For the Friends of Sonia Belcher
Please share your memories of Sonia.
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February 21, 2008 at 7:21 pm
The Family wishes to thank everyone for their love and support.
February 21, 2008 at 7:24 pm
I love you Sonia and you will always be in mine and everyone’s hearts.
February 21, 2008 at 8:05 pm
Dear Deacon Nick and Andrew and family
Please accept our condolences on the falling asleep of our beloved Sonia. Her memory will always be eternal. I knew Sonia when she was a very little girl and watched her grow up so strong in the faith, it is a blessing. Everyone looked up to her. She was such a good role model for all the girls and especially our daughters. I’ll miss her beautiful welcoming smile whenever we entered the church or wherever we ran into her at the hall. She was so devoted to the faith, and had a passion for St George like no other. You should be proud of her as well as we all are. We will miss her special cheerleading at the Bible Bowl, and all the energy and her love.
We’re keeping you all in our prayers. Sonia has gone to meet our Lord. It is too soon for her especially when Andrew still needs her, but God will watch over this fine young mother. Nick, keep the faith and be strong.
Amal & Nabil Hourani and family.
February 21, 2008 at 8:29 pm
One of my favorite memories of Sonia is how she always greeted everyone with “Hi Habibi!” Everyone was her Habibi – and she was ours. She will be missed beyond words, yet she remains a blessing to anyone she ever came in contact with. A pillar of the Church community – she didn’t just preach Orthodoxy – she lived it. Truly, may her memory be eternal.
February 21, 2008 at 9:45 pm
I have always admired Sonia for her work with the Theophany School. She has been a source of encouragement for me during my studies at Hellenic College. Though I have lost touch with her in the past few years, she has always been in my thoughts. I will keep Sonia’s entire family in my prayers, especially Dn. Nick and Beautiful Baby Andrew.
May Her Memory Be Eternal!
February 21, 2008 at 10:09 pm
Dear Deacon Nick, the Daly and Belcher family,
I am deeply saddened to hear about this great lose to the Orthodox community and all that knew her. I remember her as a funny, real person full of honesty and love toward God, the church, and last but not least the people she knew. I can honestly say that she will be missed.
May Christ our Lord bring comfort to you all during this. My prayers are with you.
Sonia, we love and miss you. Thank you for all you did for me in 2002 at Holy Cross and for accepting me as your friend. It will always be an honor.
Phil and Patricia Nasr
To: Deacon Nicholas and the entire Daly and Belcher Family,
My thoughts and prayers are with you at this most difficult time. Sonia was truly a remarkable person. She had a smile that would light up a room and a determination that was unbelieveable. She was truly dedicated to her Orthodox Faith and lived it in every aspect of her life. Her legacy to all of us will be never to stop giving and enlightening people about our Faith. Her involvement in Theophany School and the Fellowship of St. John the Divine were an inspiration to us all, clergy and laity. She would have made a wonderful Khouryee.
Even though her life was cut short, she accomplished many things that people who live to be much older never do.
To you Deacon Nicholas cherish the time you had together and Thank God for the beautiful son that she bore you. She love you very much and her love will remain with always and be a consolation to you in the days and months ahead. We must all keep her spirit and memory alive by emulating all her wonderful qualities.
Your will all be in my prayers and if there is anything that I can do for you please don’t hesitate to ask. My life has certainly been enriched by knowing Sonia and I have no doubt that the Lord welcomed her with the words “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the kingdom prepared for you.
May her memory be eternal! And may God’s love and consolation surround you during this very difficult time.
In His love,
February 21, 2008 at 10:18 pm
My heart and prayers are with you, Deacon Nick.
May God comfort you and give you strength.
Thinking of you and Andrew and sending my sincerest sympathies.
May Sonia’s memory be Eternal.
February 21, 2008 at 10:45 pm
Sonia, you are in my heart. It will be difficult to be here (Boston) without you. Please note that Nick wanted a place where people can express who you are through their own words so, one day he can share it with Andrew. Your beloved Andrew will be right by our side. I love you.
February 21, 2008 at 10:53 pm
We were deeply saddened to hear about this great loss. We send our sincere condolences to Dn. Nicholas and the Belcher and Daly families.
May Sonia rest in peace, and may her memory be eternal.
Hani & Jana Al-Dayaa
Dear Deacon Nick, Andrew and Daly Family,
Our hearts and our prayers go out to you in your time of saddness and profound loss of your (and our) Beloved Sonia, a wife, mother, daughter and sister who has been taken at such a young age. Always a kind word for everyone, a smile on her face and a go get em’ attitude. She strived for excellence and always acheived her goals, The Theophany School for one. She has been such an inspiration for the young women in our parish and across the country and has touched so many many lives in all walks of life. She is know with the ultimate of all angels and our Lord and Savior. Deacon Nick the time you and Sonia were together will be cherished always and her love for you will carry you through. Andrew you now have your own Guardian Angel, your beloved Mom, Sonia.
Elizabeth, Frank, Kimberly and Michael Votruba
May Her Memory be Eternal!
February 21, 2008 at 10:54 pm
The Bowman family joins all the other families who want to claim Sonia as their own. Each of our families knows how incredibly special she was to us. We gathered tonight at a restaurant in Arlington, and challenged one another to remember one minute when Sonia was unkind, angry, moping, aloof, or unsmiling. That never happened! Leigh then mentioned that heaven will be like that. And that it was fitting that God would want her there. We don’t understand His plans, we’re racked in grief, but through our tears we know that His plans are the best ones. Someday, perhaps soon, more likely not until we join her in gazing joyfully at Christ, will we realize HOW His plans are better than ours.
With nine children who knew Sonia and loved her, and who laughed heartily with her and at her, we will have a lot more to say later.
But here we just want to say that she is truly a Servant of God. We loved noticing on the Hellenic College website that there were two news articles today. The first discussed The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, a special service including Fr. Nicholas C. Triantafilou of Hellenic College and Fr. Arthur Kennedy, Rector of St John’s Catholic Seminary describing a “special relationship between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics in the Boston area.” The second article informed us of Sonia’s wake and funeral arrangements.
She was herself a bridge between both Churches. We pray that she will take our petitions for unity between our Churches and present them to our Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.
With Sonia standing before them, the triune God is smiling more broadly today. And with her they are pledging their help to Nicholas and Andrew and their families.
February 22, 2008 at 12:07 am
Ron & Ann Howard
Dear Alberto, Mona, Deacon Nick and all of your families,
Our hearts ache for the loss of your dear Sonia. May happy memories of her live on forever. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. God bless everyone in this time of sadness. With sincere love and sympathy, Ron & Ann Howard
February 22, 2008 at 1:06 am
Mr. and Mrs. Daly and Family,
We all thank you for all you have done to raise such a beautiful daughter. Christ’s radiant light shone brightly through her actions, through her smile, through her entire being.
Nick and Andrew,
Sonia touched so many lives while she was with us. Through her living example as a true Orthodox Christian wife, mother, friend, and community leader she has brought many others closer to Christ. We are all blessed to have walked with her on this earth. We pray without ceasing for you both.
As a seminarian’s wife, I am grateful to say that Sonia treated us all like family when we were far away from our own. She threw us surprise baby showers in her parents’ home. She was with us during the births of our children and even gifted us with Strawberry Cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory in our hospital beds. She celebrated birthdays with us at the Smokehouse in Brookline. She sat at our tables to pray, to enjoy meals, and create fellowship. She sent cards and books to our children on their birthdays. She touched 3 generations of my own family. These are just a few of the memories of Sonia that I hold dear.
February 22, 2008 at 1:41 am
father peter and nikki salmas
dear deacon nicholas and Andrew, it is too soon perhaps for us to be able to write clearly to you of our utter sadness upon learning of the passing of your beloved wife and mother, sonia…one who exemplified to us the radiance of a faithful servant of Our Lord Jesus Christ, one whose life literally shone with the light of proper use of tremendous talent, thereby giving glory to Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we beseech will now bless her with the eternal joys of heaven and to whom we now, tearfully and with great sorrow, entrust her sweet soul. To your families, please know our prayers, feeble as they are, remain with each of you, seeking on your behalf the Comfort of the Holy Spirit. We respected and loved Sonia as she lived among us in the Church Militant and we continue to love her as she has passed to the eternal life of the Church Triumphant.
February 22, 2008 at 2:38 am
Sonia comforted and prayed with my sister and I the night of our mother’s passing…We will never forget that….Thank You Sonia…
God bless you Dn. Nick and your beautiful son…
February 22, 2008 at 2:52 am
For the Entire Daly Family, Deacon Nick and his family,
Unfortunately I am broken hearted for you and the family. Searching to express sympathy and comfort. After reading above entries and remembering the Daly Kids from Antiochian Village Years gives meaning to En-chullah Tis-lam. I thankyou for sharing Sonia in any of our lives brief, long, or thru the friends and family. My heartful prayers and thoughts to you and God Bless.
February 22, 2008 at 2:55 am
Jennifer Straghalis Griffith
Dear Daly Family,
Thank you for sharing your daughter and sister with so many who loved her like their own.
Sonia was for me, an extension of family through my college years in Boston and beyond, her arms always open and your door a comforting place to come to. The memories rush in all throughout the day of her love, laughter and kindness…road trips to St. Vlad’s Day of Orthodoxy … sleepovers at your home…packing out of a tiny North End apartment, all with Sonia. She is a joy!
Now, almost 10 years later, I live in the Republic of Moldova with my husband and 7 month old child. Sonia never missed a birthday or anniversary… and even with the time and distance between us, she transcended….she always remembered and called.
The name you gave her is Wisdom and Sonia embodied her name. I pray that our child, Sophia will follow in the steps of Sonia and be a light in the world, as she was.
Deacon Nick and Andrew,
I hope that we will one day have the privilege of meeting you. Deacon Nick, I know she loved you so much. Baby Andrew, she lives on in you. And you have a wonderful mother who will look after you in the Presence of the Lord from beyond His Gates.
We grieve with you and pray with you from Moldova.
May her memory be Eternal.
Jennifer Straghalis Griffith and Family
February 22, 2008 at 8:16 am
Mr. and Mrs. Daly and family
Thank you for raising such a kind, loving and loyal daughter and sister. Sonia was like a sister to me and was my support system during the good and bad times. She was the first person I always told something funny to, just to hear her laugh. She was the first person I went to get advice from, for anything. She was the one you wanted in your corner when life got rough. She was also the one you wanted nearby in time of joy because her cheers were the loudest. I know I felt that way about her, but to see how many others do as well is a testament to the person she was. She will be truly missed by many.
Dn. Nick and Andrew
You had an incredible wife and mother. She was with you a short time, but will always be with you though Andrew and the memories you shared. She loved you both so much.
May her memory be eternal.
Christina Katos and family
February 22, 2008 at 9:00 am
Joe and Marie Zogaib
Joe and I are paralyzed with sadness at the loss of someone who touched both of our lives, our dear friend, Sonia.
There are many memories to share, but perhaps the two that stand out most prominently in my mind are when she shared the news of her wedding and birth of her baby. I remember her excitement when she shared details of her wedding with me at the convention in Detroit. I remember her saying that she had seen her wedding dress on TV and knew she wanted it! Always a visionary!
But Sonia didn’t really care about the dress. She was marrying a man she loved deeply.
And then of course, the greatest news of all: the birth of her son! Just a few days ago, I was looking at her pictures on Facebook and saw her with her husband and beautiful baby Andrew and I thought to myself “Sonia looks so happy”. That’s how I will remember, Sonia. Happy.
Sonia lived a life of purpose. She was a change-agent, a humanitarian, an example and a friend. As we prepare to enter this period of ‘bright sadness’ in our Church, we mourn the loss of our dear friend, but rejoice that CHRIST IS RISEN!
Marie and Joe Zogaib
February 22, 2008 at 9:17 am
I love you Nona.
Even though I will not get the chance to grow up with you as my Nona, your life will always be an example to me. I will know all about my Nona and what an incredible person she was through my Nono, my Godbrother Andrew, and my parents.
February 22, 2008 at 9:19 am
Jason & Mary Gamel
Deacon Nick and the Daly Family –
There aren’t any words right now. We are thinking of you all here from TX. We are sorry we cannot be there, know you are in our thoughts and prayers.
May Sonia’s memory be eternal…
Love, Jason and Mary Gamel.
February 22, 2008 at 9:35 am
Don & Ghada Khouri
We got to know Sonia through her work in the Fellowship and the Footlamps Workshop Series. She did a wonderful job leading these efforts, and always worked diligently for the Orthodox Church. We appreciate all she did and will miss her.
