Homily for RoseMarie Lipinski July 11, 2021
JS Bach – All music should have no other end and aim than the glory of God and the soul’s refreshment.
Create beautiful music takes time; many elements go into the writing of music and song
Melody — tune arrangement of pitches
Harmony — additional supporting pitches that give choral and tonal structure
Rhythm — frequency of sounds that gives the beat
This morning we gather to sing RoseMarie’s song: a song whose melody, harmonies and rhythm were her dedication to her family, her faith and life. The harmony of her song was her desire for her family to be strong. The rhythm of her life was her faith and God, and her dedication to the Gospel through a life of service to her family, friends, students and others.
In fact, her life was a love song written in her heart and life by the greatest composer of eternity — God.
Born 83 years ago, RoseMarie’s song underwent an incredibly transformation – much like Jesus’s life. When she was young, Rose Marie experienced the death of her parents and as a result she was raised by her older brothers Wally. She went to Kelly HS and sang in the choir. At age 18, she went to live in a Settlement house. She went to Chicago Teachers College (now Chicago State) and earned an Associate’s degree. She and Bill married at young age, then started a family.
Education was very important to Rose Marie, for her and for her children. She and Bill sacrificed to provide for that. On payday Rose Marie put money into an envelope to pay for Catholic school tuition for Laura and Dan. With Laura and Dan in school, RoseMarie returned to school at St. Xavier to complete her Bachelor’s degree. In 1980, there were three graduations to celebrate in the Lipinski house! RoseMarie’s from college, Laura’s from High School and Dan’s from grammar school.
Earning a law degree was very important to RoseMarie and thus very important to Bill. She began Law School at Loyola and then transferred to Georgetown Law School when Bill was elected to Congress. She completed her law degree in 1988 at age 50. She was appointed a judge in Illinois and heard cases at the Claims Court in downtown Chicago for several years.
Bill supported her in her career goals and often was heard to say, “whatever you want RoseMarie.” Bill strove to make her happy for 59 years. She was always there for Bill, too. When he entered politics, she campaigned door to door in their southwest side neighborhood with young Laura and Dan in tow.
RoseMarie’s Catholic Faith, love of music, and her family were very important in her life. She was most happy being with children. She enjoyed her years as a Physical Education Instructor and Pre School teacher. She had a love of nature and enjoyed flowers, gardening, sitting in the garden, watching birds, and going to Arbor Day at Forest Hills school.
Bill’s devotion to her the last ten years as her memory faded was incredible, and heroic! He cared for RoseMarie always with a smile. Music was a comfort that soothed and brought her fond memories.
She was most proud of children and of their advanced degrees, Laura’s Juris Doctor degree and Dan’s PhD. Her grandchildren, Conor and Brian, were the world to her.
The readings her family has chosen for this celebration are lyrics written in Rose Marie’s hearts, but in ours as well. Isaiah sings of God’s promise and presence to comfort all who grieve, and our victory over death. May the reward of life RoseMarie participates in now, be the tune we hum in our lives. Paul’s letter sings of the desire to imitate Christ’s life in our own living and the deep hope and knowledge that our true home is with Christ in eternal life. May these lyrics so important in RoseMarie’s life be sung in our hearts and lives.
Her song reflected that of Mary’s we just heard in the Gospel, for RoseMarie’s soul proclaimed the greatness of God and her spirit rejoiced in God her savior, for God looked upon her and filled her with many riches.
RoseMarie’s song of life was nourished by her faith in God. It was faith that provided her hope and offered her trust in the promise of eternal life which she now shares with God. Remember her song, that wondrous song as you grief and mourn her physical absence with you. Keep singing her song that embodies her indelible spirit, the song she taught to you — the song of life, the beautiful song of love.
Giacomo Puccini was a great Italian composer, a writer of such classic operas such as Madame Butterfly and La Boheme. When he was fairly young, we became ill so he decided that he would spend his time writing his final opera, Turnandot, which is one of his most polished pieces. When his friends and students would say to him, “why don’t you take it easy and rest”, he would always respond, “I’m going to do as much as I can on my great masterpiece and it is up to you, my friends, to finish it if I don’t.” Well, Puccini died before the opera was completed.
His friends had a choice, to not finish the piece or to build upon his melody and complete what he had started. They chose to finish the great masterpiece. And so, in 1926 at the famous La Scala Opera House in Milan Italy, Puccini’s opera was played for the first time, conducted by the famed conductor Arturo Toscanini.
When it came to the part in the opera where the master had stopped writing because he died, Toscanini stopped everything, turned around with eyes welling up with tears, and said to the large audience, “This is where the master ends.” Then, after a few moments, he lifted his head, smiled broadly, and said, “And this is where his friends began.” Then he finished conducting the opera.
This morning we gather to celebrate her life. We come to share our grief, to bid farewell to RoseMarie. We do so as a people of faith, believing that her soul lies comfortably in the tender arms of our compassionate God at the eternal banquet of new life. We continue to sing her song, the song she learned from God, the song of new life, for God has done great things of us for God had lifted up RoseMarie to eternal life and it is our belief that God will do the same for us, God’s beloved children and like Marie we shall see God as God is, face to face, to the creator and composer of the greatest song ever written — Eternal Life.