Elizabeth Theresa Evangelisti Kenny
A Life of Love and Prayer
By Melissa French
As I looked at all the condolences and prayers and comments streaming in since the unexpected passing of our Dearest Aunt Liz. I realized that:
AUNT LIZ WAS MORE THAN THE HUMAN ROLES SHE ASSUMED IN THIS LIFE AS SHE BROUGHT HEAVEN TO EARTH BY CREATING FAMILY WHERE EVER SHE WENT:
And there is ONE thing in common with all the words of condolence. For many if not all, Aunt Liz, was more than an Aunt to us.
To her family, she was devoted and grateful. She loved Uncle Pat, Elizabeth Ann, and Patrick, so very much. And we could feel the glow and aura of her love for them, which in turn inspired us to show that kind of love to our own families.
To her brothers and sisters and cousins, she was loyal and loving. She showed us what it really means to have close family ties while God sends us here to live our lives on Earth.
To her brother and sister in-laws, son and daughter-in laws, and their extended families, she made them her own.
To her grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews, she was protective, loving and fun.
And as for her friends, like my parents, they became her brothers and sisters. Perhaps not in blood, but the bonds that they shared were just as strong.
So, Aunt Liz was always more than the human role that she assumed. She was more than a mom to Elizabeth Ann and Patrick as she became a dear and trusted friend and mentor to them both.
To Uncle Pat, she was more than just a wife. She was his confidant, best friend, and trusted partner. They created a romantic and loving bond, whether they were leading Tres Dias meetings, doing missionary work both at home and abroad, traveling, going to church, or just having fun with friends and family.
And as for the God-children or children of her friends, like myself and my sisters, she was more than an Aunt. I know that she became a second mother to me and to my sisters as well to many, if not all of us in this room.
Aunt Liz brought Heaven to Earth by creating family wherever she went. We thought that Aunt Liz belonged to us, but she taught us that we belong to one another as God’s children.
TRUE WOMAN OF GOD TEACHING US HOW TO HAVE FAITH AND HOW TO BECOME CLOSER TO GOD:
Aunt Liz had an indescribable way of touching all of those around her.
Aunt Liz brought all of us together in prayer. Her maiden name, Evangelisti, contains the root word “Evangelist”, which if you look in the bible under Ephesians 4:11, is described as a “publisher of glad tidings.” Evangelists had neither the authority of an apostle, nor the gift of prophesy, nor the responsibility of pastoral supervision over a portion of the flock. They were itinerant preachers, having it as their special function to carry the gospel to places where it was previously unknow. The writers of the four Gospels are known as the Evangelists (biblestudytools.com). You could certainly surmise that Aunt Liz’s strong connection to God and to her faith fits this definition. But as an evangelist, she not only spread the good word of God, but she also taught us how to pray and how to establish our own friendship with God by her gentle example. You could say Aunt Liz was a Holy woman of God, but not in a haughty or judgmental way. Like Jesus, Aunt Liz knew that we are humble, not because we are lower, but because we are equal and we are all equally loved as God’s children.
Aunt Liz had what Mother Angelica refers to as “ridiculous faith”, which is the kind of faith that the Holy Mother had when the Archangel told her that she would bear the Son of God. And like the Blessed Mother Mary, Aunt Liz never questioned God’s Will for her or for others, knowing that God knows what is best for all his children.
SHE TAUGHT US THE POWER OF PRAYER HOW TO BE PEACEFUL AMID CHAOS AND UNCERTAINTY:
The peace that Aunt Liz harbored in her spirit radiated peace where ever she went and to whomever she touched. If any of us had a problem or a worry, Aunt Liz would listen intently and quietly to our story. She might say to us, “let’s pray on this to Father God.” And she would pray with us and teach us how to ask for God’s guidance and answers, which often comes in quiet meditation, intuitive feelings, repetitive ideas, or in His gentle voice which speaks to our hearts when we are still. Aunt Liz taught us that we are in God’s great hands and that there is nothing to fear. So, when we walked away after praying with Aunt Liz, she helped instill the seeds of confidence in our spirits, so that we could weather many storms with God at our side, holding our hand.
We all know that Aunt Liz is and was one of God’s greatest prayer warriors. She prayed away illness and distress from countless lives. She prayed a young child out of a coma. Most of us, at one time or another, have asked Aunt Liz to add us to her weekly prayer list, and she certainly would. It was a lengthy list. But, she also taught us the importance of praying for ourselves. Again, teaching us to establish that eternal personal friendship with God through prayer.
HER LIFE BECAME A TESTAMENT TO GOD AND A PRAYER:
Aunt Liz was so in unison with God’s good word, that her life itself became a prayer. And the words of her life prayer became the honorable deeds that she did for her family, friends and even strangers. Humility, faith, forgiveness, unconditional love and a devoted service to God and to others. Her actions became her unspoken prayer. Her actions became light-filled devotions to God and her actions always spoke louder than her words.
SHE TAUGHT US THAT GOD WILLS FOR US TO HAVE HAPPINESS IN THE PRESENT MOMENT:
Aunt Liz understood very well that God wants all his children to be happy and abundant and healthy. She taught us the power of laughter as a tool to defeat negativity. And whether she was explaining the meaning of a two-digit number to Patrick, consoling a former teenage boyfriend of Elizabeth Ann, stopping heavy foot traffic at Disney’s Haunted Castle to locate her lost 3-year old God daughter, following Uncle Pat to the “short-line” at Great Adventure, her sense of humor and calmness in the face of adversity told us that everyone would be ok.
And as sad as we are today for the energetic loss of her spirit, I can tell you with certainty that as we mourn, Heaven is rejoicing with the return of God’s great daughter and prayer warrior. I can envision the Holy Mother clapping her hands in rhythm, while Father Joseph dances an Irish Jig. I can see Jesus joyfully swinging Aunt Liz around in a do-si-do, while all her family to include her parents and brother, Saints, Archangels and Angels sing, yell, clap and laugh along in celebration.
Aunt Liz’s life force now flies as one of God’s great Angels, with her beloved family in Heaven, God, Jesus, Holy Mother Mary, Joseph, the Archangels, Angels, and Saints. Aunt Liz taught us, that life is eternal and that we someday will fly with her in Heaven.
Aunt Liz, until we see you again, we know that each time that we recite a prayer or talk with God, that you we will be right over our shoulder with us, helping and protecting us.
God Bless you Aunt Liz. Fly in Peace. Please pray for us and we will pray for ourselves and for each other until we arrive to see you in Heaven.
So, Aunt Liz, we will be looking for the Kenny Flag waving high upon the autumn-colored grassy hill and we look forward to hearing your warm voice calling out our names and your beautiful laughter filling the air.