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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sister Josephine Leong, rest in peace.

Once, during a talk about human virtues, Joel from Opus Dei, explaining the importance of being a good friend, and the importance of friendship for the apostolate, said that we should hope that many people come to our funeral - it would be a sign that we were a good friend. If that's true, the number of people at Josephine Leong's wake this evening is a wonderful testament to her apostolic zeal and her character.

What a sight it was. So many Legionaries gathered around the coffin, praying the Rosary and the other Legion prayers; the huge bouquets of flowers from those whom Sister Josephine had touched - from her colleagues (she was a nurse, and a highly respected one too, judging from the people who had sent bouquets), from Senatus, and from the Legionaries in Malaysia.

The standard of the Legion of Mary, our vexilium, was placed near the head of the coffin - a reminder that here lay a Catholic who had dedicated her life to the advancing if God's Kingdom on earth, a soldier of Mary, obviously an apostle of Christ at her workplace, among her friends and to those whom she did not know.Sr. Jocelyn, our spiritual director, who had worked with Sister Josephine when she Josephine was President of Senatus, is right: we are lucky to have witnessed such a role model in the Legionary service right here among us, in Singapore.

I didn't know Sister Josephine well. I've seen her only about a dozen times. I've spoken to her only once, when she visited Tertiary Curia some years ago. But older Legionaries, like Paul Chen know her better, and always talk about her with great respect.

Last year we were asked to pray for her - she was fighting cancer of the spine, which had metastasised. She recovered and resumed her duties as President of North Curia, VP of her praesidium and correspondent for Senatus with the Legionaries in Malaysia. I've observed her at Senatus - she was very thorough, very sharp, and obviously very dedicated. She was at her Legionary post, on duty, to the end. I missed last month's Senatus meeting, but she was present for the meeting the month before, reporting the activities of the Legionaries in East Malaysia. She was also heavily involved in the preparations for the Legion Seminar and jubilee celebrations coming up next month.

Last weekend, the current President of Senatus, Brother Anthony Gabriel, asked for prayers for Sister Josephine once again, and said that she was at Assisi Hospice. Obviously things had taken a turn for the worse.Yesterday Paul asked Anthony how she was, and we learnt that she had died that afternoon.

"There goes another great Legionary" Paul remarked. It's a huge loss to the Legion in Singapore and  cruel blow to her family. But she deserves the peace and her reward. She suffered the agony of cancer and its treatment with cheerfulness, just like Edel Quinn, whom she admired very much. I pray that she is now with Edel, in the God's Kingdom of love and glory.

Eternal rest grant unto Josephine Leong, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. And may her soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

I heard someone from heaven say, "Write this: Happy from now on are the dead who have died in the Lord. The Spirit says: Let them rest from their labours; their good deeds go with them." (Revelation 14:13)

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