EastertideDebbie Durbin | April 21, 2022
-From The Magnificat Magazine, an article about our foundress, Rosemarie O’Sullivan.
by Anne Husted Burleigh
Our friend Rosemarie died on April 19, during Eastertide. Accepting her terminal diagnosis, she had expected to go before Christmas-but the Lord said no. Then she thought maybe January or February-but again no. Then Lent or Holy Week, in a Passover to a new revelation of eternal life. Still no.
Instead it was Eastertide, that heady, vibrant, bustling, dramatic forty-day stretch between the Easter Sunday Resurrection of Christ and his Ascension into heaven. First, the empty tomb; then the startling appearances to Mary Magdalene, to Peter and John, to Thomas; to the disciples on the Emmaus road; to the apostles fishing in early morning off the shore of Lake Tiberias: the divine drama crackles in scene after scene, stunning evidence that the kingdom is here among us, fulfilled and on the move.
It was a grand time for Rosemarie to bid adieu. A grande dame herself, Rosemarie had both the aplomb of an Irish New Yorker, Catholic from the cradle, and the fierce heart of a mother who spent her life defending pre-born and newborn babies. Forty years ago Rosemarie and her husband, an evangelist in his own right, together with a small band of courageous friends, founded a crisis pregnancy center in Cincinnati. Beginning four decades ago in a cramped suite adjoining a parish rectory, Rosemarie and Declan and their fellow servants of the sanctity of life have saved hundreds of babies and their mothers, expanding the center finally into a full-service apostolate for life.
Exuberantly gracious and capable as she was, fearless in her defense of tiny lives, Rosemarie drew her strength not from herself but from Jesus and Mary, whom she loved with utter devotion. She looked forward, as ever in Eastertide, to another annual banquet for life at the pregnancy center. But this time it was time. One week before the banquet, Rosemarie died. It was 4 AM; the Lord called, and Rosemarie said yes.
Anne Husted Burleigh is a long-time writer for Catholic journals. She and her husband live in Cincinnati near their children and grandchildren. They are members of the Dominican laity. Anne also serves on the board at Pregnancy Center East.