My mom sent me this picture today asking if I knew who she was. Since there are many older people from my youth who have been passing over the past couple of years, I thought this was someone who had died recently.
Although she looked very familiar and my memory was she had already passed a long time ago, I asked my mom who she was. When she said Sister Benyi, many good feeling memories came to mind.
Sister Benyi, as she was known to everyone, was already very old when I was young and knew her. I don’t have specific memories of her. I do have specific memories of feelings, of how good she was to our family. She didn’t speak English well as Hungarian was her first language—she had immigrated from Hungary.
She came to America around 1913. As with many immigrants, life was not easy, but she and her family weathered the storm as many immigrants had to do, including the death of her daughter at an early age. Those life experiences didn’t dampen her spirit though, nor her faith.
When I was around her, and I remember her as being a quiet soul, I knew I was loved. She cared greatly for anyone who came within her orbit. I don’t ever remember her raising her voice, and she was always ready to give you a moment of her time.
It is interesting how I don’t have any specific memories of her, although pie keeps coming to mind and that she loved to eat (which may explain the context of the picture), I do have distinct memories of how she made me feel. In the end, I think I would rather have those memories of being loved and cared for over any specific event.
Rest well Sister Benyi. If I’m lucky, I’ll get to personally thank you at some point in my future for your many kindnesses.