Sr. Conception laid to rest in the grounds of the Carmelite Monastery

“There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long to live in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life.” (Psalm 27:4)

Jun 24, 2022

Franciscan Sisters paying their last respects to Carmelite Sr Conception before the funeral Mass, Carmelite Chapel, 13 June 2022. (Photo: John Lai)

By Ivy Chai

At 2.30pm on June 11, Catherine Yeo Choo Lian, consecrated name Sr Conception of the Holy Family, returned to the Lord in the “home” of the Lord she had lived in for over 64 years - the Carmelite Monastery.

Sr Conception had been suffering from ill health for many years, confined to a wheelchair and her bed in the Carmelite Infirmary. Parkinson’s disease caused her a lot of physical suffering, to the extent that she could be heard groaning from the excruciating pain and, in her last days, she had difficulty swallowing food.

The funeral Mass was held on June 13 in the Carmelite chapel, celebrated by Kuching Archbishop, Most Reverend Simon Poh and concelebrated by Archbishop Emeritus John Ha, Fr Larry Tan SJ, and Fr Adrian Kho. It was also live streamed on the You- Tube channel of the Archdiocese of Kuching. In offering his condolences to Mother Prioress Margaret and the sisters of Carmel, family members and friends of Sr Conception, Archbishop Simon said she “had lived the longest within the walls of the Carmelite Monastery.” She had lived there since she entered the monastery as a young girl of 17 years on Jan 12, 1958, fresh from completing her MCE exams. The Carmelite chapel had been “the love and foundation of her spiritual life.” The Carmelite vocation was Sr Conception’s first and only love, and she remained faithful to the Lord, “living behind the cloistered walls of this Monastery, receiving Holy Communion right to the very last days of her life,” the archbishop disclosed.

The Lord fulfilled Sr Conception’s only desire… that when the time came, she would not die in hospital but in the Carmelite Monastery.

In his homily, Archbishop Simon said: “This verse is echoed in Psalm 27:4 ‘There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long, to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.’ Today, St Paul assures us with the 2nd Letter to the Corinthians 5:1 ‘We know that when the tent we live in on earth is folded up, there is a house built by God for us, an everlasting home…in the heavens.’ Sr Conception lived by faith and surrendered herself totally into the hands of her Lord.”

Archbishop Simon said he would fulfil her wish “by burying her remains in the cemetery at the Carmelite Monastery, the only home that she had known, loved and lived in.” He said, by commending her body to the earth, “may the Lord open the gates to paradise to welcome His faithful sister.” Sr Conception of the Holy Family, aged 81, was buried in the Carmelite Monastery cemetery with only priests, altar servers, Carmelite sisters and Franciscan sisters allowed to accompany her to her final resting place within the walls of the “home” she had lived in for over 60 years. May her soul rest in eternal peace.--Today's Catholic

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