Faithful Helper Passes on to Eternal Life

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By Melanie Williams (Mar 14, 2018)
"God has blessed us so much" Ken Clough would say while volunteering on Eden Hill. "Nine children, 15 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. So Joanne and I are here to give back."

On Tuesday, on March 14, those nine children, 15 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren surrounded Ken as his beloved wife, Joanne, was laid to rest.

For over 17 years Ken and Joanne volunteered almost every weekend at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. Thousands of pilgrims have been greeted, escorted, and guided, by Ken and Joanne's loving and kind service.

Father Michael Flannery, parochial vicar of St. Mary's in Albany, New York, presided over the liturgy of Christian burial at the Historic St. Mary's in Albany. Shrine Rector Fr. Anthony Gramlich, MIC, vice-rector Fr. Bob Vennetti, MIC, and Fr. Ken Dos Santos, MIC, concelebrated.

The Gospel reading Joanne had picked for her funeral Mass was John 14:1-6:

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where [I] am going you know the way." Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Father Michael spoke in his homily about the mercy of God which breathed life into everything that Joanne did.

"She cared first and foremost for the souls of those she loved," Fr. Michael noted. Her greatest joy was being a wife, mother, and grandmother. Through her love and service, she sacrificed greatly. Like Jesus, Fr. Michael said, sacrifice makes something beautiful.

"This, I suggest, is what motivated Joanne all of the time," Fr. Michael said, "the love and the mercy of God, and the hope that life is eternal, not temporary. God's love and mercy made Joanne the wife and mother she was. Not content to take care of her family only materially and temporally, her solicitude was for her family's salvation.

"This maternal instinct naturally overflowed into her efforts to help others improve their friendship with God and His holy Mother." Joanne not only volunteered at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy, but also served as the formation director for her Third Order Carmelite fraternity, volunteered at the St. Francis Chapel in Albany, and was active in the pro-life movement.

In the gold-accented Mannerist and French Gothic styles of the interior of the Historic St. Mary's, it was as if the splendor of Heavenly Glory embraced the Clough family, and welcomed Joanne into eternal life. This was a reminder for her family and friends that life is changed, not ended, for Joanne, and she intercedes for them before the throne of the Father in Heaven.

"This Gospel passage which Joanne picked out reminds us that Heaven is home," Fr. Michael added. "Joanne has gone home, rejoicing."

"Pray to her for her help and pray for her," Fr. Michael concluded. "Imitate the sacrifice that was not just an ideal to her but was a way of life. Imitate that sacrifice of love, and you, too, will be ready to meet the Lord when He comes to us, so that we might be with her, and all the saints, and our blessed Lord Himself in that Kingdom, in that mansion, in that life that knows no end.

After the funeral liturgy, Ken said lightheartedly, "If Joanne hasn't made it to Heaven, none of us have a chance!" It was her years of prayer which led to his own conversion through Divine Mercy.

Ken plans to come up for Divine Mercy Sunday at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy and oversee the Adoration tent with his son Daniel, just as he was able to do for so many years with his beloved wife, Joanne.

The Marian priests and brothers and all Marian Helpers extend their heartfelt love, gratitude, and prayers to Ken and his family. May Joanne's soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Read the full story of how Ken and Joanne came to the Shrine after years of Joanne praying for Ken's conversion.

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Olga E. Blake - Mar 17, 2018

Thank You For The Life Of Grace & Mercy
Which You Truly Witnessed To Me.

Sonia - Mar 14, 2018

May God bless you, Joanne, and take special care of your family. Thank you for everything you have done. Your life witness is beautiful and very encouraging to us wives and mothers trying to persevere. Your smile radiates joy and love.