Don & Ghada
February 22, 2008 at 9:38 am
Rita and Andrew Constantinou
Dear Dn. Nick, Andrew, and the Daly and Belcher Families,
We extend to all of you our love and prayers at this time of deep sorrow.
We loved Sonia like so many others and want you to know that as we continue to remember her and share fond memories of our times with her, that we can’t do so without hearing her joyful laugh. She truly did bring joy, kindness, and love to so many lives including ours.
It’s our hope and prayer that God continue to strengthen you and carry you through this difficult time. Please know that if there is anything that we can do for any of you it would be our extreme pleasure.
May her memory be eternal.
The Constantinou Family
February 22, 2008 at 10:01 am
Dear Dn. Nick and Andrew and the rest of Sonia’s family,
The prophet Jeremiah said “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night …”
I had the honor of working with Sonia a few times before the last two Clergy/Laity meetings for the GOA in my capacity as director of media for Orthodox Christian Network. When Sonia found out I was applying to attend Holy Cross, she bent over backwards to help me and my little family come to Boston so I could pursue my calling.
Connie and I are so grateful for her kindness toward us, and for the brief time we enjoyed her presence here in Boston.
I remember the last time I spoke to Sonia just a day before she passed. She asked me to help with a web site project and I agreed and then I told her how wonderful and happy she looked. She remains an inspiration.
St. Paul instructed us to “weep with those who weep” so, for this season of grief, we weep, but soon we will see the dawn of Pascha and hear the eternally true words Christ is risen! He is risen indeed.
Please be assured of our love and support and our holding the memory of Sonia every before us.
Barnabas, Connie and Alexandra Powell
February 22, 2008 at 10:02 am
I remember meeting Sonia years ago when she was our houseguest here in Montreal, and a beloved friend of my children. Her presence was effervescent. What an extraordinary young lady, and her life was like a bright candle shining so brightly.
She devoted her life to her faith and family. We all mourn this great loss of our daughter in Orthodoxy. Our hearts and prayers are with you all. Sincerely, Janice Saba
February 22, 2008 at 10:08 am
Dear Deacon Nick, Baby Andrew and the Daly Family,
Our hearts are deeply hurt for you and for the many blessed people that Sonia loved, although we know that she is rejoicing in the company of the saints and in the presence of our Lord. With all my heart, I pray for the Lord to strengthen you all and bestow upon you grace which will carry you threw this.
Although I have known who Sonia was for a long time (through conferences and retreats), I really had the pleasure of meeting her officially at this past year’s convention in Montreal. My now-fiance, Camille, is like a brother to her and Sonia treated me with the same love she has for him in the short time that we were with her. I also strongly felt her warm-heartedness and genuine care at the Young Adult retreat at Holy Cross (which she organized) this past September. I love you Sonia.
Our sincere love and prayers are with all of you. Memory Eternal! In Christ’s love,
February 22, 2008 at 10:18 am
I had the pleasure of working with Sonia for four years at Holy Cross.
She was always helpful and had always needed me to help her out with an event. When I found out about what had happened I was at a standstill. I did not want to believe it at first. This is a tremendous loss to the community and she will forever be missed. Sometimes we do not understand why God takes these people away from us. Though we must remember that she is with the angels watching over her. Sonia was a beautiful person inside and out and she loved her faith tremendously. May God grant her family peace. We will miss you Sonia
February 22, 2008 at 10:58 am
Dear Daly Family,
May Her Memory Be Eternal! She was truly one of a kind and she touched so many lives.
Dear Dn. Nick & Andrew,
May Her Memory Be Eternal! I’ll remember her laughter outside in the halls of Polemenakos Dorm! She was so full of life and her legacy is you and Andrew and the tons of lives that she touched in throughout her life.
February 22, 2008 at 10:59 am
My prayers are with each family member. I have fond memories of my days with the Daly’s and know that you all know first hand the pleasure Sonia brought to everyone’s life.
Sonia was always one of the best friends you could have. Sonia and I went to Montrose together and along with Stacey Panagotopulos, the three Walpole girls in the class of 1994. I have so many great memories of Sonia at such fun times in our lives. I remember the day Sonia made the basketball team – after about 10 tries to run the 2 miles in under 18 minutes. She had so many students from all grades running the last lap to encourage her that she could make it. Who else could inspire so many others to cheer her on. I remember driving in the old mercedes and boy were we happy to have freedom… until we got a flat tire on the way to our friend, Judy’s, baptism. We were there in skirts changing a tire! I remember Sonia walking the streets of rte 109 getting ads for the yearbook – she was an incredible sales person and no one could say no to her. I remember playing volleyball with her at the Walpole High School night classes – we were the youngest by about 25 year, but every week, Sonia picked me up and we had a blast – of course it was followed by icecream or something to offset the exercise. There are so many other memories, including getting the free gas from Sonia’s family, working on school projects with fighting fish (what made us think putting two fighting fish in a tank was a good science project – we had to flush them after), and sharing so many laughs at sleep overs… I am so grateful for these memories.
Sonia’s laugh was infectious and she was the most giving, loving, and admirable person I knew. She was filled with nothing but kindness. I will miss her incredible smile and laugh, but I feel so fortunate for having known her and having the great memories that I do.
Andrew, although we’ve never met, your mom was an incredible person and I know that you will have her wonderful traits and use them as well as she did to make a difference in others lives and in this world.
Prayers and love,
Nichole Mercier (as well as the Mercier Family & my husband, who were also touched by Sonia and are saddened by this news)
February 22, 2008 at 11:07 am
Joy Malek Oldfield
Dear Daly and Belcher families, Deacon Nick and precious Baby Andrew:
I hope some small amount of comfort comes to you in the knowledge that your beloved Sonia was a faithful woman, whose life was an example to those who knew her, and even to us who only knew OF her. Her tragic death will continue to teach us about the Lord and about our own faith, for we know not the hour when our Lord will come.
My heart breaks for you. I will pray for each of you every single day.
February 22, 2008 at 11:21 am
With a flashing smile and eyes that could peer into your soul, Sonia will forever remain in our memory. The love of Christ coursed through her veins and spilled out on everyone she knew. I will always remember Sonia as a true child of God.
February 22, 2008 at 11:29 am
Our hearts have been broken with the loss of a beautiful soul. We have all been blessed to have Sonia in our lives. We Love Sonia and will be truly missed.
May you have all the strenght that God has giving you be with you now and always.
February 22, 2008 at 11:33 am
Fr. Antony Hughes
I remember Sonia from Antiochian village and have known her for a long time. Her unswerving devotion to Christ and his Church inspired all of us. She always seemed to be just a little bit “ahead of her time”, a visionary with determination that never flagged. I was with her at the beginning of talks about starting an Orthodox school, speaking with Metropolitan Methodios together where we received marvelous hospitality and pastoral encouragement. Others joined in as the ball started to roll, but make no mistake! This was her dream and no one worked harder to see it happen.
Without Sonia there would be no Theophany School. Sonia will be remembered by all of us a dedicated, loving and compassionate friend and co-worker.
Our hearts are broken and our minds struggle to accept the reality of her falling asleep. May her memory be eternal! May she rest in light perpetual.
Love and condolences to Deacon Nicholas, Andrew and the entire Daly family. St. Mary’s Church in Cambridge to help in any way we can. Our prayers are with you.
February 22, 2008 at 11:34 am
Fr. George L. Livanos
The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh Clergy Syndesmos, on behalf of his Eminence Metropolitan Maximos, offer our memorial prayers for the falling asleep of His precious servant, Sonia. We are all shocked of the tragic news of her passing. We are encouraged, though, that her passing is truly from death to life! She will be counted among the Righteous.
To her beloved family, relatives, and friends we offer our respectful condolences and pray for your well being.
May Her Memory Be Eternal.
In His Service,
Fr. George L. Livanos
February 22, 2008 at 11:41 am
Fr. Mark/Presbytera Michelle Muñoz
To the entire Belcher/Daly families, and to all who mourn this tragic loss:
Words cannot properly express the immense sense of loss, shock, and sadness that has accompanied Sonia’s passing from this life into eternity. We join our prayers and thoughts to all those who were blessed to have this remarkable Orthodox woman touch their lives, and our hearts ache knowing that countless others will now not have that unique privilege.
To all her family and friends: be strong, be patient, and live lives that emulate the dynamism, love, dedication, and selfless giving that embodies Sonia’s legacy.
May her memory be eternal!
With deepest condolences,
Fr. Mark, Presbytera Michelle, Gabriel, Nina, & Sebastian Muñoz
February 22, 2008 at 11:56 am
Michael and Mary-Ellen Deschenes
We are still reeling from this terrible tragedy, and we can only turn to God for consolation, as our minds and hearts find it dificult to comprehend why such things occur. Our thoughts and prayers are foremost with Dn. Nick and Andrew, her parents, and with all her family and friends who were touched so deeply by Sonia’s love, humor, and her passion for life and for her faith. I recall fondly how Sonia would have such far-reaching dreams for the Fellowship of St. John, for Theophany School, and all the many other activities she endeavored. As others have said, she was a visionary. She had these amazing ideas, that the rest of us never thought possible, and then she made them happen. And all the while, she smiled and told us it would be fine. We are deeply saddened that this amazing person is no longer with us in person, but we at this time, and forever, know what an important role she played in our lives and in our churches. We love her and miss her, and we pray to God not for her, as we know she is numbered among the saints; but for the rest of us, who try to deal with this terrible loss.
“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15)
February 22, 2008 at 12:12 pm
Ramo Abouzeid Kaltsunas
To the entire Belcher/Daly Families
We are all devasted by the passing of Sonia. It is a true tragedy and loss that will never be forgetten. We remember Sonia as a very intelligent woman who worked very hard to help others and was always a given person. She will be missed and she will always remain in our hearts. We extend our deepiest sympathy to her husband, son, parents, siblings and all family members. May she rest in peace.
Ramo, Artie, Wedad. Nadya Kaltsunas
February 22, 2008 at 12:14 pm
I have no doubt that you will hear many wonderful stories about your mother from the people who knew and loved her well. I want you to know that her beauty and kindness were evident even to those of us who were mere acquaintances of hers. She treated everyone as if they had been friends forever. If you were a friend of a friend of hers, then you were her friend as well. She lit up the room with her smile and her laugh easily incited joy in those around her. She was open and honest and happy…always happy. It is so sad to know that you will never experience that first-hand, but I have no doubt that you will know her love. She will be with you always. She is your guardian angel.
To Nick and the entire Daly and Belcher families,
My heart aches at the depth of your loss. I cannot even wrap my brain around the reality that you are facing. My thoughts and prayers are with you through this difficult time and always. Sonia was an amazing woman and we are all lucky to have known her. She will be missed.
With my deepest condolences,
February 22, 2008 at 12:15 pm
I never saw or heard of Sonia doing anything in her life that wasn’t beautiful. She was that rarest example of a person who is only good. The external life that she lived was a perfect mirror of her inner soul and boundless faith.I am grateful to have known such a person in my life. My heart and prayers are with her family and her friends whom she loved with every molecule of her being. Love like that can not die (and Sonia would be the first to remind us).
February 22, 2008 at 12:17 pm
Fr. Michael Lambakis & Pres. Renee, Andrew & Nicholas
On behalf of the Lambakis family, we express our deepest condolences to the entire Belcher and Daly family.
Sonia was one of a kind. We had the pleasure of knowing her for the seven years we were at Hellenic College and Holy Cross. Sonia convinced Renee to leave her job and take on the role of Director and Teacher at Theophany School. Those years were the best of our lives looking back now. Sonia so believed in the mission of the school and in her faith in Christ that it shown forth in every aspect of her life, and in all the people she touched.
When we remember Sonia, we will remember all the gatherings of our friends and classmates at HCHC, the dinners, the Sunday afternoon football games in Dendrinos Village, and many other wonderful memories. We hope and pray for the repose of her soul and that God will grant Dn. Nicholas and little Andrew comfort and guidance. May her memory be eternal.
Fr. Michael & Pres. Renee Lambakis
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral
February 22, 2008 at 12:20 pm
Fr. Demetri and Gloria Costarakis
To Dn. Nick, Andrew, the Daly and Belcher families,
Sonia was such a loving and caring person who always had a smile on her face.
I saw Sonia, Nick and Andrew on Wednesday and she was so happy to show off Andrew, as we exchanged baby experiences.
Sonia lived the life we are called to live, following Christ and bringing others towards His Light.
Nick, please know that we are here for you and for Andrew. By all the memories and stories that Andrew will hear about his mother from all those who knew and loved Sonia, her memory shall always be eternal!
