Rose Bouche's daughter,
Catherine Nan Provost
April 18, 1917 and
November 26, 2005
Pictured below are Louise Matzner (Lawrence's Neice), Mike Provost holding
a grandchild by one of his daughters; Stepanie or Jenifer.
That's Billy right of Mike. His son Justin, is 15 and pictured right of Billy. Another Provost Neice, Pauline Cullison, rounds out the group.
What follows is the Homily given by Father Tom Connolly
at the Holy Family Catholic Church, Clarkston Washington.
Wis. 3:1-6,9; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; ~TN 12:13-18
When I die, give what is left of me to children. If you need to cry, cry
for your brothers and sisters walking beside you.
Put your arms around anyone and give them what you need to give me. I
want to leave you with something, something better than words or sounds.
Look for me in the people I have known and loved.
And if you cannot live without me, then let me live on in your eyes, your
mind and your acts of kindness.
You can love me most by letting hands touch hands and letting go of
children that need to be free.
Love does not die, people do. So when all that is left of me is love... Give
I start this homily with this poem, because from what I have been told
about Catherine these words seem to truly epitomize her. I guess you could
say that Catherine was a simple lady who lived her life loving, and giving to
the people who were important to her, and I am sure she would want us to
continue following her example.
We come here today not to mourn the passing of Catherine Nan
Provost, a mother, sister, grand mother, great grand mother, sister-in-law,
aunt, teacher, and friend but to celebrate her life. A
life that most assuredly
continues on at a much higher and more joyful realm. A realm where
Catherine's illness, and the challenges it brought her no longer holds her
captive. A realm where her love for all will continue on, a realm where she
will be with you where ever you are.
Catherine's love for life was made known through her love for her
husband of 50 years Lawrence, and their two sons, William and Michael.
This love also extended to her grandchildren, Jennifer, Stephanie, Justine,
Ryan and Kayla and continued with her two great grandsons, Orion (oryan)
and Liam and her great granddaughter even though she may not have been
totally aware that she was on her way. It also included her sister Toni and
her life long friends Marvin and Dorothy. And went to all the friends ofher
children and grand children who called her grandma, and finally to all the
students she ever had.
Catherine started life on April 18, 1917 in Butte Montana, being born
to John and Rose Koppes. The family made their way to Asotin, and
Catherine would attend high school there, before going off to college
attending both Eastern Washington University and Washington State.
Receiving a degree in education. Following college Catherine's
military and had to go to war.
Catherine would return home from California and pick up where she
had left off. She wanted to teach and she found a job doing just that with in
the Peola School District, and then the Garfield School District. Finally she
was hired by the Tammany School District. She taught for over thirty years
most ofthe time in third grade but she also taught fourth grade as well.
Catherine loved every moment of it. Some of Catherine's greatest pleasures
came from meeting former students while she was out shopping, she was
always glad to see them.
In 1954 Catherine was set up on a blind date with a young man from
Lewiston named Lawrence Provost and they hit it off right away. Shortly
after meeting Lawrence asked Catherine if she wanted to marry him, and she
replied when in three weeks. He was thinking more along the lines of six
months, but three weeks later they drove up to Moscow in Catherine's car
and were married. There was nothing that Lawrence would not do for
Catherine he was so in love with her and she with him. In fact I understand
they loved each other just as much when they were in their eighties as they
did the day they were married. Even when Catherine became ill Lawrence
took care of her at home as long as he could. He said
a sick wife was better
than no wife at all. This was true love. On September 18, 2004 they
celebrated their 50" wedding anniversary and had a great day, but sadly this
would also be the beginning of the end.
Now if Lawrence was Catherine's world than Bill and Michael were
the center ofthat world. She loved her sons. I understand that once
Lawrence and Catherine bought a horse and a man came up to them and told
them that the horse would kill Bill. Well they had bought the horse already
and so they took it home. Lawrence had to go to work so he told Catherine
not to let Bill near the horse until he got home from work. Well no sooner
had he left for work than Catherine had the horse saddled up and Bill upon
it. Catherine had Bill riding the horse in no time and he continued to ride it
around the house until his dad came home from work. But you see
Catherine loved animals especially horses, and she loved to ride. She would
never do anything to hurt her son but she knew horses and was not afraid of
working with them with her son. Whenever she got the chance she would go
out riding, she also loved being able to go riding with Lawrence.
Catherine was also quite the painter, she loved to paint and from the
sounds ofit there was no subject matter that she would not attempt to paint.
