In a special way, November is a time where the Catholic Church honours and remembers our loved ones who have died and entered into eternal life. It seems also to be an appropriate time to remember, honour and pray for our loved Dove sisters who have died. This is a special tribute to one of those women upon whose shoulders we stand.
Marrion Stewart died on 2nd September this year. Many of us who knew Marrion were privileged to be part of celebrating her life at her Requiem Mass on 5th September at her home parish of St Mary’s in Papakura.
Marrion had served 2 years on the Board of Women’s Aglow when she responded to the call to be part of a team to establish what is now known as Dove Catholic Fellowship for Women.
Marrion was a woman with great patience who listened to the Holy Spirit and used her anointed gift of prophecy in wisdom and love. Marrion was one of the foundation stones to a ministry that has touched an untold number of women over more than 30 years. Hundreds of women could testify to the ministry received through the loving arms of this beautiful daughter of the King of Kings.
Despite (and perhaps because of) of her own personal struggles and suffering, she selflessly gave of herself to others in prayer ministry, words of wisdom and counsel and prophetic words given in times of great need. It is through Marrion’s ministry that many of us were birthed into ministry – the word birthed is appropriate as Marrion laboured and travailed in prayer for so many women.
Marrion was also an amazing teacher with a strong knowledge and love of God’s word (Holy Scripture). That word would come alive in the hearts of those she ministered to, including words of correction that were always timely and spoken in love.
Her funeral service was a true testimony to the love and esteem in which she was held with women travelling long distances to attend her funeral. The following is a tribute to Marrion given by Irene Oosterhof on the day which is a beautiful reflection on a dear friend and companion to many –
“Good afternoon, my name is Irene Oosterhof. I stand here today to pay homage to one of the most beautiful souls who has been a part of my life for 23 years! Marrion Stewart – Beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother and my spiritual mother who has been a constant in my life. I met Marrion at my first Dove Retreat at Eastern Beach. What stood out for me was Marrion’s humility.
Through her ministry in Women’s Aglow and subsequently Dove, Marrion encouraged, mentored, taught, equipped and touched many women’s lives throughout New Zealand. And she did that successfully because she was faithful to the Lord.
If I called her when I was under attack, she would say “No, no we’re not having that”and she would speak the Word of God against it. That calmed me down. She was always positive and many a time her prayers have turned things around for me.
Her hospitality knew no bounds! Her home became a ‘hub’ for us women who constantly walked through her door. Some hungry women would make their own snacks and coffee while they chatted to her. That’s how comfortable we all felt in Marrion’s home.
She leaves a legacy not just to her family, but to others who are the family of Christ. Her passion and faithfulness to her faith in Jesus is what we all remember Marrion for.
I praise and thank God for putting Marrion in my path. Today, I celebrate Marrion’s new life with God in Heaven”.