May God comfort you all,
Fr. Demetri, Gloria and Peter Costarakis
February 22, 2008 at 12:42 pm
I have been staring at this blank space for many hours now wondering what I could possibly write that expresses any justice about someone that has touched so many lives.
Admittedly, I was not always the best at staying in touch, but Sonia was always there: every gathering, dinner, lunch, coffee, birthday, liturgy, wherever. I describe Sonia to those that never knew her in this way; a young sittou. She was always expressing concernt about your health and happiness, and did whatever she could to make you feel comfortable. She listened. Sonia was also determined to give you a hug and a “bousy” at every encounter. She was character. A unique personality that brought the gift of laughter and joy at every moment you were around her. It is this laughter and those smiles I will remember most. I hope we can still take the time to smile in memory of her special gift to us during this difficult time. Memory eternal!
February 22, 2008 at 12:56 pm
Wisp of a body and depth of soul…. Sonia, in her good though too short earthly life, overflowed with God-given virtue. She, wise woman that she was, shared her happiness, charm, generosity and kindness with each and every person that crossed her path. She spoke of God because she knew Him.
We met Sonia through our daughter, Emily. One year apart at Montrose School, Sonia and Emily shared many happy times that spilled over to our family. Sonia embraced each and every one of our children as brothers and sisters. I think we became one of her many “other families”, because in Sonia’s eyes, every one is a child of God. She loved unconditionally. Fortunately, Sonia’s presence graced many of our family gatherings. She knew how to celebrate. Sonia was also there to comfort us in more difficult times. She was hope-filled.
Nick and and Andrew- YOU were the greatest joys of her life. We pray especially for you and Sonia’s dear parents, brothers and sister, nieces and nephews. You gave her so much love.
Sonia, from your heavenly home give us strength. We miss you. Mrs. K
February 22, 2008 at 1:23 pm
Michael & Pamela Rawan
Deacon Nicholas, Andrew, and the Daly Family,
All of our love, hearts and prayers are with you. Words cannot express the sadness that we are feeling and therefore we would not try.
Rather we would like to just express how grateful we are for knowing Sonia and being her friend. Sonia was always happy, welcoming and kind to everyone. Whether she was meeting people for the first or being with someone she had known for years. You were instantly her friend and felt genuinely cherished and appreciated by her.
We are all better people for having been touched by God through her gentleness and warmth. We look to the future not with sorrow but with happiness as we have had the fortunate experience of knowing true grace through Sonia. She is the light that we have in our lives and she will remain in our hearts forever.
May her memory be eterrnal and may God comfort you all,
Michael and Pamela Rawan
February 22, 2008 at 1:42 pm
Sylvia & Michael Tsakalos
Dear Dn. Nick,
We wish we could take away the pain you are feeling. Sonia adored you and made sure everyone knew she had the best husband ever. We will never forget the nights we stayed over and when you invited us to say evening prayers with you. You were such a great example of a married couple. May her memory be eternal and May God bless you and Andrew.
Dear Daly and Belcher families,
Sonia was an angel that brought joy to so many people. She always talked about how much she loved her family and how much fun you all had at family nights. I’m sure the memories you made together will last forever. May God grant you comfort and strength.
Your mom couldn’t wait for you to be born. I visited about a week before you came and went with her to her doctor’s appointment. She was so excited she would have her baby soon. Your mom loved you so much and told me you were such a blessing. God bless you.
With love in Christ and deepest sympathy,
Sylvia and Michael Tsakalos
February 22, 2008 at 1:49 pm
Michel, Roula, Reda and Zeina Fayad
Dear Deacon Nick, Andrew and Belcher and Daly families:
You are in our thoughts and prayers. This is a real tragedy. God be with you. May her memory be eternal.
February 22, 2008 at 1:57 pm
Dema and Rick Esper and family
I know that many people have been sending you deepest condolences about the loss of your wife Sonia.
This message, while in that same vein, is somewhat different.
Everyone I have spoken to about Sonia has remarked on how very young she was to have fallen asleep.
I think that, with the way many people think today, devoid of all faith in God and hope, some would question why such a woman, so full of life, would die so young.
My wife Dema, who was good friends with Sonia, has been terribly affected by Sonia’s falling asleep as well.
I know that you and Sonia were aware of my recent major stroke in April 2007, which left me completely paralyzed on my left side, with doubt that I would ever walk or use my arm again.
It was felt to be a “freak” accident, in which a tiny clot of blood passed through a small hole in my heart (which should not have even been there in the first place) and got pumped up into my brain, causing the stroke.
Many people mentioned to me that, as a cardiologist and a young man to boot, after having worked so hard and so long to achieve my career, to be struck down by such a major stroke at the beginning of my career was “bad luck.”
After much terrible grief and questioning God and bargaining with Him to have my health back and getting mad at Him for “doing this” to me, I realized, or I am slowly realizing, after much spiritual counseling, that this stroke may not be “bad luck,” in the long run, after all I have been through.
After laying in bed, night after night, and asking God what possible reason He could have for letting this happen to me in the prime of my life and at the beginning of what promised to be a long and fruitful career, I am being taught that God has His reasons for all things.
God’s view is different than mine.
Evidently, I am not supposed to understand everything that He wills.
I am trying to understand that maybe this happened to me, through God’s allowing it to happen, for my spiritual health…
…and because He loves me and cares about my salvation. Perhaps my path was changed in this way for my salvation. I’m actually still trying to figure it out.
I think that God loved (and still loves) Sonia more than we even know how to love anyone. Or even know how to love at all, for that matter. God is love.
God gave Sonia what I pray for: the best death for her salvation.
Sonia’s close friend, Mary Sabbagh, who is my first cousin, told me that she had never seen Sonia as happy as she was in the last few months of her life.
After spending so many years serving God and her Orthodox faith, perhaps God felt that she was ready to be called to Him.
Perhaps she was so close to God that He called her so early to be with Him. Possibly like Enoch, she “walked with God,” and was ready to go and be with Him much sooner than most of us are in this very hard life.
I wish all the best to you and your son Andrew. I know that God has a plan for both of you as well.
With much sorrow (tempered with love and joy for Sonia), and…
…in Jesus Christ, Who has dominion over the living and the dead, and Who knows what is best for all of us, however hard it may be now,
February 22, 2008 at 2:07 pm
St. George Teen SOYO, Houston
Deacon Nicholas, Andrew, and Loved Ones of Sonia:
Deacon Nicholas, although we don’t know each other personally, I remember seeing you back in 2004 at the Antiochian House of Studies. When I read about Sonia’s passing, and saw pictures of you with her, I immediately recognized you, and my heart is broken for you and the entire family. Please know that the our teens and the entire community of St. George in Houston will be praying for you, Andrew, and the entire family, as well as for Sonia’s repose. May Christ comfort you in this difficult time, and may Sonia find boldness with the Lord, and intercede for our salvation.
February 22, 2008 at 2:32 pm
Fr. Fouad and Diana Saba
Fr. Dn. Nick, Andrew, Belcher and Daly families,
I write you with a heavy heart. On behalf of my family, my wife, Diana, and myself, I offer you the sincerest condolences on the loss of Sonia. I will never forget her wonderful smile, nor her love for her friends. May God establish her soul where the Just repose and may her memory be ever eternal.
We are also praying for you and your son, Andrew. Needless to say, you are safe with many friends around you; however, if there is anything I could do, whatever it may be, please be assured of my love for you, my brother.
St. John Chrysostom preaches in his Paschal sermon, “God, both, honors the deeds and praises the intention.” There is no doubt Sonia has already heard the words of the Master: “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Master!”
God bless you always!
Fr. Fouad and Diana Saba
St. George, Cicero, IL
February 22, 2008 at 2:43 pm
Vincent J. Minucci
We love you so much. I can’t believe you’re gone. You will truly be missed. There’s a void here at HC but I know you’re doing fine up there in Heaven. You’re probably telling God how to run things! “This would be much more efficient!” Thank you for treating me like one of your family, trusting me and working with me. You were a big sister to me and I’ll never forget you.
With much love,
I had the extreme privilege this past year of working in Admissions as Sonia’s Assistant/Intern and for the past two years as an Admissions Ambassador. Being able to work with her, see her everyday, talk to her about issues and just spend time with her, I have to say that my life is touched.
One of my fondest memories of Sonia was during this past month when myself and Jon Resmini were calling Priests from around the country, asking them questions about Admissions Material we had sent them. I had just got off the phone with a particular Priest who was quite difficult to deal with and Sonia, listened to my experience, laughed and reassured me that it wasn’t a big deal. That you deal with people who are just unhappy and that sometimes, there’s just no winning with them. I don’t know, it seems insignificant but looking back, I’m going to remember that for the rest of my life.
If I may share another memory, this past Christmas break, Sonia had given Jon and I a little present for Christmas, as a token of appreciation for all the work Jon and I had done for the office and for her and her family. I was so surprised by this act of kindness that I was moved to tears. I felt as if I was a part of her family and that she put her trust in us. It was just so wonderful.
Sonia, where ever you are, I pray that you know how much you meant to me. How nice it was to know that you were updating Fr. Luke about what I was up to at school, that you were looking out for me and taking care of me. I truly consider you a sister and feel as if I lost a member of my family.
Deacon Nick, I’m sure you’ve heard this in every way possible, but I’m sorry. Words cannot begin to express the grief I know you have, and so, I won’t go on. I just hope you know how special Sonia was to me and how special you and Andrew are to me. Like Sonia was a big sister, you’re my big brother and I hope you know that. Thank you for always being there for me, it’s now my turn to be there for you, I will be there for you.
Eternal be the Memory of Sonia!
We all love you,
February 22, 2008 at 2:53 pm
The Shanoudy Family
Dear Deacon Nicholas, Andrew, Belcher and Daly families,
We were deeply shocked, and saddened when we heard about Sonia’s sudden passing into eternity. We are also praying for you and your son, Andrew.
May Sonia’s memory be Eternal. We extend our deepiest sympathy to all of you. May she rest in peace.
February 22, 2008 at 2:54 pm
Fr. Nicholas Dahdal
On behalf of St. George Church in Cicero, IL, the “Shrine of the Miraculous Lady of Cicero,” I would like to offer my sincerest condolences on the loss of Sonia Belcher. May her memory be eternal!
May the Holy Virgin watch over Dn. Nick and his son, Andrew. May She give them hope in this time of grief. May God grant them and us His mercy!
Fr. Nicholas Dahdal
St. George, Cicero, IL
February 22, 2008 at 3:01 pm
Dear Deacon Nicholas,
I met you briefly for the first time the other night at Christianna’s wedding! I knew Sonia from Camp Emmanuel and from Fr. Evan and Stacey and Christianna’s stories. I remember very distinctly how I thought you are such a great couple and how tender and attentive you were with her and I was very touched. Yesterday when I came to work (St. Catherine parish in CO) Father Lou gave me the terrible news and I could not believe it.
Nevertheless, while he was telling me what happened, the story of Saint Xenia of Petersburg came to my mind so strongly at the very same time with my shock, my pain, my disbelief. Her husband died unexpectedly at a very young age in the middle of a party and throughout the day yesterday and last night I kept thinking how Saint Xenia can sympathize and empathize with Sonia and is there with her to comfort her.
Also last night I woke up about five times and looked at the icon of our Savior by my bed and each time I said to Him: “You know what You are doing – I hope, I know, You know what You are doing with this.”
And again during the Trisagion service for Sonia yesterday I had this peaceful, soft voice in my heart saying “She is saved, she is saved!” I have heard once in a sermon that Christ is the best hunter in the world and as a lover of mankind that He is, He waits until He catches us at our best to take us to Himself. From what I read so far in this blog, Sonia was at her best. For us, she was too young, too beautiful, is too early, too soon. But if she was at her best then Christ wanted her for Himself, I believe from the bottom of my heart that He will not remain in debt to you or precious little Andrew.
Sweet little angel Andrew Nicholas,
Your mommy and the Panagia will watch over you day and night and soon, very soon in less than a hundred years we will all be together rejoicing in the presence of our Lord and each other’s. I know from experience how hard it is to grow up without a mommy, because I grew up in an orphanage, but also from experience I know that the hand of the Lord and
the protection of His Holy Mother is upon us.
To all the family members and friends, may we all walk into Sonia’s footsteps and be remembered in the beautiful way she is remembered. Many thanks to Sonia’s parents for raising such a beautiful daughter for the glory of God! I humbly and respectfully kiss your hands! At least this corner of the world, was and will always be a better place because of Sonia, because the way she loved, she laughed, and cared about the ones around her.
thank you for the way you chose to live your life, for the inspiration you are to those around you. Please intercede with our loving Lord that He will give us strength and perseverance in preparing day and night for the Kingdom and be ready when He calls us Home. Last time I saw you we were at a wedding. Next time I (we) will see you face to face, we will also be at a wedding with our heavenly Bridegroom. In the meantime we have the Divine Liturgy as a meeting place. The Journey will seem long and painful at times without your physical presence amongst your loved ones but I know you will ask the Lord for strength and faith and courage for all of us.
