Many thanks for the humungous effort you all put into making yesterday such a memorable and joyful event for Eileen. Eileen was deeply moved, as were we her family. It was wonderful to feel the joy of the Redfern community, and to know that we are capable of recovering a spirit of optimism untarnished by the tensions, hurt and so many other negative forces that have crept in over the last 5 years.
A special thanks to all those who worked hard behind the scenes. Elisabeth and I do not know who precisely did what, but can see the talents of Kate, Marnie, Clare, Helen and others shining through. And a huge thanks to the musos on the day: Helen, Michael, Shireen, Kevin, Maria, the welcoming choir, and of course to the multi- and exceptionally-talented Poldi. Poldi has set a very high benchmark for us all as we progress towards 90: she knitted bed socks for Eileen, baked the Linzer torte birthday cakes, and played Schubert’s Ave Maria! I thought Maria’s lyrical and kind support for Poldi truly revealed the deep humanity behind the musical notion of accompaniment.
And, of course, a great big boundless thanks to John for saying such a beautiful Mass.
I have written this email over another by Jack to Elisabeth and myself. Unfortunately we didn’t open our computers on Saturday night or Sunday morning, so missed being able to read out his thoughts. Here they are for your contemplation.
Catherine – and, I feel I can add, Elisabeth, on behalf of the Burke clan.
Sent: Saturday, 7 June 2008 7:09 PM
Subject: Eileen and history
Dear Elizabet and Catherine and family,
My thoughts and spirit will be with Eileen, youselves and St. Vinscom tomorow at 11a.m. I will light a candle for you all, and a special one for Eileen too at the Servite Priory IN Fulham Rd Chelsea. What a noble human being, woman, person Eileen is. Born 1916 (?craft) or was it 1912. What a range of universes. What a range of churches! Growing up in the aftermath of WW1 and the pain of knowing the loss of a generation of australian youth, women widowed, children left fatherless. The great depression and its horror. WW2 and its consequences; aftermath and losses and pain. Of course there was fun, mischif, vaudiville musical comedy, theatre, symphonies romping on balmoral beach, and maybe a bit of jazz and a charlstone or three!! Handing on the wisdom to the kids seeing them blossom, go autumnal too, and share and guide the mystery of their developing being. The love and very very special closeness with the grand kids. The discoveries of medicine, science in general. The vote for women and the womens movement and liberation. Improvements in our treatment of our black brothers and sisters. AND of the Church !!!!?????. From MONS Johhny Cusack to josephe Mendes and Clesio (slippery). The more things change the more they stay the same. Eillen has carried all that life to celebrate with us our community. She has worked thru all those years to see the emergence of the church of the people of god. with guts, humor and intellect. and above all integrity. A life committed to seeing justice done in peoples lives, particulary our black brothers and sisters. A dear dear friend for many many years of Teds. walking beside him and often providing a quite space for him. Thru all the journey above all else a woman of great dignity and generosity of spirit. May all the blessings of the holy geese be upon Eileen and tharlotrya much love jack. How creative, powerful and "with it" of Eileen to ask that the gathering be a celebration of our community and she a part of it. I cherish the memory of Eileen’s compassionate commentary on Jesus response to the woman "taken in adultery" and her stern message to those who would condemn. and cherish too she at her great age challenging Cardinal and bishops and those generally of the cloth (and non clothed) who would be pompous.! I love her dearly. Haave a great celebration. LOve to Eileen and all your fambily JohnVincent . …. from lunnen