Aunt Frankie. Officially known as Sister Frances Ellen Bowery.
Dominican nun for 76 years. She was a teacher and a Social Justice advocate. Part of her work included working on peace issues and with immigrants and international students. Little however has been noted of her quiet work for justice. Still, I honor her for this work and her dedication to humanity.
Humorist. She loved to make jokes. And she had a wonderful laugh. For example, she enjoyed teasing and joking. She also loved to play cards and particularly enjoyed getting caught cheating at the game.
Family overseer of the Bowery clan. Many of my mother’s clan turned to her. Just before my grandmother died in 1963, she asked Frankie to “look after” Marty, her second youngest remaining sister. Which she did until my mother died three years ago. Calls, visits, vacations… Any time. Anywhere. Frankie was there whenever she was needed or wanted. After my mother died, Aunt Frankie became the last survivor of her generation. At my mother’s funeral, she told me, “My [family] job is now done. I did what my mother asked me to do.” She sure did.
Sr. Frances Ellen Bowery, always known to me as Aunt Frankie, died on Tuesday evening December 2, 2014 at the young age of 94. She will be buried Saturday, December 6, 2014 in her bright red “Mrs. Claus” outfit beside her sister Sister, Sr. John Loretto Bowery, who was known to us simply as Aunt Mary.
She was lucid and still making jokes right up to the end. She will surely be missed by all of us nieces and nephews and within her religious community.
Luv ya Frankie! Farewell and rest in peace.
Addendum – Aunt Frankie’s Elves
Monday December 9, 2014: I just got back from the funeral in Adrian, MI. It was probably the nicest celebration of life I’ve ever attended.
Aunt Frankie was buried on December 6 on the Feast of St. Nicholas – her favorite holiday. She donned her Mrs. Claus suit and distributed candy canes to her community every year on this feast day; she was also buried in this outfit.
In her honor and with the fun spirit she engendered in our family, all of the nieces and nephews attending the funeral donned Santa Claus hats and distributed candy canes to the members of the convent at the wake. We also gave out rawhide candy canes for the doggie members within the community (yes some of the nuns have dogs as pets).
Thanks again Aunt Frankie. The best funeral I’ve ever attended.