Tohono O’odham Commemorate Sister Lucia’s First Year Death Anniversary

Paul Keggington

January 15, 2008

img_3049_02162.jpgOn January 12, 2008 the family of Sister Lucia Antone, the Tohono O’odham Nation  and the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity gathered to observe Sister’s first year death anniversary in Ge Oidag (Big Fields), AZ. Fr. Stephen Barnufsky, OFM,  pastor at San Xavier Mission, and Deacon Alfred Gonzales from Santa Rosa village presided at an opening Eucharistic liturgy. Various relatives, as well as Sister Carla Riach, OSF, were invited to share significant memories of Sister Lucia. An altar with pictures of Sister’s life was decorated and placed in a prominent place in the front of St. Aloysius Catholic Church. Beautiful wreaths, multi-colored flowers and candles were brought and placed here as prayers, songs and traditional dances were sung for three hours. Next, designated prayer leaders of the village led the congregation in the rosary. At the beginning of this prayer, family members, Sisters and acquaintances were invited to light sr-lucia-11.JPGa candle which had a black ribbon tied on it. At the end of the rosary the same people were invited to untie the ribbon as a symbol of letting Sister Lucia go in peace. All the flowers, candles, etc. were collected and brought to the cemetery. The candle stubs and ribbons were buried at the foot of Sister’s grave and the flowers and candles were placed on the grave, symbolic of resurrection. As all approached Sister’s grave there was a beautiful sun dog in the sky, a special rainbow sign of God’s love and presence. Song leaders from the Salt River Indian Community led the final ritual which was a  blessing of the grave site.

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