A 15-year-member of the Catholic Care of the Soul and Companions Counseling since its inception of formal founding in 1998, Joan Shifflett, died Wednesday, according to her son, Mark.
Amazing grace describes her best for me.
With little drama, this survivor moved with life's ebbs and flows, despite the desolations and physical challenges, and more, that she endured.
I hear Joan saying:
"Do not fear, for I have not, and I am with you like Jesus. Remember me in the fall or autumn, as you like and as you walk through the leaves of gold, and, in the snow, and cold and wintertime of life even, remember me in the stories told, will you?"
Scriptures emerge when I think of Joan:
"The Lord hears when I call." - Ps. 4:3
"I have loved you with an everlasting love." - Jeremiah 31:3
"I am the resurrection and the life." - John 11
ETERNAL REST GRANT UNTO JOAN, O LORD. AND, LET PEPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON HER. MAY HER SOUL AND THE SOULS OF ALL THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED, THROUGH THE MERCY OF GOD, REST IN PEACE. AMEN.
A Month's Mind Mass for intentions of her family will be celebrated Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, 3 pm in St. Bonaventure Monastery, 1740 Mt. Elliott, Detroit.
All are welcome.
Joan was blessed with an enlarged heart she grew as I knew her. A simple woman of modest means, Joan Shifflett reminds me of Richard Rohr, OFM, who said:
"Why does the Bible and Jesus tell us to care for the poor and the outsider?"
"Because we all need to stand in that position for our own conversion. When we are smug and content, grace and mercy have no meaning, and, God has no meaning."
Mark Shifflett, Joan's son, would accompany his mother to Big Jack's Bar-B-Que Grille in Roseville, MI., for a Class in Acceptance, founded by the late Father Edward Popielarz, and, my boyhood pastor who filled our cracker-box gym at the parish with hundreds as he integrated spirituality, twelve steps, psychology, and more weekly.
Although I was a high school senior at the late Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish on Detroit's east side,
I savored his notes that he would hand to me as he went off to teach.
Little did I know that he would leave me numerous binders of his carefully-prepared sheets to continue his class and to hand out to his enthusiastic participants who celebrated Mass at 7 pm in St. Jospeh Church in Pontiac, MI., also, long after my encounter of this wise man.
Today, the class in acceptance meets the third Wednesday of each month at 5:30 pm in Big Jack's with another devotee of his, David Johnstone leading it.
Joan was an enduring student of the class with Mark. They looked forward to it.
Even after Joan's fifteen years of growth groups and Care of the Soul's interest in her.