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With age old love I have loved you;
So I have kept my mercy toward you
And I will restore you, and you shall be rebuilt;
O Virgin Israel,
Carrying your festive tambourine you shall go
forth dancing with the merrymakers. (Jeremiah)

In a spirit of jubilee, in realization of age-old love, carrying our festive tambourines we celebrate the life and death of Sister Mary Janela Mack. Born in Viola, Illinois, on July 4, 1903, Janela was the oldest of four children of Thomas and Margaret Noonan Mack. She graduated from Immaculate Conception Academy in Davenport, Iowa and from Western Illinois State Teachers' College and taught school before entering the BVM Congregation on September 8, 1925. Janela ministered as an elementary and secondary teacher, serving all her years in this beautiful state of Iowa.

A brief chronology of events could never capture the life and spirit of Janela. Talk about Janela and you always heard the words good, kind, joyful, independent. She was independent and relished the fact that she was born on Independence Day. Only last Thursday, when she was so ill, she managed to get to the funeral of a friend in Waterloo, Iowa. She developed her own ministry of visiting the sick at St. Francis Hospital in Waterloo while she was still engaged in full time teaching. She opened the Tama Mission in 1927, and laughed when she talked about her big class of two fifth graders and four sixth graders.

Janela's independence was inseparable with her kindness. Who knows how many letters she wrote for patients in Waterloo and Dubuque. The Courier newspaper in Waterloo featured her in an article in 1975, referring to her as an institution. She was a good and kind institution. Her love for people was evident in her acts of compassion and understanding and in her deep interest in people. She knew what they were doing and where they were going and what they carried in their hearts. She would sit on the little porch in front of Marian Hall and be happy to share a good word with all who moved in and out of the life of Marian Hall.

The element of Janela's character which stirs our hearts today is her joyfulness, her spirit of celebration. She could hardly wait for the Jubilee. Even with her tired, swollen legs, she reveled in the though of the Sesquitour. On this day of Jubilee, Janela has given the BVM Congregation her most precious gift -- her life -- a life of jubilee.

With ages old love God loved her. With ages old love she has loved us. God has kept his mercy toward her. God has kept his mercy toward us.

With tambourines, with the merrymakers, with jubilee, let us celebrate the life and death of Sister Janela Mack.
(Remarks given by Helen Maher Garvey, BVM,
at the funeral liturgy of Mary Janela Mack, BVM,
at Marian Hall Chapel, August 3, 1983.)

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