Audrey Hughes, Funeral Oration

Audrey Patricia Hughes


 Resurrection KhoreFuneral Oration, Stella Maris Church, Beaumaris,

 Fr John Dupuche

Audrey’s life has come to an end. Audrey’s life is just beginning.

The staff of Monash Medical Centre could do no more. Her mortal remains have been brought here to Stella Maris Church and placed before the altar. Her family, who went to see her every day, have now brought her before the altar and have given her into the hands of the One who alone can do something for her. They can do no more; they entrust her to the One who can do everything.

Audrey is placed now where the gifts of bread and wine will be brought. With them we offer her to God. ‘Receive her into your care. She comes from you and now she returns to you. Take care of her and transform her as you will transform the gifts of bread and wine. Restore her, change her, and bring her to that fullness of which her mortal life was only the symbol. Her life was valuable to us; may she be valuable to you. She was good to us; may she be judged good in your eyes.’

To those who did not know her she may have seemed just a ship passing in the night. To those who did know she showed a remarkable capacity for friendship which made people feel they were understood and welcomed. From her arrival in Beaumaris in 1959 she was involved in the parish in a host of ways, in fetes, in the tennis club, in the support of the Presentation Sisters. She was interested about everyone and everything in the world. But what about the moments of grace of which she was aware, dimly or perhaps even strongly, those moments of enlightenment and fervour which no words can express? These deepest moments were the unique gift to her from the One whom we dare call ‘Father’. They above all are the source of her life.

Audrey’s life has come to an end. Audrey’s life is just beginning.

We are at a moment of transition. Audrey’s mortal remains will be taken from the church and placed in the ground, not cast away but lying there as treasure in the field. She is put to rest in the earth, for a little while. It is the Christian conviction that she will be rediscovered, that treasure in the field, and raised, no longer mortal or limited. She is dead, yes, but in fact she is profoundly alive, like the seed that falls to the earth. She is made from dust and returns to dust but, by her baptism and by the moments of grace given to her, she is in fact eternally alive. The life of grace that is within her will restore her . What was mortal will be immortal, what was feeble will rise in boundless strength.

Therefore we ask her to be with us and to pray for us and to lead us to deeper knowledge. May she mother us in this way. At the moment of her death may she make us understand the purpose of our lives. And so we shall live, and live with her, in God.

About interfaithashram

Rev. Dr. John Dupuche is a Roman Catholic Priest, a senior lecturer at MCD University of Divinity, and Honorary Fellow at Australian Catholic University. His doctorate is in Sanskrit in the field of Kashmir Shaivism. He is chair of the Catholic Interfaith Committee of the Archdiocese of Melbourne and has established a pastoral relationship with the parishes of Lilydale and Healesville. He is the author of 'Abhinavagupta: the Kula Ritual as elaborated in chapter 29 of the Tantraloka', 2003; 'Jesus, the Mantra of God', 2005; 'Vers un tantra chrétien' in 2009; translated as 'Towards a Christian Tantra' in 2009. He has written many articles. He travels to India each year. He lives in an interfaith ashram.
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