By Mary DeTurris Poust
Every morning when I pull my local daily newspaper out of the plastic bag and toss it on the table next to my coffee, I automatically flinch in preparation for the next story about Catholics and scandal. So when I saw a front page story this weekend commemorating the life of a local Catholic Colombian woman who had left a powerful imprint on the people she met, my spirits began to lift.
The article never specifically mentioned that she was Catholic, although it noted that she attended daily Mass at the chapel of nearby Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. It seems that Rosa Murillo would often be mistaken for a homeless woman as she traversed the streets -- and dumpsters -- of Troy, N.Y., in search of bottles and cans. But she didn't need the money for herself; she had a good job as a nanny. Instead, she collected returnables in order to get money to send to charities around the world.
From Paul Grondahl's story in the Times Union:
"Murillo died Tuesday at 93. At her funeral on Friday, the Rev. Edward Kacerguis described her as 'this awesome, tiny, frail little woman' who inspired others with her humility and generosity.
"He said she practiced a Christian motto: 'It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.'
"Murillo spent 41 years working for the Lombard family on Burdett Avenue on the edge of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute campus, less than a block from RPI's Christ Sun of Justice Chapel & Cultural Center. About 100 people attended her funeral service there, where Murillo attended daily Mass and regularly stopped in to pray.
"'She was a woman of deep, profound faith,' said Kacerguis, an RPI chaplain who saw her almost daily, and never without a warm smile.
In perhaps one of the most touching elements of this story, when Rosa's health started failing, the woman who had been her employer for 41 years, already 88 years old herself, became Rosa's caretaker. Now that is a story of Christian love lived out in a very real way. Rest in peace, Rosa.
To read the full story, click HERE.