You are loved and treasured precious one. Thank you for letting your light shine so that we can glorify our Father in Heaven!
Christ is Risen Sonia!
See you soon!
February 22, 2008 at 3:05 pm
Fr. Peter and Katherine Thornberg
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Daly and Family,
We wish to express our condolences to you and your family on the loss of your beloved daughter, Sonia. She was a great friend to us and we miss her tremendously. I came to know Sonia during my time at Holy Cross. Sonia was one of those people who brought the love and the light of Christ to those around her. The campus would ring with her laughter every time she came to visit.
Sonia made us all feel like family. There was not a thing she would not do for us. Many of our memories of our time at Holy Cross came into being because of Sonia. The numerous events that were held at your home brought us together for so many of the big events in our lives. Your home was like a refuge for us and our families as well.
Sonia was proof that it is possible to live the life that Christ centered life. We will always love and remember her and honor her memory.
We pray that Christ will comfort you during this time of grief and sorrow.
My brother, I can not begin to express the tremendous love that we had for your beloved wife. Sonia was a unique individual that we were blessed to know that many years. She was always so kind and generous to us seminarians and to our future wives as well. Katherine and I came to love Sonia as part of our family.
We leaped for joy when we heard the good news of your engagement and knew that Sonia had found the love of her life!! Sonia had found true love and happiness with you. That joy carried over and was multiplied with the birth of your son Andrew.
It is our prayer that the Lord will comfort you during this time. May the many memories of Sonia continue to live in your heart and be the means through which Andrew will learn about the loving and beautiful person his mother was.
She will always be in our thoughts and prayers.
May Her Memory Be Eternal!
Fr. Peter, Katherine, and Sophia Thornberg
Saint Sophia, Saints Faith, Hope and Agape
Valley Forge, PA
February 22, 2008 at 3:13 pm
My last memory of Sonia is of a beautifully pregnant woman. I saw her last summer at the Archdiocese Convention in Montreal. She approached me with the same warmth and love that were consistently her most generous gifts. She had an ease and an openness about her, an evenness that was reliable and comfortable, even for me, some one who saw her periodically. She always drew me in, or rather, drew me out. She was engaging, highly spirited and spiritual. I’m always going to remember her as a pregnant woman. Someone that glowed on the outside, with something inside her that glowed even brighter.
My deepest sympathy and love to Deacon Nick, Andrew, and Sonia’s family, whom she loved so much.
Julie Dakdouk Abboud
Dearest Deacon Nicholas, Andrew, Jack, Albert and all of Sonia’s loved ones,
My heart is filled with so much sadness. Sonia’s presence in our life on earth was truly a gift from God. I am so grateful for the time He allowed for her walk in Christ’s footsteps here on earth. I so fondly remember our days at The Village where Christ’s love shone through her beautiful eyes. I remember all of her good works for the Fellowship of St John the Divine. I remember congratulating her on Nick’s upcoming graduation from seminary and she so proudly announced that he was the Valedictorian!! I remember visiting with her in Montreal and the joy and of motherhood had already encompassed her spirit. My only comfort is knowing that her spirit still lives on in precious baby Andrew, her wonderful husband, brothers and family. I humbly offer you my love, prayers and gratitude for sharing such a wonderful gift…Sonia.
May the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ comfort you and may her memory be eternal in each of us!
With much love,
Julie Dakdouk Abboud
February 22, 2008 at 3:42 pm
In the garden a lonely rose bush stood
And a bud did bloom into the most beautiful rose.
Petals of red, rose, and pink so rare, and it was called Sonia.
Sonia flourished, and the vine dresser set another branch to her,
and it was called Nicholas.
The special union brought forth a beautiful new rose,
so precious his name is Andrew.
Behold the beauty of the three roses.
The one so rare looked up to heaven and gave thanks.
The precious Sonia rose started to weaken and its color ever so slightly fading,
and she fell asleep.
Her color, love and beauty will never fade away
Nicholas will never forget her, for true love never fades away
Andrew will grow and stories of the Sonia rose will be told to him many times,
knowing the Sonia rose that brought him into her bosom and the arms of Nicholas.
From a torn and broken heart of a caring friend and brother who will never forget the beauty of the Sonia rose.
February 22, 2008 at 3:43 pm
Faris I. Saba
To Dn Nicholas, Andrew, the Daly and Belcher Families
Your loss is our loss!
In addition to Sonia’s well known personal strengths as a wife, mother, and Orthodox Christian, it was her intensity in recruiting and employing neccesary resources to achieve desired objectives. She was very dedicated and energetic yet never asking more of others than herself. I personally experienced all these attributes and was rewarded when I participated to some extent with Sonia in establishing and organizing The Theophany School for our Orthodox community. Her legacy will be forever connected to Theophany because without her dedication and enthusiasm Theophany would not be the reality it is today.
God Bless you all and may her memory be eternal.
February 22, 2008 at 3:54 pm
The first day I met Sonia, I was in awe of how she lived every moment of her life for Christ. I remember praying, and still pray, that I will grow to have as much faith as she and be able to live it and share it with all. She is a woman we all look up to, inspire to become. The more I knew her and talked to her, I was continually amazed to learn of all she, or rather God has through her, has accomplished. Every aspect of her life was grounded in Christ, from her job to her family to her every day interactions with everyone she met. She showed great love and continued to open her heart, and home, to others. As we experience deep hurt with her falling asleep, we cannot imagine the pain her family is going through. Dn. Nicholas and Baby Andrew, we all love you so much. You and the entire Belcher and Daly families remain in our prayers and hearts.
Grant rest O Lord to Thy newly departed servant Sonia and bring strength and comfort to her family.
February 22, 2008 at 4:22 pm
Deacon Nick & Baby Andrew –
It was a blessing to have known Sonia.
For me, she was a consistent smiling face here on the HCHC campus. Over
the past few months I loved just stopping by the office to say a quick hello and enjoy the company of Sonia and Andrew. It was so funny how every time I went into that office he was eating! What a handsome baby boy God has blessed the world with.
Being a mother suited her beautifully. I often told her of the glow and light that surrounded her since Andrew came into this world. I feel more than positive that the light she possessed is surely passed down to him. He is a lucky to be able to have had a mom that gave him such an everlasting gift.
Deacon Nick, please know that the entire HCHC community is offering its most sincere prayers to you, baby Andrew and the rest of your family. May God bless you all with the comfort you need during this time and always.
May Her memory be eternal.
– Donna Elias
February 22, 2008 at 5:03 pm
Chris, Kyrena Azar- & Sophia Rae Capshaw
Dear Dn. Nick, Andrew, Nayla, and all of Sonia’s beloved family & friends,
My husband and I had heard so much of Sonia and finally had the honor of meeting her in July 2004 at the Parish Life Conference hosted by my then home church St. Luke, Garden Grove, California. She had a booth representing Theophany School. I know so many of those whom I love knew Sonia well. My heart breaks for the sudden loss of her from so many lives. I see the happiness in her eyes in the pictures with her husband and the beautiful baby Andrew. Thank God baby Andrew felt the love of a devoted mother in his life. May God comfort all of you and give you peace and understanding. May God welcome her with open arms into his everlasting kingdom. I am confident she will never be forgotten on this earth.
May her memory live for eternity. Sincerely, Chris, Kyrena Azar- & Sophia Rae Capshaw; Indianapolis, Indiana
February 22, 2008 at 5:23 pm
Christy (Kennett) Skopal
Dearest Deacon Nick, Andrew, the Daly family, and the Belcher family,
I know I have not had the pleasure of meeting any of you. My name is Christy Skopal, class of ’94 from Montrose School. I was a classmate to Sonia. This news has truly saddened myself and my family. We are truly sorry for your loss, but know in our hearts that this is heaven’s gain.
My memories of Sonia are nothing but favorable. Mostly, I remember our home room sessions where her laugh could be heard starting off our day each day. It was so infectious, as was her continuous smile. She truly could brighten any persons day. We worked on the yearbook together. I took the pictures, she got the ads… and wow, she could do that. She was always SO determined. With her mind set, nothing was considered to be impossible. I guess my most favorite memory is from our class trip to Washington, D.C. In general, it was my favorite memory of my high school career, but Sonia truly made the trip wonderful – her eagerness to see everything, her smile no matter what the situation, her creativeness, and her love for her class in general made this trip worthwhile…
She always had ideas for our class… I used to call her an idea machine – her brain never seemed to shut down – and I admit, I envied how much she could persevere with a smile and to me, it always seemed she accomplished what she set out to do!
I am sorry that we lost contact over the years. I did see her in 2006 at Montrose for a career day, although our meeting was brief. She told me then how proud she was of me and I remember thinking what a beautiful comment coming from such an accomplished woman. I too am proud of her and congratulated her on the Theophany school. From that one conversation I could tell how much love and belief that she held for this school, so close to her heart.
I know in my heart that Sonia has touched SO many lives. I know also that she is going to continue touching more lives. Dn. Nick, you are so blessed to have been so close to her .. we know she loves you so much… her alumnae notes tell us so…. and Andrew, your mother was truly a light in the world and I have no doubt that you too with carry on her torch. I hope this gives you some insight into your mom’s life. She loved you very very much.
God Bless you all so much. I hope with time, your pain is eased with the knowledge that she sits with Christ and the angels now.
Chris Skopal and family
February 22, 2008 at 5:36 pm
Dear Deacon Nick, Andrew, Daly and Belcher families.
I pray for your strength during this time.
I was Sonia’s classmate at Montrose where we shared many little adventures. She was as generous then as she was now. I wore a dress of hers for our prom. We spent many basketball games on the bench together. We went to Harvard hockey games. We called her Sony Walkman. We danced in the car together listening to the radio. We had wonderful conversations as we both grew in our faiths. As Mr. Bowman has said, I cannot remember a single time Sonia was unkind or in a bad mood.
After the Montrose years, every time I came to Boston, Sonia would drop everything she had to do, organize my visit so I could get the most out of my time there, and drive me around. Of course, she repeatedly offered her house for me to stay in and would sleep on the couch so I could have the bed. She even came to my wedding in Germany and visited me in Spain.
She would do all this with such natural ease that you would never notice the self-sacrifice that must have been behind her exceptional kindness. Her attention, loyalty, generosity, and love made me feel supported, special, cherished. She would not stop until she had done everything she could for you, and I mean everything. I think that she would have laid down her life for me if necessary. At the same time, she was just fun, full of energy and laughter!
She has set an example that has changed my life.
We cannot understand God’s plans for taking her so soon, but we know that His plans are good and wise, no matter how difficult they are for us to bear.
I pray that Sonia’s love for us continues to brighten our lives. I will never forget her.
February 22, 2008 at 5:38 pm
Dn. Nick, Andrew and Sonia,
I write this letter to all of you to show how much I love all of you and how much Sonia will still be in our lives even though she has passed into the Kingdom of God.
This has been a shock and a nightmare for all of you and for all of us here at Hellenic College and Holy Cross. Our community has come together as a spiritual community but also as a family. You are a part of this family and will always be a part of this family. We have lost an anchor of our school, our faith and our lives. The reaction to this tragic event from us here at the school has shown to me how much Sonia truly meant to every one of us.
I can’t thank her enough for the opportunities that she has given to me. We got to know each other very well at the past Clergy Laity conference… and just the other day I emailed her and told her how much I truly appreciated the opportunity that she gave to me. Recently, Sonia as well as the rest of the admissions committee accepted me into the school of theology… I can’t thank her enough for allowing me to continue to my ultimate dream of one day serving God. As I move forward in my studies I will always remember that missing person who has given me this gift and throughout my future ministry in the Church her memory will live eternally in my heart.
To us as humans it seems unreal and we can’t understand this tragedy… but to God this makes complete sense. God sees your pain and our sorrow… trust in Him and he will get you through this.
May God Bless and protect you, Dn Nick and Andrew and may you always follow His path that He lays out for you… because He will lead you in the right direction.
“May your memory be eternal, dear sister, for you are worthy of blessedness and everlasting memory.”
Axios!… you are worthy… to enter into the Kingdom of God!
February 22, 2008 at 5:44 pm
Deacon Nick, Andrew, Daly and Belcher Families –
My heartfelt condolences to you and all who have been blessed to know Sonia.
