also dedicated herself to spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart through the Memorare prayer,
Señoritas consagradas llevan el féretro con los restos mortales de Mrs. Mee.
which she had translated and printed in 14 languages, including Arabic. 

To the very end, Mrs. Mee’s days were centered around the moment of receiving Communion. She also enjoyed participating in special activities with the team, like Christmas Dinner, the feast of the Epiphany with its comedy show, or talks with major directors who came to visit the formation center.

With her rich personality and keen sense of humor, she gave as much to the team as she received. For many consecrated woman, she was a model of accomplished femininity, a reminder of the strength of a woman before the days of the feminist revolution. Mrs. Mee was strong and definite in her decisions, yet always graceful and dignified in her manners. She combined a strong sense of how things ought to be said and done, from proper diction to the right way to prepare tea, yet she was also sensitive, kind, and obliging, ready in spirit to stand up and serve even when her body was no longer able.

In her conversation, she listened with interest to others, asking perceptive questions and reflecting deeply on what was said. And when it was her turn to speak, her words showed how she lived with a contemplative spirit, with a long-range vision of what is most important in life against the horizon of eternity. Anything could make Mrs. Mee speak of heaven and of God, from the bird perched outside her window to the snowflakes falling at dusk.

She took a great interest in the people living alongside her, and relished her role as the “grandmother” of the center. When young visitors came to call, she delighted in offering them specialty chocolates while telling them (quite audaciously at times) her experience of human and divine love. She never expected, she would say, to fall in love again after her beloved Tim passed away. And yet, Christ had truly stolen her heart. For Mrs. Mee, the vocation to the consecrated life was precisely that: the soul’s unique love relationship with Christ, a response to a mysterious call that could come at any time in life, even at the ripe old age of 80.

On April 23, Mrs. Mee’s journey to eternity began to accelerate as she entered the hospital, always accompanied by two consecrated women. Visitors and well-wishers were not lacking, as cards and messages poured in from all over the world. Fr Álvaro, LC, sent her a card expressing his desire to accompany her in her suffering; and the bishop of Providence, His Excellency Thomas Tobin, spent some time with Mrs. Mee while passing by the hospital.

Upon her return to the center on May 7, she was given all of the necessary medical care and the constant attention of the consecrated women who kept her company. During her last days, the members of the center visited her in small groups to pray with her and sing her Marian
Sobre el féretro de Mrs. Mee, una estampita del Sagrado Corazón con las que difundía su devoción.
On Mrs. Mee’s tombstone: one of the Sacred Heart prayer cards by which Mrs. Mee spread her devotion.
songs. Each member had her turn to say goodbye to Mrs. Mee, who was conscious and who was able to respond several times with a word or a gesture.

On Thursday, May 15 in the afternoon, her breathing became labored and her agony began. By around midnight, she fell into a coma, and the next day, around 10:10 a.m., after the consecrated women finished praying the Rosary, Mrs. Mee breathed her last. She was accompanied in her final hours by Mónica Treviño, Luly Fernández, and several other consecrated women. Fr Alonso, LC, then led the team in the prayers for the dead.

Two hours later, Bishop Gelineau, the emeritus bishop of Providence, visited the center to express his condolences. He spoke to the team of consecrated women about Mrs. Mee and the value of life, and then prayed with them, commending her soul to God.

At 6.00 p.m., Mrs. Mee’s body was brought into the chapel for the wake, and Fr Alonso presided over the Mass. During the homily, he said that throughout her long life, Mrs. Mee had kept a part of her heart reserved for God alone, and spoke of the great love that she irradiated to the entire community. The consecrated women then kept vigil in turns throughout the night.

On Saturday, May 17, Fr Joseph Burtka, LC, the territorial director of New York, celebrated the funeral in the center. Fathers Alonso, Andrew McNair, and Javier Fayos, LC, concelebrated. Afterwards, there was a procession to the cemetery, where they buried her alongside her husband. During the burial, the consecrated women sang, and after the burial, expressed their farewell with a strong applause.

After a long life lived in fidelity, gratitude, wisdom, and love, Mrs. Mee had triumphed. Now her true life is just beginning.



Related links

Official web site of the Vatican.
Legionaries of Christ
For Your Vocation
Mater Ecclesaie College

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