Guest Columnists

The Greatest Resurrection Gift

by Sister Ave Clark, O.P.

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL season Easter is – a time to sing joyously, Alleluia Alleluia! But I’ve been singing with some tears this Easter season for my dear friend Arthur.

Arthur and I have known each other over 10 years. Arthur would call me everyday, sometimes five to seven times a day just to share about his love for Jesus.

A convert to the faith, Arthur became a Catholic at St. Jude Church in Canarsie, where the community welcomed him with great respect and caring. He told me that becoming a Catholic made his heart forever happy. St. Jude’s parish would be his forever family.

Arthur moved a few years ago to Belle Harbor, and joined St. Francis de Sales parish where he continued to attend Mass.

He would tell me just what the priest would say in his homily. He especially liked Father Jim Cunningham’s sharings.

Arthur told me about the prayer garden at the parish where he liked to stop and reflect on Jesus’ goodness in his life.

Leaning on Jesus

On Holy Saturday, I picked Arthur up at the Belle Harbor Manor for people with mental illness. Arthur had the disease of schizophrenia, which he bore courageously. He would say to me: “I lean on Jesus’ love to help me.”

We went to St. Francis de Sales Church for a visit. I lit a candle for Arthur. He smiled and thanked me for doing that. We prayed 10 Hail Marys together. After that, we went to the prayer garden and sat together, reflecting quietly.

Then I noticed his shoelaces were untied. I leaned over quietly to tie them. As I looked up, Arthur was smiling and said, “Thank you, Sister, for being Jesus’ love for me.”

I smiled feeling humbled by his kind and holy words.

We went to Dunkin’ Donuts, his favorite place, and then as I drove him back to Belle Harbor Manor, he told me to have a nice time with my family and to tell them he said hello. He said he would pray for them on Easter.

Then I thanked him for being Jesus’ love for me. I gave Arthur a bag of goodies and a gift card for Dunkin’ Donuts. He said he would share the gifts with others. I also gave him a prayer shawl someone made. I told him to put it on his bed; it would be like Jesus was wrapping His arms around Arthur.

Before he left the car, I gave him a hug and said, “Arthur, God bless you always.” He smiled.

He called me that evening and said he had the prayer shawl around him. We both agreed we had a wonderful Holy Saturday.

When I got home Easter evening from visiting my family in New Jersey, I had a few messages on my answering machine. I smiled when I heard them.

On Easter Monday, I went to get my mail and found a special card for me from Arthur: Wishes for Joyous Easter NUN on this joyous day. And I thought to myself, I am blessed to have Arthur as a dear friend.

A few hours later I received a telephone call that Arthur had passed away Easter evening.

My dear friend Arthur had the greatest resurrection gift this Easter season. He is seeing Jesus face to face and I can imagine Arthur saying, “Lord, thank you for all the love you shared with me on earth.”

Arthur, Alleluia Alleluia! You are risen in glory now!

Yes, I have tears of missing you and your calls, but I also have a wonderful smile, Arthur, for your gift of prayer, which you shared with me and so many others.

You gave me blessings galore – sincerity, humility, simplicity, forgiveness, kindness, charity and a sense of humor – that I will treasure forever. Most of all Arthur, you gave me an extraordinary example of Faith-lived. Alleluia He is Risen!

Sister Ave is the coordinator of Heart to Heart Ministry, based in Bayside. Her website is: