January 29, 2017

A Rose by any other name? I seriously doubt that many of the people in this lower part of the county have not heard of the sad death of Rose Sivak. She was a lifelong parishioner of St Cecilia (though in later years she enjoyed going to Holy Face for the really early Sunday Mass). She is probably best known for her work as a librarian and a member of the Knights of Columbus Auxiliary. Sadly, I never got to know Rose in person. I have only come to really get to know her since she died. Her family told me some things about her, but most of what I learned came from parishioners of both St Cecilia and St Peter Claver who got to know her at the library and/or at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Lila Hoffmister said that Rose helped her to find books to read as a young mother. Those books expanded her world and her interests, because they were about subjects that she had never thought to learn about. Joe Spelz said that she always greeted him with a smile and called him by name whenever he came to the library. He, like so many others, said that she always went far beyond the call to duty to help the patrons in their search. Others told me of how she would regularly go out of her way to find information for them or just to make them comfortable.
Rose lived a life that would seem to most people to be quite ordinary. Yet looking at the large numbers of young people and not so young people who attended her wake service and funeral mass, I would say she made far more of an impact on people’s lives than most could have imagined. The faith was at the center of so much of what she did, and it shined like a bright light which led many people in our community to look up to this farmer’s daughter. Many people told me that they always looked forward to seeing her at the library or the Knights of Columbus Hall. Rose was a woman who was not defined by her illness, disappointments, or sadness. Instead, her life was defined by faith, love of family, service to neighbors far and wide, and her joy of learning. May those who have known her rejoice in the virtues God had shined through her to all of us. We trust that this is not the last time we will see this daughter of God. Next time we see her, we pray, she will appear in her glorified body, praising the Lord and welcoming us home in heaven.

– Fr. Scott