When asked to participate in an interview about a car accident that nearly took her life 70 years ago, Sr. Beatrice Flahaven agreed, but under one condition. She didn’t want to be made to look like she was complaining.
That was typical of Sr. Bea. Always smiling, generous and welcoming, Sr. Bea focused on you and what you might need. Never mind that the once-brilliant organist could no longer play with ease, speak without a stutter, walk without support or easily recall something that happened five minutes ago.
Sr. Bea came out of the accident a profoundly changed woman.
“I was thrown from the car,” she said. “I was unconscious for a long time, and had amnesia after that. My first memory is of waking up in the hospital and seeing all these people that I didn’t recognize. They were my Sisters and family and friends. I couldn’t communicate to them. I had double vision.”
Recovery was halting and sometimes painful.
“I asked the Lord why,” she said. “I was frustrated and very, very down. With the help of my Sisters and friends, I got through it. And I kept trusting in God. I’ve never felt like I could answer the big question of why it happened, but trust has led me to peace.”
Sr. Bea personified Benedictinism. Willing to live with and in the big questions, willing to say “yes” to life’s changes, willing to depend upon God. Sr. Bea was able to live a very full and productive life as a teacher and member of our monastic community. She had a heart of gold. We will miss her dearly, and look forward to seeing her again one day.