Monday, March 10, 2008

Our Dear Aunt Lucille

Lucille M. McKillop, RSM
September 28, 1924 - February 29, 2008

Some reflections of a Grand lady.

My earliest memory of Aunt Lucille goes back to about the age of 6 or 7 as we walked hand in hand down the alley of Lexington to meet with the man whom we had accidentally spilled paint on his car that he parked under our tree fort. I was scared but Aunt Lucille was the essence of a calm and gentle spirit assuring me that she would stick with me all the way to the police station if necessary. When the gentleman saw Aunt Lucille and I coming…her in full habit at the time, he just kept saying I can’t send a “sister” to the police and Lucille in her ever so gentle way was able to calmly resolve the situation.

Throughout our youth Aunt Lucille always encouraged our studies and even helped get us into some summer school classes at St Xaviers. One piece of education she enjoyed keeping us abreast of was our Irish heritage. She had a love for Ireland, the land, the people, the family and heritage. If there was ever an awkward or quiet moment, you could just ask about Ireland or the family history and her face would light up and you were in for an enlightening and good time.

Aunt Lucille had also been looked upon as the wise matriarch of the family and that allowed her to have a life changing impact on me. In my late teens I had asked Sandy to be my bride. Mom and Dad felt I was too young among other religious conflicts. They sent me out to Rhode Island to spend a week with Aunt Lucille and see if she could get me to think straight. After several late nights, or shall we say into the wee hours of the morning, of tea, cookies and those probing and exploring questions, she called back home to advise Mom and Dad that I actually did have my head on straight and that they should get behind me and support me in my decision. Aunt Lucille’s wisdom and humility have helped mold and shape me to be who I am. After almost 30 years of marriage, 10 children and 1 grandchild, I still recall our time together and am grateful for her influence on this decision of my life.

As I have matured, I have watched and sought council from Aunt Lucille on a number of occasions. She always had time for family and was patient and loving, even when she needed to tell you that you were wrong and what she would suggest for making the situation right. But she wisely always left the final decisions up to you, she never took ownership for our directions or problems.

Aunt Lucille has always been that strong, elegant, stately lady that would just turn heads when she walked into a room, her stunning white hair, confident posture and those blue eyes that would just reach out and touch your inner being. When she spoke, people listened and learned. Yet with all the prestige and position she may have had she was probably the most humble lady I have ever known. She cared for people, not people with position and power, just plain ordinary people, whether they were the gardeners at Salve, members of the maintenance and janitorial crews, students or Admirals and Governors.

That was her life, caring for people from the toughest class she ever taught (3rd grade) to the high school student that has become her life long friend, to those college students that she envisioned with so much potential, to her fellow Sisters of Mercy that she loved and served with for over 60 years and we cannot forget her friends and family that she loved with an unconditional love and guided our steps of growth along the way. When our parents passed away at a fairly young age Aunt Lucille and Aunt Rose became our second mothers and we love them as such. Even during these final weeks and days she would ask about the family. She wanted to know what each was doing and as you would share she would respond “that’s wonderful” or “isn’t it wonderful”. When she met her newest great-grand nephew Willie just the other day, her response was consistent “he’s wonderful, just wonderful” then she closed her eyes and went back to sleep. I will always remember those words and Aunt Lucille, she is a wonderful lady, just wonderful. We will greatly miss her presence but our memory of her and the impact she had on our lives will remain with us forever.

We Love you Aunt Lucille.

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