Sonia’s strength, conviction, drive, love and overall presence will be missed by all of us. I met Sonia over a decade ago as youth advisors at BDC. We always talked about bridging the gap between the Greek and Antiochian youth groups and giving them a sense of one community. “Let’s bring our SOYA and our GOYA together” – we certainly laughed about that. A Pan-Orthodox community is obviously a goal she accomplished with the creation of Theophany School. The last 5-6 years I’ve had the pleasure to work on the Theophany Board with her. Her passion and love for this school was like no other. I cannot tell you how much she will be missed. What a beautiful legacy she has left to our Orthodox community! What a true role model of our Church! She has given so much to all who love her.
My heart is filled with such sadness and my prayers go out to Deacon Nick, Andrew and the entire family. May Christ’s love bring you strength and comfort during this most difficult time.
February 22, 2008 at 6:06 pm
Giorgio and Alex Sarkis
To Alex and I Sonia was an aunt and a friend. She was there when we were down and when we were up. We’re very sorry Uncle Nick and Andrew for everything thats happened. To Sonia: We promise to watch over Andrew as cousins and keep him out of harms way. You’ll live on in our hearts forever. We love you.
February 22, 2008 at 6:38 pm
Hamid & Gladis Daaboul
After our marriage, Sonia was my wife’s 1st friend in the US; as always Sonia wanted to make sure that everyone is happy and that we’re all a big happy family. Sonia cared a lot and she was so humble and trust worthy.
Sonia will always be a sister for us, presents in our hearts, and we’ll never forget her.
+ May her Memory be Eternal +
Hamid & Gladis Daaboul
June M. David
To Sonia,s entire family, I am a person of few words. Knowing Sonia for just a few years I can only say God needed an Angel in heaven and sent for his daughter Sonia. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you at such a devistating time in your lives. May God watch over you all and thank you for sharing her with all of us.
February 22, 2008 at 7:04 pm
“Well done good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Master”
Deacon Nicholas, Andrew, Daly and Belcher family,
It is with deep sadness that I find myself writing these words for my beloved friend Sonia. I met Sonia back in 1997, when I moved to Boston for Graduate School. My brother was in seminary at the time, and because I spent much time at HCHC, I got to know and become close friends with Sonia. She was so welcoming to me and made me feel very at home. I grew very close with her and have the fondest of memories. Looking at the many pictures I have with her saddens me to the core, and at the same time, brings a smile to my face, as I look at her beautiful smile and remember the many wonderful things about her. Sonia had an amazing heart…she was kind to everyone and went out of her way to make you feel special. Sonia could definitely make me laugh, and I will hold all of those memories near and dear to my heart. After I moved away from Boston I lost touch with Sonia, but would see her every now and again when I would visit Boston. I am thankful to have been able to see her in June of 2007 when I was visiting my brother, Fr. George, his wife Christa, and two daughters. Sonia was so amazing to them when their youngest, Nikodimi, was born. She helped watch Paraskevi when Christa went into labor, and continued to help out after the baby was born. I am so very happy that I got to see Sonia then. I know how much she adored her husband, and seeing her during her pregnancy was wonderful…she simply glowed with excitement. Sonia was, and will continue to be, a blessing to me.
I do not know why nor do I understand why she was taken from us at such a young and vibrant age, with so much life ahead of her. However, I must realize that I am not supposed to understand. All I can do…all any of us can do is pray. Pray for Sonia’s soul…pray for Deacon Nick, Andrew, Sonia’s family and her many, MANY loved ones.
I love you, Sonia. Thank you for being such a wonderful Orthodox Christian example to me. God bless your beautiful soul. Sonia, you are home now.
+ May her Memory be Forever Eternal +
All my love,
Downers Grove, IL
February 22, 2008 at 7:12 pm
Andy J Bahbah
Dear Deacon Nick and the entire Daly and Belcher families,
1st meeting Sonia at the Village as a 1st time Staff member, and remembering her as the most easily approachable person she was truly wholesome and shared her Christian love with everyone. I remember the sincere genuine conversations from the few times we met in person after that… like the older sister I never had, I am sure she has the very same influence on everyone she came in contact with. I will never forget the impact she has had on all our lives and the everlasting Love of Christ she shared with all of us.
My thoughts and prayers to Deacon Nick, baby Andrew, Daly and Belcher Families.
Deepest sympathies and regards. Memory Be Eternal !
February 22, 2008 at 7:56 pm
Darryl and Elizabeth Sterling and family
Dear Deacon Nick and Andrew,
We were shocked and saddened to learn of Sonia’s falling asleep in the Lord. While we did not know her as well as many of those who have written here – her influence on our lives was profound. When our daughter Lily was looking at colleges, we contacted Sonia and she arranged a visit for our family at Hellenic. Coming from the Russian Church, it was our first connection with the HCHC community and almost as soon as we met Sonia, we knew – as did Lily – that we were in the right place. Since then during visits to HCHC and most recently at the Crossroads Parents Weekend, we always enjoyed the opportunity to chat with Sonia. As so many others have posted, her love for the Lord was evident in all her interactions.
May the love of Christ comfort you during these difficult days and may Sonia’s memory be eternal!
With love in Christ,
Darryl, Libby, Lily Catherine and Fiona Sterling
February 22, 2008 at 8:16 pm
Rev. Dn. +Panagiotis (Pete) Hanley
Dear Deacon Nick and little Andrew,
I am at such a loss for words, but I wanted you to know what my last words were to Sonia. Two days ago I was in the cafeteria at school she was about to begin a meeting with people at her table, and I stopped by the table to say a quick hello, and peek at Andrew, who was fast asleep. I told her that Andrew was beautiful and that all of you we in my prayers. All of you were then and all of you are now.
Sonia was very kind to me after my Mom fell ill, and always made a point to say a kind word or give encouragement when she saw me. I pray that God bless and keep you Deacon Nick and you too Andrew, as well as, your whole family, may he provide you the comfort and love you need now and forever. I know He has accepted Sonia.
With love and prayers in Christ the Lord,
Rev. Dn. +Panagiotis (Pete) Hanley
February 22, 2008 at 8:43 pm
How we are to deal with this tragic passing, I have no words, but I know and believe that Sonia’s has always lived to serve others, and while difficult to comprehend, I believe she has done just that. Our Lord has called her to be one of his angels. She will always be watching over us, she will always be guiding and protecting us, just as she did when she was with us on earth.
I have the honor of having worked with Sonia back in the mid 90’s when were were both involved in the Boston Diocese Camp. Attending meetings and motivating the next generation of camp counselors was some of the most valuable work I have ever done. I can close my eyes and fondly remember the times we spent at the Metropolis Center followed by fellowship at the Cleavland Circle Ground Round. I lost touch these past few years, but with the magic of Facebook was reconnected with Sonia a few months ago.
I am privileged to have worked with and have been inspired by Sonia. Watching her work and make the Theophany school a reality from a dream empowered me to commit my life and work to the church’s future. I currently serve as a Youth Director in Wilmington DE and am working with the Metropolis of NJ to promote it’s summer camp, and believe me, it was friends such as Sonia who set the example for me and others to follow. She set the Bar high, and we followed.
Please take comfort that the work she set forth doing will not be in vain, an entire generation of youth whose’s lives she affected will grow and take up her work. We will honor her memory with the work we will do for our Orthodox faith. May the Lord our God provide comfort to Dn. Nicholas and the family she has left behind. May her memory be eternal, and I rededicate myself even more so to the ministry work I do. God Bless Sonia and all her friends.
Your Humble Servant in Christ,
February 22, 2008 at 8:53 pm
Gregory, Christine, and Julianna Esper
Dear Deacon Nicholas, Andrew, and the Daly Family,
We are utterly shocked and saddened that Sonia has passed to our Lord so soon. We can offer no words of comfort to you, only our prayers and thoughts that will be with you not only now but always. We have taken the liberty to send her name to be remembered during Liturgies at Simonos Petras Monastery on Mount Athos and the Sacred Convent of the Annunciation in Ormylia, Greece. We can only hope in the Lord’s mercy, and trust that he knows the perfect moment in someone’s life to call them home.
February 22, 2008 at 9:11 pm
Dn. Nick and Family,
I am shocked and saddened by the news. I would like to extend my deepest condolences to you and your family. I will keep you all in my prayers. The loss of Sonia is so deep as she has touched the lives of so many. I no she was one of the sweetest women I have ever known and know that her spirit will live on in your son. I know I can’t say anything that has not been said already, but may God watch over you in your time of need. May her memory be eternal.
My deepest sympathies,
Adam Azar, Terre Haute, IN
February 22, 2008 at 9:14 pm
Sonia was but a child when my family and I left Boston nearly 22 years ago – but already an exceptional child, to be sure.
It is difficult to conceive, however, that even those who knew her best could have predicted what an impact her life would have on so many.
Over the years, I would hear from others about her development into such an extraordinary young women – her deep love for her family, her dedication to the parish of St. George, her positive influence while at the Antiochian Village, her profound contributions to our Archdiocese and to the entire Orthodox community.
In amazement, I learned she had turned her dream of an Orthodox school into a vivid reality. I pray that Theophany School will always be an important part of the Orthodox experience there – just as Sonia would have insisted that it be.
My love and my prayers to Deacon Nicholas and Andrew, Mona and Alberto and Family, the Belcher Family and to all of you whom Sonia loved so fervently and who deeply mourn her passing. Memory Eternal, beloved Sonia.
February 22, 2008 at 9:49 pm
I first met Sonia when Nick brought her to my home and from that moment I knew from both Nick and the time I spent with them that day, Sonia was a gift to all who knew her. Having been friends with Nick for more than fifteen years, I saw the joy she brought to his life and can understand the great loss to all who knew her. It was such a joy to witness the great blessing and incredible love they shared on their wedding day. I know she will be missed by all.
My deepest sympathies to Nick, Andrew and all of the Belcher and Daly families. While I have lost a piece of my heart to sorrow for the departure of such a wonderful person, I treasure what I have gained by knowing someone who was indeed a gift from God.
My thoughts and prayers to all who mourn.
February 22, 2008 at 10:22 pm
Sonia and I became fast friends at an Orthodox women’s conference in the fall of 2000. A bit frustrated by the tone of the conference, we agreed, “what is all this complaining about women in the Church…we’ve got so much to do it’s overwhelming… we just need to start doing it!” Two years later she started pestering me to take a new job at Hellenic College to direct the Office of Vocation and Ministry; she was tired of being one of the only young women on staff. I applied to assuage her.
Several years later, Sonia and I made a trip to St. Vladimir’s together when we were trying to share about the CrossRoad program to their annual conference of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians. It was at that conference that she reconnected with a certain Nick Belcher, and the rest is beautiful history.
A year or so later, because Nick Belcher was interested in being in Boston to be near Sonia, the Office of Vocation and Ministry was able to hire Nick, the recent valedictorian graduate of St. Vlad’s. I have now had the pleasure of working side-by-side Dn. Nick for three years. What a blessing to witness their courtship and marriage—the spark of their being together, the utter awe, devotion, and amazement Dn. Nick has for his wife, Sonia’s adoration of Dn. Nick, and their love their son Andrew. Wednesday morning was a normal day; little Andrew started the day with a nap in the office, Dn. Nick brought him up to Sonia in her office when he woke up–smiley, calm, and looking just like both of them–and then Dn. Nick and I had a good brainstorming session on the CrossRoad staff curriculum.
Quite simply, the work of the Office of Vocation and Ministry and the CrossRoad program would simply not be what it is without the vision and love of Sonia. So many CrossRoaders, Hellenic College students, and OCF students have had their lives touched by Dn. Nick, and all of his work is infused with Sonia’s love and support—of him, of his ministry, and for all the students. This Sunday he and Sonia were going to host, as they have done every month for the last year and a half, the “OVM RoundTable”—an incredible group of Hellenic College students who discuss the relationship of their Orthodox faith to contemporary issues. Sonia would home cook them a meal, providing hospitality and outreach to college students that is all too rare today. We were able to alert the CrossRoad family of the sad news because, unbelievably, Sonia designed our filemaker contact system.
Sonia, my dear friend and coworker in the Lord, we will struggle with your death every day for years to come, and we will struggle all the more as we walk side-by-side Dn. Nick as he lives knowing that you are with our Lord, but without your practical guidance, especially raising little Andrew. While we pray for you, I think that the prayers we need more are your intercessions for us. We will continue our work with your prayers, for I know that Orthodox Christian education was your heart’s mission, and that Christ brings life from death and hope from despair.
