"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Murielle Yeoman

Growing up, I was blessed to know a very beautiful lady, thanks to my youngest sister. One day while at daily Mass with my mom, my youngest sister (age 2 or 3 at the time) wandered off to sit with an elderly lady. This act led to a friendship that would last a lifetime. The elderly lady's name was Murielle Yeoman and she used to fondly call my baby sister, "Pumpkin".

Murielle was born in Canada on December 28, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, and experienced suffering early in her life. When Murielle was three years old, her parents died in a car accident, leaving Murielle an orphan and a hunchback (her back was injured in the accident). Some nuns in Quebec (I am sorry that I do not remember the name of the order or Murielle's maiden name) took Murielle in and raised her. She was forever grateful to them.

As a young lady, she met Alan and fell in love. When Alan asked her to marry him, she sought permission from the nuns and from her Bishop. Alan was an Episcopalian and Murielle wanted to be sure that it was okay to marry him. The Bishop granted Murielle permission to do so and blessed her marriage. Shortly after their marriage, Murielle and Alan conceived a child. Murielle was overjoyed to be expecting, but her joy turned to sorrow when her baby boy died soon after birth. The nuns who had raised Murielle knew of her suffering and of a baby boy who needed a home. Murielle and Alan happily adopted the baby boy. He was to be their only living child.

Unfortunately, despite all of her prayers for her son at daily Mass and at home, Murielle's son got involved with drugs. He wandered in and out of prisons, breaking his mother's heart, but like St. Monica, Murielle never stopped praying for or loving her son.

My family met the Yeomans before their son was led astray, before Murielle picked up another heavy cross. She and her husband quickly adopted my siblings and me as grandchildren. Once a week, she taught my older brother and sister French. I always enjoyed going with my mom to pick them up and see my "spiritual Godmother" (a name that Murielle had given me for herself). I remember her split pea soup, her crown of thorns plant, a little container full of sayings, their German Shepherd, running through the sprinkler on the Yeoman's front lawn, Grandparents Day at school, care packages in college, and sitting with Murielle at Mass. Whenever a Protestant hymn was sung during Mass, Murielle would sing, "Love God, love God, love God." She truly did LOVE GOD!

My fondest memories of Murielle are wrapped up in childhood Christmas celebrations. Murielle used to go with my family to Midnight Mass and after Mass we would go back to her house, have a little treat, listen to her and my dad singing French Christmas carols, and open Christmas gifts from Alan and her. The gifts were usually religious in nature (books, etc.) and some are still treasured today.

Fast forward several years to when I was going out with my future husband. At that time, Murielle and Alan were living in the Bellingham area. We drove to their house so they could meet him. We spent a lovely afternoon with the Yeomans, eating split pea soup and visiting. Murielle pulled out a Christmas gift that I had given her years earlier and asked me if I wanted it back. I told her, "No", not realizing that she wanted me to take it. I wish that I had done so. Murielle and Alan were at my wedding. They gave my husband and me some antique glasses with a matching pitcher. Little did I know that this would be the last time that I would remember seeing my dear "spiritual godmother".

Requiescat in pace.

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