"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

In Memoriam Ros, "Shadowlands"

It was a shock last week when I found out a blogger who I considered a friend (never met in person of course, but I consider all the bloggers I comment regularly my friends) passed away in September.  I had a special attachment to Ros, otherwise known as Shadowlands, from the title of her blog, “Living In the Shadowlands.”  Ros’s brother Steve set up a special Tribute Blog to announce her passing.

Ros was the first Catholic blogger I followed and she was integral to my journey back to my faith.  I was certainly at the time striving to return but even before I lapsed I would only consider myself nominally religious.  Ros showed me a path, and with the help of others, I have continued on that path to where I can consider myself fairly devout.  What I really appreciated about Ros was that she wasn’t strident on rules.  It was love of God and Jesus Christ that was most important and letting that love draw you to Him. 

I have to say I loved her blog.  She knew how to keep it interesting.  There are certain bloggers I keep mental note that they have achieved a high level of blogging craft.  Ros was most definitely one.  On the same day she could have a blog on faith, usually a video clip, a blog on current events of the Church, a blog on striving to overcome some suffering, usually connected to her personal problems, and a blog on Christian music.  She taught me to appreciate contemporary Christian music.  I used to kid her that she had an encyclopedic (or something to that effect, I can’t remember the exact words I used) knowledge of Christian music, beyond just the Catholic classics and usual Protestant hymns.  I think she mentioned, despite being Catholic, she had affection for Baptist and charismatic denominations.  I used to kid her that her musical selections were causing me to spend money to fill up my ipod.

I have to mention this.  I remember one Lent season she wrote a little short story about the Holy Week events narrated from the point of view of the donkey that Jesus rode on Palm Sunday.  She called it “A Donkey’s Testimony.”  It was so cute.  I wound up writing about it at the other place I blog, J’s Café Nette.   I wish I had copied the entire piece into that blog, but I only quoted the first paragraph and linked to Ros’s blog so as to not plagiarize.  However in my comments section I did quote my favorite paragraph from the story in a reply to my fellow blogger, Sue.  So I have preserved two paragraphs from her story, and these are Ros’s words.

The opening paragraph:

My grandfather always told us of the very great event that had happened many years earlier, when the King’s Mother had required our assistance in bringing her safely to the stable, for her precious child to be born. As you can imagine, we donkey’s were overwhelmed that the great God would choose to use one of us, for such an immense task. At first, Grandfather recalled, we resisted and thought there must be some mistake, surely a fine stallion would be preferable and much more appropriate? But no, it was confirmed, we were His first choice, and would remain so, whilst He remained on earth and stories would be told of this for centuries to come, until the end of the world as we know it, but the gospel would always include testimony to our service to Jesus...

 And my favorite paragraph: 

The point of me, a lowly donkey, daring to share this testimony, is for anyone, who may feel faraway from the King, due to their own personal view of their ‘smallness’ or ‘unimportance’. The Jesus I met and carried will be looking at you, right where you are now, and in His mind, He does not see an insignificant life. He sees you as someone for whom He has a divine and eternal plan . As He placed stars into the sky, He also, at the same time, imagined you as part of a complete creation. If you were not here, the rest of eternity would be incomplete. You make up a vital part of what was/is/ and shall be. Never mind how the world you live in today sees you. Jesus Christ is your definer, no one else, although they might seek to categorize you, their judgments will fade like flowers very soon. Only His words endure, so read them, read what they say about you, and then hear Him ask you: “Who do you say that I am?”

 Ros was special.  I don’t know a lot of details of her life (I remember her mentioning her sons quite often) but I do know she suffered.  I do know of her alcoholism and her attempts to break it.  She used to publicly revile herself in such a harsh way when she succumbed, and there was no consoling her.  Somehow I suspected her life’s suffering may have gone beyond the alcoholism, but I’m not privy to anything.  She did away with her “Living In the Shadowlands” blog, and I never understood why.  She would periodically wipe her history out.  I remember just before her blog disappeared she was irate with someone over an argument and then she wiped her blog out, though I’m not sure if those two events were related.  I just found she had started a new blog, “Fire of Their Love.”  I wish I knew.  I would have followed her over.   The new blog looks similar to the old.  She has that “Pray the Rosary” link on her new blog as she had on the old, and she carried over the black background with the white font.  I got a kick of her “About Me” blogger user profile.  There she asks the question, “If you were a wrestler, what would be your finishing move?” which is some sort of stock question that goes around.  Ros’s answer: “A prayer, for the loser.” 

Two things I learned from her brother’s tribute blog.  One, Ros’s full first name was Rosalind, a fitting name since it’s the same as one of Shakespeare’s most likable and attractive female characters from “As You Like It.    I wonder if she knew that.  Second, she and I were the same age, born in 1961.  In many ways she was the teacher and I was the acolyte.  When I started this blog, just less than two months ago, I thought of Ros.  I had so hoped she would find her way here and either give me some tips or pat me on the back.  Well, I had no idea she had already passed on.

I post this memorial to Ros in lieu of my regular Music Tuesday blog, not because I’m not going to post any music, but because I am.  I think that would honor my memory of Ros best.  In Christ Alone”  was certainly one of her favorite songs.  When she introduced me to it, I was blown away, and I remember having a conversation with her over it.  She posted the song, this version by Adrienne Liesching and Geoff Moore set to scenes from the movie “The Passion of the Christ,” a few times, so I know she liked it.  Of all the versions I have heard, I like this the best.  I’m not sure if Ros picked it for this musical arrangement or for the scenes from the movie, but every time I hear the song I think of Ros.




No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

[Lyric excerpt from here.]                                      

Those words are so applicable to Ros.  It’s as if she’s speaking them.  Well she  is finally at peace.  I will miss her.  Eternal rest in Christ my friend.


  1. Wow. I only recently heard via Joyce and Terry about Ros's passing. I only knew of her kind of secondhand, I may have commented on her blog. I will add her to my prayers! She seems like a lovely person.
    I love the song! I have only ever watched the movie once.
    A beautiful testimony to her, Manny.

  2. She died so young! Peace be with her. I have never read her blog, but it sounds lovely.

  3. I remember that blog at J's, Manny.

    Sorry to hear of the passing of your blogging friend. May she Rest in Peace.

  4. Manny - Beautiful tribute - thanks for letting me know you posted this.

  5. A moving and beautiful tribute Manny. I learned some things about Ros I didn't know before, and I'm so glad you posted from "The Donkey's Testimony" as I apparently missed that when Ros first published it. May she rest in peace. Joyce

  6. Thank you all. She was a sweet soul.

  7. Manny....you and I have never met, but we share a love for our friend Ros. I will never forget her. Ros, someday I hope to embrace you my friend.

    1. Thank you GMS. I think of Ros every so often. Bless her.

  8. I am so sorry to hear of Shadowlands/Ros passing. May she rest in peace. Prayers for her.

    God bless you, Manny.

    1. Thank you. God bless her on this All Souls Day.

  9. Thank you for telling us about Ros. I had such a soft spot for her and will be praying for the repose of her soul. Your tribute to her is beautiful and I agree...Ros was special.