Just about a week ago did Mother Placid Dempsey, nun of the Abbey of Regina Laudis, make her way to the Lord. Her final act of earthly love to the One whom she committed herself to in this life, and lived in communio with for 85 years, accepted the invitation of the Lord for life eternal. Mother Placid was the first Benedictine nun of Regina Laudis that I met; we were introduced by a mutual friend, Palma. And boy was she helpful in a time of my life that needed reassurance.
It’s amazing to read all the things one does in life when one dies; her obit shines but a little light on a person many only aspire to be. Mother Placid was a unique woman of faith. I am grateful for the times we’ve met in her lucid years. Her diminishment was hard to watch. The last time I saw her in person a few years ago following Mass it was as though we met for the first time. The illness bore her mind away but her smile was all I needed. I think it was she behind the grill at the abbey church that walked with help in and out choir. I offered my prayer for Mother.
Someone characterized Mother Placid perfectly: “Wise, impish, witty, given to sharp spiritual insights and equally pointed….” All of which was true to my experience and for which I am grateful.
With the Church, let us pray,
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that the soul of your servant Mother Placid, who for love of Christ walked the way of perfect charity, may rejoice in the coming of your glory and together with her sisters may delight in the everlasting happiness of your Kingdom.
The obit posted by the Abbey follows.
Reverend Mother Placid
(Patricia Ann) Dempsey, 85, consecrated nun of the Abbey of Regina Laudis, died
September 27, 2012 at the Abbey after a long illness. Described as a tiny
giant, Mother Placid–artist, poet, and guest mistress for over 50 years–touched
the lives of thousands of people.
Patricia Ann Dempsey was the youngest of four
children of William Ambrose Dempsey, New York City trial lawyer, and Kathleen
Costello Dempsey, teacher and housewife. The Dempseys migrated to America at
the time of the great famine in Ireland and settled in Pennsylvania where
Mother Placid’s grandmother ran a saloon in the mountain mining town of White
Haven. The Costellos were metal craftsmen for centuries in Ireland. Her
maternal grandfather was instrumental in bringing the Knights of Columbus to
Patricia grew up in Brooklyn, and described the atmosphere of her
home as “…warm and intellectually stimulating with discussions of
cultural matters, philosophical questions, and legal matters”. After
graduating from St. Angela Hall Academy High School, she received her
Bachelor’s Degree in Art from Marymount College (Tarrytown NY) in 1949. In both
high school and college she was awarded honors for her art. She was active in
all aspects of drama, especially scenery design and construction. She also
participated in many cultural and charitable activities, including social
activities for the blind, infirm and pre-school children.