On one occasion the family took a trip to the Glacier National Park and
Catherine took a picture ofthe Highway ofthe Sun. Well
when she got
home and had the picture developed she decided to use it as one ofher
subjects and painted a picture ofthe Highway ofthe Sun. She also used
photos she took on trips to the Oregon coast as subject matter for her
seascapes. With painting Catherine knew she had been given a gift and also
she knew how to use it.
Catherine as you know was a Catholic and she was always a very faith
filled woman. She was a member ofthe Catholic Daughters and loved
attending their meetings as she did the Bible study group that she belonged
to. You know there were many things that Catherine did that made her
special and the life she lived extraordinary, but it is her ability to love and
care for people that truly stand out. This love was a true and pure imitation
of God's love for her. It is the promised salvation of which we heard about
in the First Reading from the Book of Wisdom: "Those who trust in Him
shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with Him in love." It is
through and with this love that Catherine has achieved the promised
salvation of Heaven. Salvation that Jesus Christ won for each one of us
through His suffering and death upon the cross for our sins.
I believe that Catherine knew what it meant to walk by faith, and even
in these last years when she was trapped inside this body unable to truly
communicate as Alzheimer's rob her ofthis ability and
things really became
God. That's why Catherine's life so clearly reflects the second reading from
Paul's first Letter to the Thessalonians. As a life long Catholic Catherine
had a very strong and firm relationship with God. 'VVhich throughout her life
only grew stronger. She knew hope in her life, the hope that had been
promised to her as a child of God. Catherine understood and believed: "That
Jesus died and rose, and so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him
those who have fallen asleep." You see my brothers and sisters Catherine
was not afraid to fall asleep, for she knew that she would always be with the
Lord. For it is as we heard in the Gospel from St. John: "Whoever serves
me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be."
Catherine is that grain ofwheat which has fallen to the ground and died, and
has produced much fruit.
She knew what it was to have the newness oflife in Jesus Christ, and
she was willing to be united with Christ in His death so that she could also
be united to Him in His resurrection. In her resurrection Catherine has
overcome Alzheimer's; for she has won her battle and no longer has to fight
the pains and sufferings she knew on earth for it has passed away.
It may seem difficult to fully grasp but I believe that Catherine was
living in union with Christ as she willingly accepted
the pains and struggles
of her life with joy for love of Christ. Just as Christ had willingly taken the
cross upon His shoulders and carried it to Calvary to be crucified and die
upon it for Catherine. So to could Catherine take her pains and struggles for
love of Jesus Christ. It is in her being united to Christ so closely in this
relationship that her life truly became an imitation of Christ life and love.
Even though we know within our hearts that Catherine is in a better
place free finally ofher human pains and sufferings, we ourselves may still
be filled with pain and sorrow because ofher passing. But let us realize that
God is with us through it all. That is why the Pascal Candle stands here next
to the Catherine's casket, to remind us of God's undying presence among us,
and Christ victory over sin and death. As we celebrate Catherine's life we
bring into this ceremony several symbols that give us cause for
remembrance. As I started this service I sprinkled Catherine's casket with
Holy Water to remind us of her baptism. Her sons then placed a white Pall
over the casket to remind us ofher baptismal clothes. It is also more
importantly to remind us that in God eyes we are all equal. A crucifix has
been placed on the casket to remind us that in Baptism Catherine was
marked with the sign ofher faith, it is through Jesus' suffering on the cross
that our sins have been forgiven, and through His resurrection our promised
resurrection on the last day. Later in this service I
will incense Catherine's
Casket as a sign of our prayers rising up to the throne of God on her behalf.
And also more importantly to recall that as a child of God, Catherine's body
was also a temple ofthe Lord. So you see we have not come here today to
mourn Catherine's passing but to celebrate her life. A life that has been
lived and a life that has been entered into. A life that has been guaranteed to
her and to each of us through the joyous victory Jesus won over death, by
His glorious resurrection. As baptized children of God we share in that
In faith then let us give thanks to God for the life, which He had given
to us and which has now returned to Him. As we now prepare to celebrate
the Holy Eucharist here upon the altar of the lord let us remember that it is
Jesus Christ who life, death and resurrection we celebrate. And it is Jesus
Christ who has lead Catherine to the Eternal Banquet in Heaven and we pray
that one-day we will be reunited with her there. Until that time though let us
recall all the joy and happiness and love Catherine filled our lives with.
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