Dubuque, Iowa — With a little help from her friends, under a cloudy sky and light warm drizzle, the body of Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Helen Maher Garvey departed her motherhouse for the last time Aug. 17 at 2:46 in the afternoon.
Outside the sprawling compound minutes after a Mass of Christian Burial in the motherhouse chapel, her community gathered to sing its heartfelt farewell, the song of "Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel." Tissues in hand, dabbing away tears, community members sang the words: "Grant us grace to climb Mount Carmel and to learn that love is loss. Guide us till our ways outdistance all earth's treasures save the cross."
At song's end, all living current and past presidents of Garvey's congregation — president Teri Hadro and past presidents Dolores Marie McHugh, Mary Ann Zollmann and Joellen McCarthy — gently pushed Garvey's grey casket into the back of a waiting hearse. Seconds later, the vehicle drove around a corner and out of sight on a short journey to Garvey's resting place at Mount Carmel cemetery overlooking the Mississippi River.