February 23, 2008 at 12:09 am
To those who love our Sonia,
I keep thinking of one of the last conversations I had with Sonia, while she was still pregnant. She called me first thing one morning, anxious to touch base with us, because she was so distressed about a dream she had the night before. She had dreamt that she and Nick were at our wedding (which she had attended pre-Nick) and they had come to greet us, but we didn’t recognize them. Sonia said she had kept insisting that we knew them, listing all the things she and I had done together, all the parties we had thrown, John’s time with Nick at the Citadel, but although we were supposedly very polite, we could not remember them. I, of course, was greatly amused by the description of this dream, for no one who knows Sonia can possibly imagine forgetting her, or a future where we would not recognize one another.
Sonia was a strong, passionate, beautiful woman. We fasted together and we feasted together. She was someone to lean one when your heartached, and she knew how to throw a party when it was time to celebrate (she hosted and I cooked) Her laugh stills rings in my ears. She challenged us, drawing us into her diverse social world, and when you were with her, you were with family. I don’t know anyone who made such an effort to travel to weddings, baptisms etc., as Sonia. She is a key part of so many lives.
She was so proud of her faith and cultural heritage and not afraid to defend either, I remember her challenging bishops that she didn’t agree with, not to mention putting mere seminarians in their place.
She loved her family, she was so proud to open your home to us. Through the stories she shared of her parents and siblings, her love and respect were obvious. Nick, I remember how mad she used to get when we tried to set her up on dates, she was waiting for you, and it was so beautiful, and natural to see your relationship evolve.
Sonia achieved more than many people do with many more years than she had. The love, energy and time which she invested in so many people, will eternally flow back to Fr. Nick, Andrew and all who were blessed to know Sonia. There is an international family waiting to embrace you.
May her memory be eternal.
With all our love,
& John, Maria, Diana Couchell
And the Maillis-Chisnall-Couchell Clan
Of Nassau, Bahamas and Charlotte, NC
February 23, 2008 at 12:11 am
Nika and Hilary Frimenko
Over the years, you have been such a spiritual help to us both. When we got to know Sonia at Winter Camp last year and at this year’s College Conference, we were overwhelmed and inspired by her true faith, enthusiasm for the Chruch, and dedication to Christ. Though our interactions with her were limited, we want you to know what a strong impression her unconditional love made on us and how it continues to inspire us. The example that she set is one that we can only hope to emulate. She remains with us in our hearts, and the love she gave will continue to give through those she knew and came in contact with. Please know that our hearts are with you and Andrew, we love you, and we are praying for you continually.
Memory Eternal Sonia!
February 23, 2008 at 12:14 am
George A. Georgenes
I have six years worth of memories of Sonia…
I remember seeing her on Wednesday, her birthday, and the happiness she felt at turning 32 years of age. She started off Fr. Nick’s meeting by asking him or rather telling him that today was her birthday…
She was as vibrant and as happy as I have ever seen her…
My deepest sympathies to the Belcher and Daly families, and all those who knew and loved her.
February 23, 2008 at 12:41 am
Mary and Joe Landino and family
We are utterly saddened and broken hearted to find out of the passing from this life of our dear friend, Sonia. There are no words that can fully express what an amazing light she shined upon all of us in this life and how great was the soul that lived on this earth amongst us. She was truly a great friend, daughter, sister, wife, and mother.
Knowing Sonia for many years and sharing our lives together, I am confident that she led a righteous and God-pleasing life. She was pure-hearted, confident, loving, fun, and selfless. She was like a cup that overflowed with love for those in whom she surrounded herself.
She did not limit this love to her closest friends, but made everyone feel that they were so important to her – and this was effortless to her. From the moment I moved to Boston she was a catalyst for my spiritual growth. She took me in and made me a home a way from home. She asked her- family to help me and through her intercessions – they did, without question. We became closer and closer as time went by: from my engagement, to my marriage; the birth of my first, second, and third child; to graduation, my move to California – she never missed a moment. Distance couldn’t even separate the immense love she gave. She will greatly be missed and an emptiness will remain in our hearts.
What comforts me most in the tragic loss is that I know she had finally found her true happiness and peace. When she met Nick – it was instantaneous. She fell so deeply in love. She always admired the love her father and mother shared and hoped to be like them. She found this true love in you, Nick. I only ever heard her say how much she loves you and how amazing you are. I was in awe of her great respect and love towards you. When she gave birth to your son, Andrew, she went beyond even that love and was so fulfilled. She couldn’t wait to stop traveling and just be with you all. Her inner beauty shined more and more at each moment she spent with her husband and son. I know that she found joy and peace before her untimely departure and this is what I am most thankful for and take comfort in. May her memory be eternal.
With a sorrowful heart and love in Christ,
Mary and Joe Landino and family
February 23, 2008 at 1:34 am
Fred and Tanya Milkie
Dear Deacon Nicholas, Baby Andrew and the Daly and Belcher families,
“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” Although there may not be any words to bring much comfort to you at this most painful time, we do want you to know that there are many far and wide mourning with you at the loss of your precious Sonia. We knew her for a number of years through her work not only with Holy Cross, but with the Antiochian Archdiocese also.
It is truly amazing how much Sonia accomplished in her life and what vision she had. Her life is a powerful example because she allowed the love to God to flow through her to all those she came in contact with. The way she lived is how we are called to live. God created an extraordinary individual when He created Sonia. She had such a pure heart, so loving and devout. We are indeed blessed to have known her and we thank you and God for sharing such a special gift with us.
We send our heartfelt condolences to all of you. Although you are grieving deeply at this sudden and tragic loss, there is no doubt that she is preparing a place for all of us. We believe she is singing with the angels where there is no suffering or sighing but life everlasting. May our Lord send you His strength and comfort now and always.
With our sympathies,
Fred and Tanya (Rishwain) Milkie
Los Angeles, California
February 23, 2008 at 3:34 am
I also went to Montrose with Sonia, as well as lived in the same neighborhood for several years, and I am very sorry to hear that her life was tragically cut so short. She was always such a pleasant girl and so kind.
My sorrows go out to her family and friends.
February 23, 2008 at 5:05 am
Sonia was a childhood friend, and family member. No words could describe the sadness I am feeling since I heard the tragic news of Sonia’s passing. I am out of the country and will not be able to attend her funeral, however from afar I will be praying for her soul. My sincere condolences to the Daly and Blecher families, to all her friends, and all those who’s lives she touched. May she rest in peace and her memory last forever.
February 23, 2008 at 5:53 am
Fr. Peter and Kristina Gillquist
Dearest Dn. Nicholas, precious Andrew, and the Daly and Belcher families,
Surprisingly, the tears keep coming; upon rising in the morning, and all throughout the day.
The night Sonia was escorted to our eternal Home before the eyes of her beloved husband, soul’s-mate, and closest confidante, our beloved Dn. Nicholas, our children could not fall asleep. We did not know Sonia’s need for her physical body had come to a close, but Christian, Nina, and Gregory remained joyfully awake for no “reason” at all. They were full, clean, sleepy, and perfectly content. They were just happy and vigilant. I said to myself, something is different. There was a different spiritual energy in our home. As far as they were aware, it was a something fresh, wonderful, unnamed and exciting.
I received a call from my family in Massachusetts Wednesday evening and from Kh. Kathryn Rogers and my cousing Leslie Rush early the next day. Like all of you, I crumbled in a physical shock.
I called my husband, sisters, parents, and word was just spreading like wildfire…with kerosene..in westerly wind. Impossible. Impossible. But Sonia? And Dn. Nick…baby Andrew? How?
Simultaneously, there is a peace, perhaps the Peace that surpasses our understanding. My husband and I remarked to one another that we were at once struck by a wrecking ball and totally unsurprised by Sonia’s sudden translation to Life Eternal.
If we accept God’s plan for each of us as infinitely perfect, if we accept that He desires that we are all saved and brought to the knowledge of the Truth, than it should come as no spiritual surprise to any of the thousands upon thousands of us who have known and so loved our incredible Sonia during our respective walks on this side of the veil.
Of all Sonia ever did, said, tried, experienced… of all her joys, of all the moments that made her heart sing, her soul rejoice, her spirit soar, her smile erupt, none were so utterly satisfying, perfectly fulfilling, endlessly exciting as the home she found in the uniquely-prepared embrace of the love of her life, her equally-yoked, equally-indescribable, equally-enchanting, equally-battleworn, equally-resilient, equally-loving, equally-beautiful in every way, earthly ‘home’. Sonia found home in the heart of her glorious marriage, in the miracle of motherhood, in the love that only she has known for our beloved Dn. Nicholas and their precious infant son.
Sonia would be the first to remind us of the greatest gift offered us in the picture of this joyful domestic trinity in the home she and Dn. Nick established together. Though we were blizzard-bound at St. Vladimir’s on the day of their wedding, their dance of Isaiah, confidently and joyfully deepening the tracks men and women have worn around the Gospel and Cross, was a walk of awareness, of triumph, of eternal trust in one another as husband and wife and eternal trust in the One Lord both Dn. Nicholas and Sonia have each claimed as their own.
The love of this unique and sacred family unit, made complete with the life of Andrew Nicholas, is our prefigurement, dear friends. Sonia would say, “there is only one Joy that could exceed what I now know”. I cannot name someone who saw so clearly for so much of their earthly life. And now? While we try to lick our wounds and feebly prepare for our lives “without Sonia” let us remember how unaware we remain.
Let us not lament that “Andrew will grow up without a mother”. Nothing could be more rediculous. When Dr. Albert Rossi speaks of his beloved wife Galina, his first remark is always, “She’s more mothering to our children now than she ever has been… There’s no doubt about that…”
Let us not confuse ourselves with a clouded self-pity that now “Dn. Nicholas will have to be both mother and father”. No, he won’t. How will he do it? With the strength that God has and will continue to bestow uniquely upon him, this very special man chosen to continue baby Andrew’s rearing, his own two arms, his own fatherly heart and wisdom, his own aching and beauty-filled soul which will undoubtedly become increasingly equipped by the One who chose and fashioned him alone for this sacred purpose. Of course, he will, in time, find the balance of resting in the loving embrace of his and Sonia’s family and friends, and parenting his precious boy. Of course, Andrew Nicholas will grow up surrounded by an endless sea of devoted friends and fans of his legendary mother.
But let’s make no mistake. Dn. Nicholas has our terribly-bruised hearts, our pitiful prayers, our endless love, our deer-in-the-headlights condolences. But he also has our absolute confidence, support, and respect. As wild as we all are for his sweetheart, nobody knows her like her man, and nobody could do a finer job of raising their beautiful boy. Though we cannot understand this, it must be true, because Almighty God has impossibly prepared him for this life.
Dn. Nicholas, we are all here for you, kissing the forehead of your beautiful wife, and looking on you with weepy eyes of utmost admiration.
In Christ’s love,
Fr. Peter and Kristina, Christian, Nina, and Gregory George
February 23, 2008 at 7:39 am
As many of Sonia’s friends, I spent summer after summer with her at the Antiochian Village. After reading the preceding testaments to her, it is evident that she touched so many people with the same love, laughter, and enthusiasm that I will remember her by. Her love for the Church was evident not just in her words, but in her actions. Her talents were not put to waste, but used wisely. As I learn about what she did for Theophany School, I share her same dream, and admire what she was able to accomplish. We would like to start a school in this area, and it has been extremely difficult. To know that she accomplished, what we are hoping for, gives us strength.
Please accept our deepest condolences during this difficult time. Our prayers are with you and will continue to be.
Patrick and Coury Hobbs and Family
February 23, 2008 at 8:25 am
Pres. Marusia Melackrinos
Dearest Baby Andrew,
I have so many fond memories of your beloved mother…I would just like to share a few. I met your mother in the Fall of 1998 when my husband Fr. Luke was accepted to Hellenic College. When I first saw Sonia I remember thinking “who is that girl and why is she always on the phone?” I also wondered “if she’s not a student at Hellenic College then why is she always on campus?” I quickly learned that she was a friend to all. People were constantly calling just to say ‘hello’, asking for advice and usually for work related purposes because she was involved in a dozen different projects at once. Every square on her daily planner was filled! That was your mother, always sitting behind ‘some’ booth, at ‘some’ table, representing ‘some’ charitable cause! It is no wonder that your mother’s financial planner told her that she needed to “stop donating to too many charities!” Because she was such an open and welcoming individual it was no surprise to see her easily step into the role of Director of Admissions at HC/HC…she fulfilled that role far earlier in her life then before she actually received a paycheck for it. Not only was your mother easy-going and friendly, she possessed a spiritual quality unlike any other. I remember getting into an argument with a friend and quickly calling your mother for advice. She always did the same thing when it came to troubled friends…she would listen, sympathize and then ask, “how are WE going to make it better?” One never felt alone knowing Sonia. There was no time to wallow in one’s sorrows, her motto was ‘take action or get over it!’ She would also encourage everyone to forgive. Sonia would tell me that you never want to regret anything if that person would pass away. She would easily say ‘sorry’ and ‘how can I make it better?’ I would thank her for listening and she would say “I’m praying for you.” That was Sonia…a fierce and protective friend, one who would laugh with you, play with you and most importantly, pray with you. Somehow your mother understood how precious time was and how little we have of it. Sonia never wasted any time!
