I am not sure when I first met Dale, but I am sure she was with her sister, Judy, as they were never very far from each other. It may have been at our wedding, 1975 when we received a plaque of an American Indian Marriage Ceremony from Dale and Judy, which continues to hang on our wall and reminds me of Dale’s acceptance of the diversity of cultures. Or it may have been at one of the family gatherings that seemed to happen so often when all the children were younger. If you ever saw the movie Big Fat Greek Wedding, then you know the ethnic family experience, although my experience might be called the Lebanese version of that movie. Meeting Dale and the rest of the family was quite an experience for a WASP from Philadelphia. Dale was one of Allison’s most colorful relatives. She was honest and straight forward and a deep spiritual thinker. She enjoyed providing honest feedback regarding those who strayed from what she believed was the truth.
I loved her for her frank and honest discussion of the most controversial of topics and will miss her terribly. I am sure many here today will also miss her.
When I was preparing this I called Fr Jim to get some ideas. He was one of her favorite people, I am sure she is smiling from heaven upon Fr Jim here today with us to honor and celebrate Dale and her life. Fr Jim said they first met at the Blessed Sacrament, was just before he was scheduled to go to Africa. They invited him to the Holy Childhood Nursery School and they became the best of friends for the next 40 years. They corresponded often between Africa and America.
Their First airplane trip was to Africa to visit Fr Jim 1980. They made a lot of friends in Africa. Dale Loved to talk about her travels like going to Africa, Rome, Bar Harbor and Cadillac Mountain.
She had a great love for the Eucharist and like serving as an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister. She was very interested in the Peace and Justice Activities in the Church and her model was Dorothy Day
Whenever I saw Dale I always felt “ at home”. AT PEACE. She always smiled and gave me a big hug and kiss. On a few occasions we visited them on a Sunday afternoon at the Nursery School before they moved to Seton Village and she would sometimes get out some wonderful cheese, maybe a bottle of wine or some beer and always some zytoon, bread and whatever else she might find when she went downstairs to the basement of her home where she kept her treasures of the pallet. I think she and Judy bought a barrels of various Lebanese food from a middle eastern grocery story in Brooklyn, NY or Lawrence Mass to be sure she always had something special to share with their guests. During these visits, we would talk about politics, the Catholic Church, the days social problems. She always asked about family. She usually had a strong opinion about something and could back up her opinions with facts she had read or learned in her research as she had a real thirst
for knowledge. On one of these visits she and Judy gave me a copy of Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton. This book inspired me and I am sure began my path to serving God and the Church. I found a quote from that book that provides a perspective from Dale AND her impact on my faith in God.
“I was not sure where I was going, and I could not see what I would do when I got [there]. But you saw further and clearer than I, and you opened the seas before my ship, whose track led me across the waters to a place I had never dreamed of, and which you were even then preparing to be my rescue and my shelter and my home.”
― Thomas Merton, The Seven Story Mountain
Dale Ferris was a remarkable women. She was loved by all who knew her including her family, many friends and people in this community. She loved the children she taught for 28 years at the Holy Childhood Nursery School. She loved the parents of those children. She loved spending time with the adult children who so often would return to visit her and Miss Judy. She loved visiting the sick and infirmed. She loved justice. Most of all she loved Jesus like no one I will ever know.
She was a model Christian. She encouraged and promoted Jesus Christ as our savior and bridge to eternal life. Her faith in Jesus Christ our savior was an inspiration me and to all who knew her.
Thank you Dale for your gift to us all. I believe you encouraged GOD’s grace to be present to us all as a result of knowing you. My thoughts and prayers go to Aunt Judy, who with Dale, became the book ends of the early childhood catholic education for this city. We are all grateful for her gift and service to this community.
WE need not be sad for Dale. Dale is very happy . She is with the LORD She is with her family members who have gone before her. She will live in eternal life with and in the Most Holy Trinity – Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit forever. AMEN