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Eileen George remembered for her love, virtue, healing ministry

Posted By July 6, 2017 | 6:00 am | Featured Article #2
Father Jay A. Finelli, one of two board members of Eileen George’s Meet-the-Father Ministry, prepares to lead the congregation in a prayer asking her intercession. Her photo is on the back of the prayer card. He was leading a memorial service in her honor Sunday at St. John Church in Worcester, where she held monthly healing services.

Photo by TANYA CONNOR | CFP
Father Jay A. Finelli, one of two board members of Eileen George’s Meet-the-Father Ministry, prepares to lead the congregation in a prayer asking her intercession. Her photo is on the back of the prayer card. He was leading a memorial service in her honor Sunday at St. John Church in Worcester, where she held monthly healing services. Photo by TANYA CONNOR | CFP

By Tanya Connor | The Catholic Free Press

A laywoman known for her healing ministry locally and across the world was remembered in a memorial service Sunday. Her possible canonization is already being talked about, and a prayer seeking her intercession was distributed.
Eilleen George, of St. Brigid Parish in Millbury, was popular for her healing services and retreats, especially priests’ retreats. But people close to her also appreciated her holiness and humanity. She herself wanted to be known for her love for God.
Those fond of Mrs. George shared stories about her Sunday at St. John Church in Worcester. The service, which drew several dozen people, mirrored the monthly teaching and healing services she conducted there for years as part of her Meet-the-Father Ministry. She held them the fourth Sunday of the month, the last one this past February, as she was too sick in March and April, one of her helpers said.
At her services she would teach about God and call out who was being healed of what ailment. Since she died May 14 at age 90, her followers held this service in her memory. It included the usual eucharistic exposition, Benediction and songs, but also stories about her. Additional stories were shared with The Catholic Free Press at the reception afterwards.
“God used Eileen to give us deeper roots of faith,” to come into a close relationship with God instead of just following rules, said Janet Estelle, who came from New Jersey with her husband, Robert, for Sunday’s service.
“She was amazing,” said Mrs. George’s daughter Earline Monahan, who attended her healing services here and in Italy, one of the other countries in which her mother ministered. But, “when she was home, she was Mom.”
A book put out by the ministry, “Eileen George Beacon of God’s Love: Her Teaching,” says priests began coming to her for advice in the 1950s, she joined St. John’s prayer group in 1974 and the ministry was formed in 1982 with Worcester Bishop Timothy J. Harrington’s blessing. After she gave a successful teaching and healing service in Norwich, Conn., she began giving monthly teaching and healing services at St. John’s.
Years ago, Mrs. George’s spiritual director, Trappist Father Raphael Simon, now deceased, predicted great things would come from the ministry. Father Jay A. Finelli,  a board member of Meet-the-Father Ministry and pastor of the Church of the Holy Ghost in Tiverton, R.I., said that Father Simon told him, “Someday you’ll be in charge of her cause of canonization.”
Father Simon, who lived at St. Joseph Abbey in Spencer, didn’t say why, but knew of Mrs. George’s  virtue, Father Finelli said.
“Everybody looks at the miracles,” Father Finelli said of the woman who predicted healings, some of which were said to take place as she called them out in her services. (Some people also said they smelled roses when in her presence, though she wore no perfume.)
“But her virtue was tremendous,” Father Finelli continued. “The thing that struck me about Eileen was, she was human. She could laugh and cry. She could get mad. She forgave.… God transforms us, makes us more real.” He said Mrs. George wanted to be known not for healings but as someone “madly in love with God.”6-30 eileen_1384
That love relationship apparently included intimate conversations with, and experiences of, the Trinity. Father Finelli said that Father Simon had Mrs. George repeat what God told her while she was in ecstasy, as he recorded it. He interviewed her afterwards. These things are published in a series of books called “Eileen George’s Conversations in Heaven.” Father Finelli recalled Father Simon saying that he knew of no one else in “our time” who had mystical union with all three Persons of the Trinity.
The centerpiece of Mrs. George’s ministry is returning to the sacraments, Father Finelli said. Confession, and silence and solitude for prayer, are important. He did not call out healings at Sunday’s service, but suggested that healing can come through the Eucharist.
He said the board needs to make decisions about the future of the services.
The only other board member, Msgr. Richard E. Collette, a retired priest of the diocese, wasn’t there Sunday. He told The Catholic Free Press later about Mrs. George’s annual priests’ retreats in Putnam, Conn., and Still River and her weekly talks to priests at St. John’s, which he enjoyed.
“She could tell you the name of your guardian angel,” he said. And she predicted church problems, some of which later happened.
She looked forward to going to heaven, where she had seen flowers and colors she hadn’t seen on earth, he said. She said she wouldn’t be in heaven because of her ministry, but for doing her duty as a wife and mother.
Father Finelli said he was at a loss Sunday because Father James J. Caldarella, minister to priests in the Worcester Diocese and a longtime friend of Mrs. George, was supposed to speak, but was sick.
So Father Finelli talked about Mrs. George and had other priests and a layman do so.
“What am I in for?” Father Finelli thought, upon first seeing her. But “she was on fire, and after that there was no turning back” for him.
“She did a lot for us priests,” he said. Sometimes she’d tell them everything about themselves – even before they said anything.
Father Edward Rama, of the Diocese of Paterson in New Jersey, said he learned from her “to work at loving.”
Charles Lord, of Prince of Peace Parish in Princeton, said he helped Mrs. George at St. John’s in gratitude for healings he received.
Father Phillip J. Sladicka, of the Pennsylvania Diocese of Scranton, said it took him seven hours to get here for Sunday’s service. He said Mrs. George gave retreats at his parish from 1988-1997 and visited nearby prisons, where she experienced God’s presence.
“She loved to go to flea markets,” he told The Catholic Free Press. “She was a delightful presence. She had loads of wonderful stories; she talked about her family.”
Joyce Thomasmeyer, who runs Mary House in Spencer for private retreats, said Mrs. George told her about being taken to a restaurant. Embarrassed by belly dancers, she started doodling on a napkin. When the chef came to meet her, he found that she was writing Arabic, and didn’t realize it. It was a prophecy for him.
Joseph Boustani of Blackstone, who attends Tridentine Masses, said he went to many of Mrs. George’s services, which she led despite her own sickness. It was a blessing to be there, adoring the Blessed Sacrament, listening to her evangelize, he said.
“She showed us how to love God … and to call him Daddy God,” he said. He said he never heard a priest talk about God like she did.
“The Holy Spirit really guided her,” he said. “She knew her place in the Church – as a layperson. She always respected the authority of the Church. She really fulfilled her mission to the hilt.… The laity needed someone like that.” He expressed hope that God will send more people like her.
Sunday a prayer seeking her intercession was prayed, a practice employed by people hoping for someone’s canonization. Father Finelli said he wrote the prayer, Bishop McManus approved it and it has been translated into several languages.
Prayer cards were distributed, the congregation prayed it, and Father Finelli had it read in Korean. Mrs. George loved the Korean people, he said. South Korea was among countries where she ministered.
“Most loving Father, in Your loving design, you raised up Eileen George to a deep and intimate union with your Godhead, and revealed to her the mysteries of your Kingdom,” the prayer says. “She inspired souls to thirst for holiness,” and promised to obtain graces for others when she reached heaven.
A place is provided for personal requests sought through her intercession. The prayer card says to report favors to: Meet-the-Father Ministry, 363 Greenwood St., Millbury, MA 01527.