When I gave birth to your godsister Eleni, Sonia was one of the first friends to visit…carrying in a Snickers Cheesecake from the Cheesecake factory. When we asked her to be the nouna to Magdalena, she hopped into her car and drove to New York from Boston to be there in time for the birth…carrying in a Snickers cheesecake of course!
What I see coming from this terrible loss is a sense of ‘change’ amongst all of her friends. We are all learning from your mother’s example…to love strongly and to forgive easily. To truly realize that we do not have much time and to follow our dreams. Instead of being caught up in daily stress, Sonia taught everyone that it’s not about how others hurt us but as to how WE make others feel.
I see the beauty in the fact that your beloved mother fell asleep in the Lord on the day of her birthday…everyone near and dear to her was able to call and wish her well. Most importantly we were able to tell her how much we loved her. God did that for us! I’m so thankful that Magdalena and I were able to hear her voice before she left us. We were able to end our conversation like we always did…Sonia said “I love you Marush” and I was able to give her my usual response of…“I love you more!”
We love you baby Andrew and you will continue to hear many wonderful stories about your mother.
Fr. Luke and Marusia, Eleni and Magdalena Melackrinos
February 23, 2008 at 9:07 am
While we believed, Sonia knew.
While we doubted, Sonia built.
While we prayed, Sonia prayed for us.
While we loved, Sonia was loving.
While we gave, Sonia gave it all.
While we sleep, Sonia is now awake.
May Sonia’s faith and faithfulness remove the salt from the endless tears we now offer Andrew, Nick, and our beloved Belcher and Daly families.
February 23, 2008 at 10:41 am
Dear Deacon Nick, Baby Andrew, Daly and Belcher Families,
My husband Sam and I were shocked to hear of the falling asleep of beautiful Sonia. We are so sorry for your loss.
The first time we met Sonia was in May of 2004. Vincent was getting ready to graduate from Syosset High School and wanted to see Hellenic College/ Holy Cross Seminary. This weekend was especially hard for me because my Uncle was undergoing open heart surgery. But we made the trip anyway. When we got to HC/HC we were greeted by Sonia. I was so impressed by her because she was so young, so smart, so sweet and so religious. I thought to myself, if Vincent does decide to go here I will have nothing to worry about because he would be in excellent hands, Sonia’s hands. But what impressed me the most is that I had mentioned to her about my Uncle and his surgery and she asked me his name and told me she would pray for him. I was amazed because we were introduced to Sonia at St. Paul’s by Father Luke a while ago. She really didn’t know us but she was going to pray for my Uncle! Wow! I couldn’t believe it. I will never forget this beautiful act of kindness by Sonia.
Fortunately, Vincent enrolled at HC/HC. We brought him up to school at the end of August, helped him set up his room. We had a great time, but we had a bit of a problem hanging his curtain. That is when Deacon Nick came in to the picture. He told us he would help Vincent. Being on Long Island I was really at ease knowing Deacon Nick would be there to lend a helping hand.
Then we were so happy to share in the blessed baptism of Magdalena, Fr. Luke and Presvytera Marusia’s little girl, with Sonia and Nick as her Nouna and Nouno. It was a wonderful day.
Being an overprotective Greek mom, Sonia and Deacon Nick have always made me feel comfortable knowing they have an eye out for our son. We have been truly blessed to have known Sonia. She has touched our family and will never be forgotten.
Thank you Sonia for your love and support to our son and family. God bless Deacon Nick and Andrew, may he ease your sadness.
I thank God for letting us know Sonia.
Eternal be her memory!
Dina & Sam Minucci
February 23, 2008 at 11:25 am
Fr. Christopher Stamas
Dear Deacon Nicholas and the entire Daly Family,
Words cannot express our sorry adequately. A true angel has left us glorify God forever. Although I did not know her like many others, the impression she made on me was enormous. Her faith was unsurpassed and her love for people was beyond measure. Please know that life indeed goes on for all of us. Like so many tragedies before, this one too will be overcome with the love and memories that will never fade. May God rest her beautiful soul and give you all the strength to continue on serving the Lord and His Church.
February 23, 2008 at 12:02 pm
Dear Pepe and the entire family
Dear Pepe and Mona and the Belcher Family
I was in tears when i was informed about the sudden death of Sonoia the beautiful ,, I and the whole family share your sorrrows in these sad momoents and the tragedy , you all don’t deserve this,, I wished I had the opportunity to know Sonia,, may she rest in peace!!!
May the Lord give you the patience and the strength to keep on
hugs to all the kids and Mr Belcher and his family from all of us ,,
we love you Pepe an Mona and you will always be in our prayers
from all of us
Abe Daly and Family
February 23, 2008 at 12:06 pm
Sonia was a remarkable woman with high aspirations for Hellenic College and Holy Cross. Her devotion to God was demonstrated through her love and care for everyone both directly and indirectly working or around her. Her sudden calling to God’s Kingdom shocked us all and my prayers go out to both the Belcher and Daly family. Her memory will never be forgotten and her spirit will always be within our hearts.
February 23, 2008 at 12:31 pm
Fr George Rados
Dear Deacon Nicholas and Family,
I am disheartened to learn of your great loss, and on behalf of my myself and my entire congregation please accept our deepest and most heartfelt sympathy. We will commemorate Sonia in all celebrated Liturgies during the next forty days. May her memory be eternal.
Fr. George Rados
Ss. Peter and Paul Parish
February 23, 2008 at 12:42 pm
Dearest Deacon Nicholas, Andrew, and Daly families: My condolences and deepest sympathies to the Belcher , Daly families an all her friends. May she rest in peace. My love and my prayers, and GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
February 23, 2008 at 1:25 pm
Dear Dn. Nick, Andrew, Daly and Belcher Families,
My deepest sympathy and my heart goes out to you at this time. May our Lord and Savior bring you peace at this very, very difficult time and may the knowledge that your beautiful Sonia touched more lives then any of us will truly know.
In a world which can sometimes be angry, sad and disheartening, there was a beacon of shining light for all of us named Sonia Daly-Belcher. As I read all the commentaries, it touched my heart and soul to see how many of our lives were warmed by her spirit, her kindness, gentleness and beautiful smile.
My sister, Pamela and I met Sonia after our mother passed away 12 years ago. We had not been actively involved in our church, St. George, for many years, however, after Mom passed, we slowly started coming and getting involved and ofcourse Sonia brought us under her “wings”, even though I was 15 years her senior. Love knows no bounds. We were involved in the young adults group with her and I’ve never seen such enthusiasm, courage and sincerity in such a young woman. We spent many hours laughing and praying with her. I will never forget the times Pam and I spent with Sonia, Fr. Michael, Laila, M&M and all our friends at St. George and the seminary. I know we all feel the same way about our special “Sonia”.
May her love reside in all our hearts for all eternity.
I love you Sonia and you will always be in my heart and may I be half the woman that our Lord saw you become.
May her memory be eternal.
Fort Wayne, IN
February 23, 2008 at 1:32 pm
Dear Deacon Nick, Andrew and the Daly and Belcher families,
I am in tears sitting here, thinking what to write or say about Sonia. I wish I could express how I feel. I was so blessed to have known her and called her a dear friend. She always brought laughter, joy, warmth and truth to every moment she experienced – and she gave that to all of us who knew her. Most of all, she gave her love to everyone. She really did. There is no stretching the truth to this statement. She was a giver, and we received so much. This goes for every man, woman and especially the children across this Archdiocese whom she touched. Her love will be missed.
I have so many great memories of our times together, our talks together. She was too good to me. I wish over the years we had stayed in better touch. But I thank God that I spoke with her last week. I will cherish that last special conversation always.
My entire family sends their deepest condolences and will keep you all in our prayers. May God comfort you and strengthen you always, with the hope that He has opened His Heavenly gates to her, and she is now sharing her love eternally with those above.
February 23, 2008 at 1:45 pm
Helane (Akl) Darazi
When I heard about Sonia’s falling asleep in the Lord, I was truly “shellshocked”. Although I have never been a confidant growing up at St. George, I can say that I knew Sonia. She was always there, always involved, always kind-even as a child. Someone on another site asked if anyone remembers her “throwing a tantrum or crying or being cranky? I certainly don’t!
I do have several clear memories that came back when I heard “the news” and I would like to share them as I would like little Andrew to know how many lives his “mom” touched and how many people truly are and will be praying for him, his daddy and all of his family.
The first is of a very young Sonia, around 16 years old, she was in line for confession and Father Chris, I believe asked if she could go first as she had a meeting to go to. I think this is the first time that I truly “looked” at her..maybe this was when I first “saw” her for my thought at that time was “What a sweet girl! and then the unbidden thought of “she is definately going somewhere!”
My second memory, is when I really started to get to know her. We were in a bible class together at Father Michael Nasser’s house. She was quiet and really listened. If I remember correctly, she spoke only when asked a specific question. She just listened. As an adult, I realize what a gift that is. Incidently, during this time, I found out that she was working one flight up in the same building. I was working for Middle East Airlines and she was working for a company called “Children First”. I remember thinking “WOW” I have this awesome job! but this girl is doing something “GOOD”. We used to meet in the halls, during breaks and most of the time, really, all we talked about was her dream about starting a school for our “kids”
Another memory was of a time we went “Apple Picking” with Father Michael and Victoria, I think we called him “Brian” still. She was in college and mostly she talked about getting financial support to open her school. You just had to admire her, this girl was taking a full course load in college, active in who knows how many church organizations, being a Lebanese girl, you knew she had to have an active family life,and always at some meeting to further her goal of opening a school.
I had made her a verbal promise to send my child/children to her school, even though at that time I was single, not in a relationship and really not interested. Silly as it may seem, I remember how pleased I felt when upon seeing her in church one sunday when she had the Theophany table set up in the hall to answer her that Georgie (2 at the time) was registered and paid in full for the next year at Theophany. She of course, had remembered my promise. A person didn’t have to see Sonia every day, every month or even for years, but she always remembered them. Always had a smile, a hello and a kind word.
Another memory that comes to mind, is during one of our Christmas visits to Father Michael’s home in Norwood. We were all sitting around, and someone came up with the idea of singing some songs. Sonia immediately starting with “I see thy bridal chamber adorned…” I remember feeling, how appropriate..
The last time I saw Sonia, was the year before late, during Lent. We moved right before Pascha and I didn’t get to be around during her pregnancy or churching of baby Andrew.
My last contact with Sonia was two summers ago, when I was looking for information to host a Vacation Bible School at
St. Elias Mission Church in Peoria Illinois. She answered me right away and wanted to see pictures of the “week”. I did forward her pictures of Saydna Mark handing out the hand made “blessed” icons that our children had made. As I am writing this, I keep thinking, “What a blessing it was to have known Sonia.” Limited as my knowing her was, I am truly grieving..and cannot really fathom how difficult it is for her family it is right now.
May God bless and keep all of the Belcher and Daly families and May Sonia’s memory be Eternal!
George,Helane and Georgie Darazi
February 23, 2008 at 2:31 pm
Christina T. Stavros
Together we mourn and pray for mercy…
Orthodox Christian Fellowship at Michigan State University
will hold a memorial service for the handmaiden of God,
+ Mrs. Sonia Daly Belcher +,
beloved wife of Dcn. Nicholas Belcher and mother of Baby Andrew
Sunday, February 24th at 7:30pm in the Lake Michigan room,
3rd floor of the MSU Union. Fr. Mark Sietsema officiating.
Our prayers for mercy and our hope in the Resurrection of Christ are with
Dcn. Nicholas, Baby Andrew and the Belcher and Daly families.
February 23, 2008 at 2:39 pm
Fr. Justin Patterson
Dear Deacon Nick and Andrew,
Though we haven’t stayed in close touch since seminary and we didn’t even have the opportunity to meet Sonia, we feel blessed to just have heard some of these stories about her, her life, and her love for you and Andrew. Please know that our deepest prayers will be offered for you and your beautiful son in the months to come. May Sonia’s memory be eternal. May the Lord give you much grace in the coming days.
