Dominican Sister of Peace Catherine Platt, OP, died at Mount Carmel East Hospital (Columbus, OH) on Wednesday, November 18, 2015. She was born in 1951 in Philadelphia, PA. In 1979 she entered the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de’ Ricci, now the Dominican Sisters of Peace. She made her first profession of vows in 1982. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Religious Studies from Villanova University, Villanova, PA.
Sr. Cathy served on the retreat staff at retreat houses in McLean, VA, Kendall, FL, and Elkins Park, PA. She also ministered at the health care facility, St. Catherine Hall, in Elkins Park, PA.
Sr. Barbara Ebner, OP, reflected on the life of her friend:
Today we celebrate the life of our sister, Cathy Platt. Cathy and I traveled through religious life together. For both of us, an exciting aspect of becoming Dominican Sisters of Peace was reconnecting with others who had already been part of our journey. These included Srs. Joanne Caniglia, Margaret Ormond, Charlotte Brungardt, Barbara Lolli, Rita Birzer, Joan Scanlon and the late Teri Wall.
For her funeral Cathy chose the songs: “How Can I Keep from Singing” and “Canticle of the Sun.” Through these choices I think she is telling us, “CELEBRATE! I am in a better place. I love you. And if you find yourself wanting to dance as you sing the ‘Canticle of the Sun,’ that’s okay. Go for it.”
Today we celebrate the new life Cathy is experiencing. I spent some time trying to come up with an image for Cathy. There were so many layers to her. After sorting through several images of layers – onions, layer cake, geological layers of Earth, I finally chose the layering of clothing. When we are unsure of weather conditions or the heating/air conditioning in buildings, we dress in layers.
Our outer layer is visible to everyone but, depending on the temperature, the layer closest to our heart may never be seen or only seen by a few.
Cathy wore several layers, and she carefully guarded the layer closest to her heart. We sometimes got glimpses of that layer, but it was difficult for Cathy to share. However, we can see her inner heart in the music she chose. The threads that I noticed in the songs include love, joy, celebration of relationships and trust in God.
Cathy loved her family, her friends, her cousins, her sisters in community. She was especially close to her dad. His sudden death in 1980 was a profound loss for her.
Cathy loved our senior sisters with whom she lived and ministered at St. Catherine Hall in Elkins Park. She delighted in picking out just the right card for someone’s birthday. She also enjoyed times of fun, silliness and celebration, including feast day celebrations, socials during congregational meetings, our final profession and our 25th jubilee celebration.
Cathy experienced both physical and emotional struggles. Over the years these became more pronounced and harder to deal with. Cathy responded by becoming more reclusive.
But today, Cathy is no longer struggling and she tells us, “Celebrate!”
In the Gospel reading Jesus says to his disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” These are the words Cathy wants us to hear today. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Celebrate! Know that I am looking out for you. I am helping prepare places for you in my new home.”
In the opening song we hear: “Love is Lord of heaven and Earth.” The second reading proclaims that nothing will separate us from the love of God. In her heart of hearts, in the layer that we didn’t often see, Cathy was about love. Cathy at her best was loving and caring and generous.
“The heavens are telling the glory of God and all creation is shouting for joy. Come, dance in the forest, come play in the field and sing, sing to the glory of the Lord.” This refrain from the closing song tells us how Cathy would like to be remembered: a woman in love with God and with nature, a woman who wanted to play and sing and dance, a woman shouting about the glory of God.
I will remember Cathy in the words of Isaiah from the first reading: I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord. My God is now my strength. I can Cathy smiling, even glowing, and with an impish twinkle in her eyes. She is happy, and she is well.
We give thanks for the gift of Cathy. We rejoice in the freedom she is experiencing in her new home, and we continue to celebrate!
Sr. Cathy was preceded in death by her parents, Addison and Catharine Crossin Platt. She is survived by her sister, Sr. Susan Platt, IHM and a cousin, Nancy Donahue.
Services were held at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse in Columbus, OH, on November 20 and 21. Burial will take place at a later date at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Philadelphia, PA.
Memorial gifts in Sr. Catherine’s memory may be submitted securely online or mailed to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr, Columbus, OH 43219.