February 24, 1934 – January 21, 2020
Sister Mary Cecilia of Jesus, O.C.D., (85), a nun of the Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Holladay, passed away peacefully at the Monastery January 21 surrounded by her religious family of Carmelite Nuns at the end of the recitation of Divine Mercy chaplet and the singing of Solemn Salve Regina.
Sister Cecilia was born Dong Im Yoo on February 24, 1934, in Chung Buk, South Korea into a Buddhist family, and spent part of her childhood with her mother and three other sisters during the hectic time of the Japanese invasion and occupation of Korea. Her father, Chang Dak Yoo, died during her childhood.
Dong described a remarkable experience which occurred when she was fourteen. Walking past Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in An-sang, she felt an intense drawing to go inside, which she did. It wasn’t long before she was baptized a Catholic, receiving the new name of Teresa. Not only that, but she brought her mother and sisters into the Catholic Church as well.
As a young adult Dong lived with her family near the border between South Korea and the Communist North. Once again they experienced the rigors of war, and narrowly escaped the bombs bursting around them. As it turned out, an American GI married the beautiful sister of Dong and brought her back to the U.S. and Utah. This became the excuse for Dong to travel to the United States, visit her sister, study, gradually acquire a green card, and finally become a United States Citizen. Dong also worked incessantly to help her mother and family to come eventually to the U.S. Learning the English language was a real challenge to Dong which she only partly achieved, but her sweet and agreeable personality helped to make up for this difficulty.
It was through her contact with the Trappists in Huntsville that she first began to seriously consider the vocation of a Carmelite. She entered the Salt Lake Carmelite Monastery in 1976 at the age of 41. On March 25, 1977 Sister received the habit of Carmel and a new religious name of Sister Cecilia of Jesus, OCD. Next came Temporary Vows, and at last the final step took place – her Solemn Vows for life, April 25, 1982. As she went through the years of formation as a religious, she was filled with gratitude that she was able to live the Carmelite vocation.
Sister was very generous in her community life, and was appreciated for her always seeming to be able to find ways to be of assistance to the other nuns. Sister Cecilia was fortunate that the different members of her family did not live far from the monastery, and she was able to visit with them regularly.
It seemed almost like a call within a vocation that she suffered throughout her religious life from illnesses. Now that at last she has gone home to God, we pray His blessing on this dear soul, and we ask her intercession for us all.She is preceded in death by her parents and sister Ok Wha Yoo. She is survived by her two sisters Maria (Dong Yai) Faeber (Sandy, Utah) and Cecilia Chenet (Sandy, Utah), many nieces and nephews, grandnephews and grandnieces, and her religious family of Carmelite Nuns. Vigil and Rosary at the Monastery at 7pm Thursday January 23 and a funeral mass will be celebrated January 24 at 10 am at the Carmelite Monastery, followed by internment at the Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery.
Requiescat in pace.