Christina B. Michalak
Christina B. Michalak, April 21, 1934 – April 5, 2022. Dear wife of nearly 66 years to the love of her life, Joseph Michalak, Sr., and caring mother to Deacon Joseph, Jr. (Anne), Susan Havrilla (Daniel), and Beth Rahill (Seamus); proud grandma to William Joseph(deceased), Andrew, Katie, Lizzie, Maggie, Elise, Michael (Megan), Kevin, (Jessi), Clare, and Grace , and
great-grandmotherto Olivia and Amelia (deceased); dear sister to Alma. Preceded in death by her parents Joseph and Anna Borkowski, brothers Vincent and Robert, and sister Dorothy. Chris was deeply rooted in her Catholic and Polish identity, both fostered in family and at Little Flower High School in Philadelphia, Pa., and she imbibed both a firm work ethic and sense of middle -class propriety—these are the ways things are to be done and pity the one who failed to grasp that. (Joe would not have had a chance had he not come from solid Polish stock!). Yet more was she generous of heart, giving of herself and delighting in the company of others: the Old Suffolk neighborhood clan since 1967; her bridge club ladies who played together for over 50 years; the decades of service at North American Martyrs parish: the decorating, cleaning, alb-washing in the Altar Rosary Society, the Parent Teacher Guild projects, participating with Joe in one parish liturgy, event, program, undertaking after another. They made every funeral they possibly could. Family was the fabric of daily life. Life orbited the high holidays. Chris’s enduring hobby was planning family events, executing the events, retelling the events. And she perfected the art of appearing at each game, competition, award banquet, performance, ceremony, graduation, baptism, first communion, confirmation, ordination, funeral related to the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, in state and out. She was there. With Joe, with us, forever the proud spouse, mother, grandma. With Joe, she was the consummate host, welcoming guests—clergy, religious, folks of all stripes—from around the world for a meal or overnight stay. There was always room, especially if you knew somebody who knew somebody who knew one of the kids; that now made you family, too. Though family and friends were important, above all was her devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ. Chris and Joe were involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal since the early 1970’s, were many years members of the People of God community, and were recognized leaders in the diocese. Joe and Chris became models of sacramental married love and devotion to one another—it became difficult to imagine one ever without the other at their side. Such faith likewise sustained Chris while she lived the mystery of suffering and death.
Chris prayed as her favorite St. Therese of Lisieux prayed: to find beauty in the simplicity of life, to trust God wholeheartedly, and to live a life full of love. Chris, our Little Flower, rest in the peace of Christ, knowing you have lived a life full of love.
Viewing on Tuesday, April 19, Church of the Divine Shepherd (245 Azalea Drive, Monroeville, Pa 15146) at 9:30 a.m., Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30, followed by interment at Good Shepherd Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Chris may be given to Little Flower High School, 1000 West Lycoming Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19140; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Attn: Flower Fund, 342 South Chillicothe Road, Aurora, Oh 44202; or Church of the Divine Shepherd for the beautification of the sanctuary.