Apr 25, 2015 / 05:42 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As Cardinal Francis George of Chicago was laid to rest Thursday, religious and lay members of the archdiocese revered him as a caring shepherd who wouldn’t let cancer get in the way of his ministry.
Sister Mary Paul of the Daughters of Divine Love, an international women’s religious order with a congregation in the Archdiocese of Chicago, recounted how Cardinal George’s predecessor, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, had invited the order to Chicago. When he died in 1996, they didn’t know what would happen next.
“When Cardinal George came in, he continued to be a father to us. He knows us personally and he calls us by name,” she told CNA the night before the funeral.
Cardinal George passed away April 17 at age 78 after a years-long bout with cancer. He was Archbishop of Chicago from 1997 until his retirement in 2014.
That the late cardinal was a warm, fatherly figure to those who knew him was a common sentiment from many who attended prayer vigils for his repose, the Funeral Mass, and the subsequent funeral procession ending in his burial at All Saints Cemetery.
They described him as a man close to the people, evoking the image used by Pope Francis of good priests as “shepherds living with the smell of the sheep.”
“I love the fact that he was a Chicagoan at heart, and he came back to serve this great diocese,” said Michael Czyzewicz, commander of the Knights of Columbus Bishop Boylan Assembly in Woodstock, Ill.
After the evening prayer vigil for men and women religious the night before the funeral, Sister Mary Paul spoke with gratitude for all that Cardinal George had done for her order.
When asked what stood out most about his example, Sister Mary Paul answered, “His humility.” …
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