Christ House expresses our deepest gratitude and admiration for Sr. Marcella’s exceptional dedication and unwavering commitment to our patients, Kairos Members, volunteers, and staff for the last nearly 40 years.
It is with deep gratitude and admiration that we wish farewell to Sr. Marcella, who has been a beacon of hope and compassion for our community for nearly four decades, as she transitions to live with her fellow sisters at Mount Notre Dame, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her tireless efforts, coupled with her unwavering belief in the inherent worth and dignity of Christ House patients, has touched countless lives and left an indelible impact on our community.
Over the course of her 37+ year career as a founding member of Christ House, Sr. Marcella has exemplified the true spirit of selflessness and empathy. Through her compassion, she has not only provided presence and pastoral care for patients, but has also played an instrumental role in empowering individuals to regain their independence, rebuild their lives, and find new ways of being.
She has deeply touched the hearts of those who know her. Her kindness, patience, and unwavering support has been a source of comfort and hope for individuals navigating challenging circumstances. Her genuine care and ability to form deep connections has made a profound difference in many lives. Her legacy will continue to resonate in the hearts of those she has helped, long after she bids our community farewell.
At the end of June 2023, the Christ House community gathered to express appreciation for Sr. Marcella. A fellow sister, Sr. Ann Howard, was present at the celebration and reflected on Sr. Marcella’s enduring impact at Christ House by sharing:
“Witnessing the expressions of love and memory to Sister Marcella by her housemates at Christ House and the Kairos community was a privilege I will long remember. Sr. Marcella has lived and participated in ministry at Christ House for over 35 years and is now ready to move to Mount Notre Dame, in Cincinnati, Ohio. First, however, Christ House needed to say farewell. Over 60 individuals gathered to ask God to ‘bind us together in love’ honoring Sister Marcella, who has ministered with them in spiritual and pastoral ways across the decades.
I was privileged to sit beside her as, one by one, they took the mic in hand to pronounce a personal message:
“I will miss you, I will never forget you, Sr. Marcella!”
“You came to visit me in the hospital a few years back, and I was angry. You told me to be humble. I am not angry anymore.”
“Sr. Marcella, each Sunday, at our service, you invited me to read. I was afraid to read, but now I read without fear.”
“Thank you, Sister, for visiting me when I was sick. You remind me of my mother. I love you.”
“I love you, too. I love you all!” was Sister’s reply.
What Sister Marcella has done is befriend the homeless, the poor, the sick, the addicted, and the injured individuals of Christ House for so many decades. She has obviously won the respect of many, since these men came through the rain on the first day of summer to share cookies and cold drinks, sing the blessing of being bound together in love, and speak their truth and memory of Sister Marcella in their lives. And she responded with grace and dignity, calling each by name. Her colleagues—the staff of Christ House—hold her in obvious esteem and are feeling the ‘pull’ of farewell. Marcella, as you move to Mount Notre Dame, please know how grateful I am to witness your farewell from your people—the men and the staff-community of Christ House in DC.”
During the celebration, the Christ House community joined together in a prayer of gratitude for Sr. Marcella as she transitions into this new chapter, read by our Executive Director Mary Jordan:
Gracious and loving God,
We come to you in thankfulness for the many years of service given by our friend Marcella. We thank her for the long-term contributions she has made to Christ House and its mission. We are grateful for her hard work and appreciative of her sharing her experience and wisdom with all of us.
We pray for your continued blessings on Marcella during this next phase of her life. May your Presence be with her as she joins her community of Notre Dame de Namur sisters in Cincinnati. May she find solace and joy in their love and care. May Marcella find many receptive hearts and minds for the gifts she has to offer.
Today we leave Marcella with this blessing from the book of Numbers:
The Lord bless and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
And so, we end our prayer, thankful for what has been and grateful for what has yet to be.
Sr. Marcella will always be near to our hearts and we will miss her compassion and unwavering dedication here at Christ House. Her contributions have been immeasurable, and she will be sorely missed. She has been an inspiration to all of us.