Sister Emily McMullen died at Saint Joseph Villa on June 22, 2016, and was buried at Saint Joseph Villa on June 28, 2016. Sister was described as a “behind the scenes” person who rarely sought the limelight. Likewise, her nephew recently wrote to S. Emily that she taught so many people how to smile, and she shared this gift with so many others engaging them in friendly conversation whether she knew them or not. This fitting eulogy rings through her life and now penetrates her passing.
Sister was born to Emily and Paul Hughes McMullen on January 4, 1937, in Orange, New Jersey. Her love for the shore was nurtured early in life as she and her siblings, brothers. Paul and Edward, and sister, Patricia were raised in Spring Lake, New Jersey. There S. Emily attended St. Margaret Elementary School and St. Rose High School in Belmar. In 1955, she entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph and began her long career as teacher, musician, and liturgist. S. Emily’s had a strong education in Music, and with a focus on Liturgical Music, she wrote that this “created a passion” in her allowing her to implement our Mission of Unity in her ministry. Integrating the passion with the practical, she admitted paying attention to the quality of the liturgical celebrations “… and the condition of the organ is important, too!”
In addition to her hidden personality, S. Emily exhibited a true sense of optimism often seeing the good in people and situations where others did not. This quiet, happy Sister of Saint Joseph practiced our “State of the Heart” exercise on a daily basis by deepening her bonds to others and especially to her God. This funeral liturgy, prepared by S. Emily herself, is her final sharing the state of her heart. Being the consummate liturgist, her handpicked hymns telling of her journey from “death until life her mystery revealed springs forth in joy.” She goes on to comment through song, “God has done great things for us…filled us with laughter and music,” and finally her hymns conclude, “He tells me I am his own.” Truly this gentle, humble, happy soul sings in the halls of heaven this day.
Emily admonished many of her peers “not to worry,” for she knows that a life spend uniting herself with the dear neighbor and with her God, through liturgy, is a true “state of the heart.” Sister believed that “to live with the Lord, we must die with the Lord.” Now Emily can be united and live with the Lord for all eternity.