Sister Rosemary Mayer, OSM

posted Aug 4, 2014, 7:53 PM by Sandy McGill
Our dear Sister Rosemary went home to God this afternoon. She died peacefully at 3:21 ET.

Around noon the doctor asked to speak to Sister Rosemary Lorenzen and me, who were her healthcare proxies. He told us that Rosemary had been on optimal life support since arriving at Orlando Regional Medical Center last Monday. The doctors had performed all the procedures they thought might be helpful, and despite their best efforts her condition continued to decline. He said her kidneys were failing, and they could put her on dialysis if we wished. That would only prolong her life. She would not recover. Or, he said, we could choose to withdraw all life support and let her die. He said that if we chose the latter option, they would make sure that she was pain free.

We told him that Rosemary had been clear about not wanting her life prolonged if there was no hope of recovery. We asked him to withdraw all life support. The doctor asked if we would like a hospice nurse present, and we said yes. Rosemary Lorenzen called Father Terry, a priest from Good Shepherd Parish who had been to the hospital several times in the past week, and a good friend of both Rosemarys. He arrived at the hospital at 3:00 p.m., just before the staff started to remove the tubes. He anointed Rosemary and then I asked him if we could pray the Hail Mary together, since she was a Servant of Mary. How moving are the words "now and at the hour of our death" when prayed at the bedside of a person at the hour of her death!

The hospice nurse arrived - and her name was Mary. She stayed with me in the room while the staff removed all the life support mechanisms. Sister Rosemary Lorenzen, Sister Lucy (an Adrian Dominican), and a laywoman and good friend Carol, had chosen not to be present for the procedure, which occurred around 3:05. When they returned to the room, the tearful goodbyes began. Rosemary Lorenzen asked Rosemary to greet her parents in heaven - and then others told her of people to meet and greet. Rosemary will be busy for a good long time! Then Sister Lucy asked, "Does anyone hear sing?" I said I did. So Sister Lucy suggested that we sing the Salve Regina. She said it was a special song for the Dominicans, and I said that it was special to us Servites as well. So we three sisters sang the Salve Regina. As we were singing I was watching the monitor that measured her heart beat and blood pressure. The lines became straighter and straighter. We finished the song,  and she died less than a minute later - with the strains of the Salve Regina in her ears. Even as I relate the event I experience again the awe and beauty of that sacred moment. What a blessing and privilege it was to be there.

Her good friend Father Vidal Martinez stopped in to see her this morning. He has been keeping the Secular Servites informed of Rosemary's situation. I called him this evening to let him know of her death. I have also been in touch with her family.

Rosemary asked to be cremated. I will go to the funeral home tomorrow (Tuesday) and make arrangements for her cremation, which she requested. She also asked to have three masses - one at her parish in Orlando, which we hope to schedule for Thursday evening, one in Addison, Illinois, for family and friends in that area, and one in Ladysmith, where her ashes will be laid to rest in our community cemetery. Arrangements are pended.

Rosalie died in August three years ago. She and Rosemary were such dear friends. Imagine the reunion they are having this evening!

Thank you all for your prayers and support.

Love, Theresa Sandok,OSM 
Congregation Leader 
Sister Servants of Mary Ladysmith, Wisconsin