Yesterday, March 16, 2022, my very first mentor and teacher of the Science of Mind passed from this earth. Her name was Rev. Dr. Marlene Morris. My husband and I came to call her Lady Marlene. I believe we must have known her in another lifetime, where she held that title because we could never quite let go of her essence as a Lady of Love and Spirit.
In 1998, when I moved to Los Angeles in my mid forties to pursue an acting career, my husband talked me into attending a little church in Burbank called the Burbank Church of Religious Science, later to be known as SpiritWorks. I attended reluctantly because I had sworn off churches forever. My husband was insistent that I would love this minister who only taught love.
I walked into that church and was immediately embraced by Lady Marlene’s presence. She was in the middle of one of her yearly programs, this one called “The Heart’s Desire.” I was handed a little clay pot shaped like a heart in which I was to put all my dreams and desires. Could there have been a more perfect message for one like me? It was destiny and my journey into the Science of Mind began. Thank you, Lady Marlene!
What can I say about a woman who changed my life. She was and always will be pure love. She showed up for me many times, going against the letter of the law and embracing the spirit of the law. She recognized me for who I was to become – a minister. She encourage me to continue, to jump ahead, to keep going. She gave me so many opportunities to shine and I embraced them all.
I will always remember our many programs that encompassed play writing, music guided with such inspiration from her. She gave so much of her soul to her congregation and we all felt it. I remember parts of her Sunday closing, where she would shout out (and I’m paraphrasing) “Life is in my body, life is in my mind, life is in my soul. I love life! Thank you life.” I remember her telling us that her true love affair was with God. God is Life. She lived that.
When my beloved, Patrick Feren and I were married, Lady Marlene was the one who blessed our wedding. So much love was present that day and fun, too. Lady Marlene loved to party and I will always remember her presence at our reception when she most irreverently told my new husband what to do with me on our wedding night. Lady Marlene had many sides to her and they were all backed by love.
She eventually went on with her life in a different way, expanding her ministry along with her partner and wife, kac. Her life turned in a new and magnificent direction and we drifted apart. However, I could always feel her encouraging me from wherever she was. We were forever connected. One of my memories was the way she always showed up when I didn’t expect her. We had gone to NYC to produce my one-woman show that was birthed at Spirit Works. On opening night, I came out to find her and kac in the lobby. I couldn’t have been more surprised.
I feel a deep sense of loss with Lady Marlene’s passing. It is only natural to mourn those we love and cherish. My heart sends love to her family and kac. Losing a partner and losing a mother, losing a child is more than likely the deepest loss we feel. However, what I do know is that she is here. I felt her this morning in my meditation. The Love that she is lives on. Life as Lady Marlene goes on. Her loving presence continues to embrace me. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to know and serve her for that golden age at SpiritWorks. It was a sort of Camelot. She was the King Arthur in woman form who created an idyllic moment in time filled with creativity, unity and love. “Let it not be forgot that once there was a spot, ruled by love called Lady Marlene!
Fly Angel until we meet again.
Love and Aloha,
Rev. Rita Andriello-Feren, Spiritual Director CSL Kaua`i, Spiritual Coach