Sunday, September 21, was the tenth anniversary of Daria Donnelly's death. She is included in this month's "Blessed Among Us," section of Give Us this Day (Liturgical Press).

Daria was a wonderful colleague at Commonweal and a sometime guest at our dinner table. Before she became ill, she traveled weekly to and from Boston to work with us. She was a great poetry reader and lover. Her memorial card capture that and her spirit. It simply read, Dear Martha—Called Back—Emily, from Emily Dickinson's last letter.

She told Commonweal readers of her illness here.

The Editors wrote this in October 2004.

After the jump, a poem about Daria by Tiina Aleman, Commonweal's production editor.



ten years later

in memory of daria donnelly


i haven't let myself think about you very often these past ten years,

but a picture of your smiling face hangs in my office,

and your address is still in my book.

you asked me to pray a metta for you,

and because i'm slightly buddhist, i did.

who was i praying to? : anyone who might be listening.

how young is too young? : forty five is too young.

so, i kept on praying that metta

even after you were no longer well or free from suffering.

yet, you were always, right to the end, filled with loving kindness,

and as ravaged as you were—you were still happy.

i was mystified by the matter-of-factness of your powerful faith.

it just was the case. no question. no doubt. no recrimination.

and you kept your sense of humor and irony.

you said you wanted your epitaph to read:

'never tasted coca cola'

i wondered then, and i wonder now : how is that possible?

                                                                    —Tiina Aleman

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

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