On January 14, I conducted Elizabeth Ann Young’s funeral. I first met Betty in the early ‘90’s when I was helping in the formation of deacons and lay ministers and came periodically to her class on the Rosebud. In time, Betty was commissioned as a lay minister. She served as sacristan, brought Communion to the homebound and sick, and led the rosary at wake services, but her greatest desire was to pass her faith on to future generations. Upon obtaining bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, she taught at the local public school. After retiring, she became a teacher at St. Francis Mission and eventually our director of religious education. She served in this role for fifteen years and, after her second retirement, continued to volunteer wherever she was needed.
Betty had seven children, 26 grandchildren, and 35 great-grandchildren. She was given the Lakota name “Tiwahe Waste Win” or “Good Family Woman.” Betty had a wonderful smile and a great sense of humor. She once went to confession to a visiting priest who had a very thick accent. Afterwards, she said: “I couldn’t understand the penance Father gave me, but I didn’t want to embarrass him, so I just said the whole rosary.”
The rosary was important to Betty, and as she lay dying at age 83 from post-Covid complications, her family gathered around her bed to pray it. She made them promise to have a rosary service the night before her funeral, to keep her body in church all night, and to celebrate a funeral Mass the next day.
Fr. Tony Lusvardi, S.J. now a graduate student in Rome, worked with Betty when he was a young seminarian. When he heard about Betty’s death, he wrote a message.
Please support Betty’s desire to keep the faith alive with a gift in her memory. I’m sure her family will be much consoled when I tell them how our donors want to honor Betty in this way.
Thank you very much!