With love, Fr. Justin and Tamara Patterson
February 23, 2008 at 3:30 pm
Emile, Josephine Andari and Family
Our condolence to all the family members, this indeed came as a shock and we are deeply saddened to learn of your great loss. While words are not sufficient consolation we hope that the love you shared will help comfort you in days ahead.
From an early age Sonia had a gentle soul, a contiguous bright smile, a tremendous human. We are sure that God has reserved a very special place for her in heaven, and with her great love she shared with each of us, she will be always be in our hearts.
May God bless you and your family during this time and always, May she rest in Peace.
Emile, Josephine Andari and Family.
February 23, 2008 at 3:43 pm
Fr. Matthew Thurman
Deacon Nick, Andrew, the Daly and Belcher families, and my family at Hellenic College/Holy Cross,
I first met Sonia in April 2003. As a prospective seminarian, I came with my wife to Holy Cross for a campus visit and one of the first people in the school administration that I met was Sonia. I found that she was helpful and patient in addressing all of my worrisome questions as a new incoming student. I quickly recognized that one of the bright lights of the campus community was Sonia.
While at Holy Cross, I came to know Sonia beyond her role as admissions director–all of her time and devotion to St. George in W. Roxbury, Theophany School, and the work of the Fellowship of St. John in New England. At times I marveled at the richness of her life in comparison to what little I seemed to be doing with my life as a seminarian. It was an example that I wished I could better emulate.
One afternoon after my first son (Benjamin) was born, Sonia came and spent time with my wife Rachel and the baby. It was that afternoon that Sonia shared that she had started dating Nick who was finishing up his last year at St. Vladimir’s. What joy it was that they were married the following year and Nick joined us all in Boston.
I remember one of my last conversations with Sonia before graduation. I was looking forward to starting in my first parish after graduation. Sonia was very re-assuring that I was prepared to leave seminary and start life as a parish priest.
After leaving Holy Cross, we would occasionally hear news about Sonia and Nick–Nick’s ordination to the diaconate, Sonia expecting their first child, and Andrew’s birth four short months ago. Thursday morning, we received a phone call from a friend still at seminary with the news: Sonia died the night before.
All I have thought of since that time is how inadequate my words are. I can only offer my memories of Sonia and what she has done for me in my formation as a priest. What I keep coming back to in this time of tragedy and grief is the promise we have at the end of time when Our Lord will return to us:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.'” (Rev. 21:1-4)
With Christ’s Love and All My Prayers,
Fr. Matthew Thurman
February 23, 2008 at 4:28 pm
yve younes and family
we will always love you sonia,miss you ♥♥♥♥♥
February 23, 2008 at 4:30 pm
Dearest Deacon Nick, Andrew & the entire Daly & Belcher Families,
It is with Great Sadness and a Broken Heart that I hear of this shocking news of the sudden passing of Sonia.
She was filled with so much love and laughter. I was just with them in Montreal, with such great memories.
Please accept my Deepest Sympathies and know that you all are in my Thoughts & Prayers.
May Her Memory Be Eternal!!!
With All My Love,
Sub-Deacon Chuckie Shahadey
St. Philip Orthodox Church
Ft. Lauderdale FL
February 23, 2008 at 5:04 pm
James (Jim) Peters
Dear Deacon Nick, Baby Andrew, The Daly and Belcher Families
The tears keep coming knowing that our beloved Sonia will no longer be with us. Sadie and I share in your grief over her untimely passing and pray that her soul rests in peace and that her memory will be eternal.
I wll always remember Sonia as my unofficial speech writing correcter when I was the president of St. George Church of Boston. I would write up my speech and thinking that it was “great”, turn it over to Sonia for approval and then she would give it back to me with many many corrections. Then I started to write a monthly column for the church called “News from the Parish Council”, I would submit it to Sonia and again it would come back to me all marked up with deletions or corrections. She was always there to help me without criticism.
When she was pregnant, I used to tease her when I would ask her when is “Anthony” coming? She would look at me with a stern look and say…….ANDREW, Mr. Peters. Then when Andrew came along and she brought him up for Communion every Sunday to his dad, Deacon Nick, I would tease her again and call him Anthony and this time she would tell me that if I continued to call him Anthony when his name is ANDREW, she wasn’t going to let me see him anymore.
We will miss Sonia a great deal and will pray for her to enter the Kingdom of GOD so that she may continue to look after us and pray for us.
Again, Deacon Nick, Andrew, Alberto and Mona Daly and Family and the Belcher Family, our deepest sympathy you have lost a loving member of your family but we too have lost a loving member of our family, the family of St. George of Boston. May Her Soul Rest In Peace and May Her Memory Be Eternal. Jim & Sadie Peters
February 23, 2008 at 5:05 pm
Diane Pecora/St. Nicholas, Bridgeport
Dearest Deacon Nick,
Please know that you and Andrew are in our prayers here at St. Nicholas. It seems like only yesterday that you were “our seminarien”. We learned so much from you.
May the Lord keep constant watch over you and Andrew.
May Her Memory Be Eternal!!!!
St. Nicholas Church
February 23, 2008 at 5:28 pm
John and Amy Keefe
Dearest Nick and Andrew, Daly and Belcher Families,
Out here in Los Angeles, where there is normally sunshine, there are grey skies and rain. A good reflection of our hearts since we heard about the passing of our beloved friend. As we cry our tears and pray for you all, our little girl – due in a matter of days – kicks and squirms in Amy’s womb, making us hopeful that she has some of Sonia’s zeal and zest for life. During our last, all too brief, conversation with Sonia on Tuesday, we wished her a Happy Birthday and she made us promise to call her as soon as there was news. Now, we pray to Sonia to guide us through the labor and help us to be good parents. We will tell our daughter all about Sonia again and again, for she was truly our champion.
When we first started dating back in 2001, most people thought we were crazy! Sonia cheered for us. Sonia’s enthusiasm, wisdom and love helped beyond expression as we struggled to navigate different and sometimes clashing cultures, religions, countries and continents. When our long distance romance seemed almost impossible to sustain, Sonia did not give up hope, instead she told us, with a simple yet profound wisdom, that she would pray for us – and she did. Sonia was still cheering us when six months after her wedding to Nick, they watched us walk down the aisle in France and she cheered even more when she heard eight months into her pregnancy (how she glowed!) that we were also expecting. Her role in the happy marriage we enjoy today is impossible to over state. We will be forever grateful and in your debt, Sonz.
We feel very fortunate to have an abundance of Sonia memories. As we turn them over in our minds, they are all full of the joie de vivre that tailed Sonia wherever she went. We think of delicious dinners full of catching up and laughter, Johnny and Sonia’s short lived adventures in salsa dancing, Amy and Sonia’s love of a bit of retail therapy, Nick and Sonia’s ‘family wave’ at the door of their new home, turning Johnny from geek to chic at Layla’s salon, and celebrating with family at the many special occasions of the past few years. We remember fondly Sonia first mentioning Nick and how sure she was that he was THE ONE! Later, of their beautiful wedding, Sonia’s radiance and how she pointed to us coming down the aisle and said: ‘You’re next!!’ At her bachelorette party, Amy also remembers Sonia telling her that: ‘Marriage just gets better and better – I’m obsessed with him!’ The same smile and joyful expression accompanied her enthusiasm about Andrew’s imminent arrival: ‘Yay!!!’ she wrote to us in an email. And you did finally arrive Andrew, the love reflected in her eyes and yours was quite magical to behold.
We continue to be humbled and in awe of Sonia for all that she achieved, all that she jam-packed into her short life, for her honesty, integrity, faith and for her capacity to love. We will continue to learn from all that she taught us and from her great example. We send our sincerest and heartfelt sympathy to the family she loved so very much (how she loved to talk about you all and share your joys!), to her friends (who were such beloved treasures to her!) and above all to the loves of her life, Nick and Andrew,
John and Amy Keefe
February 23, 2008 at 5:36 pm
My deepest condolences to Dn. Nick, baby Andrew, and the Daily and Belcher family.
As we all know, Sonia was an intelligent and caring person. Apart from experiencing her kindness at work (HCHC), I got to know her better this past summer on our road trip and stay in Montreal. We all enjoyed her company. She knew how to simultaneously love people and take care of business. Her presence will be missed.
With love and respect,
February 23, 2008 at 7:26 pm
Fr. Thomas Zain
Dear Deacon Nick, baby Andrew and the entire Daly and Belcher families.
Like everyone else, we learned with great shock of the passing of Sonia into eternal life. While on a family vacation, taking for granted the wonderful time we were spending together, we quickly were reminded of how precious life is. Sonia was a living example of the Christian life. As she always did in life, by her sudden passing, she has left us one last great example of the necessity of always being prepared to meet our Lord and Savior. If there is any joy in all of this, it is that Sonia was indeed prepared to meet Christ and in her untimely death, she may have just saved countless others by making them realize the need to be prepared, just as she did in life.
Our prayers are with you Deacon Nick and with your son Andrew and the entire family.
May her soul rest with the saints and may her memory be eternal!
Fr. Thomas, Kh. Claudia, Simone and George Zain
February 23, 2008 at 7:36 pm
I remember the first time I met Sonia. It was my 5 years ago on first day working at HCHC and Sonia eagerly greeted me during lunch; she had heard about me from a mutual friend we both shared. That’s how it is- everyone knows Sonia.
Her bright smile, her hearty laugh, her endless happiness: that is how I will remember her.
Dn Nick, darling baby Andrew and the entire Daly & Belcher family- my prayers and thoughts will be with you forever.
February 23, 2008 at 7:42 pm
Bill and Jane Barber
Dear Nick, Andrew and the Daly and Belcher families,
Our hearts were saddened to hear of Sonia’s passing. We know that words can’t take away the pain that you have for the earthly loss of your dear Sonia, but what peace you must have to know that she is with her Lord.
We will miss her. She was a loving woman with a beautiful spirit. We feel honored that we were able to know her.
Nick, our prayers are with you and your precious son, Andrew. You have a special place in our hearts. The Lord used you in an amazing way in the lives of our family. We pray for your families and wish we could be there to hug you and tell you this ourselves.
We pray for Sonia and may her memory be eternal.
We love you, Bill and Janie
February 23, 2008 at 8:01 pm
Michelle George Boyle
Dear Nick, Andrew, and the Daly and Belcher Families,
I love Sonia so much because of the love she showed for me. How can one person be a “best friend” to hundreds of people, treating them all like they were the most special person to her? That’s how Sonia made me feel. I will focus now on a few funny stories, though.
1. When I stayed at her house while I was at Boston College, I said, “Sonia, should I set the alarm clock?” She said, “no need – my guardian angel wakes me up on time.” And he did.
2. When driving through Boston and seeing homeless people, she would say, “should we pay or should we pray?” If the light was red we would give the person money and if green we would pray for the person.
3. Going out with Sonia was different – instead of “bar hopping” we would go “church hopping” and “seminary hopping” on the “Sonia bus” – sometimes stopping at the Catholic seminary near BC before heading to HC/HC.
4. When Khalil once changed her flat tire when she was picking us up at BC, she said “Axios!”
Now for some other stories:
1. Sonia never thought she was too young to accomplish something (and she was right). She said, “in the book of Timothy it says ‘let no one despise your youth.'”
2. As recently as Christmas of 2007, I wrote to the Bostonians hoping to see some of them b/c PJ and I were going to Worcester. I added, “Sonia, I know you probably cannot go out b/c of the new baby but I just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you.” The next day, she called me and said, “OK – I’m going to have everyone over to our house and have a party for you guys, and you can stay here.” It was the warmest gathering ever, of course. When I told people afterward how generous Nick & Sonia were, they all said, “Oh, yes, I’ve stayed in that guest room too.”
I can still hear her voice and her laugh so clearly. She was kind of ever-present. I suppose she still will be. The Bible also says if a grain dies and falls to the ground it will bear much fruit. Maybe Sonia can accomplish even more for us from above, if that’s possible.
Michelle (& PJ) Boyle
February 23, 2008 at 8:02 pm
PS: I love the way she referred to herself and Tony as “Sonz” and “Tonz.” Love, Michelle
February 23, 2008 at 8:03 pm
Georgette Maalouf & Family, Samia Letaief & Family
To Deacon Nick, baby Andrew, to Sonia’s parents and her family,
Our memories of Sonia go back as far as when she was a toddler growing up in the church and watching her grow into a beautiful, humble young lady, a loving wife, and a picture perfect mom for baby Andrew. It is so important for you baby Andrew to grow up knowing what an incredible mom you had, and you “will” because in addition to your own, your church family will have so many incredible stories to tell you as we watch you grow into a handsome young man. We are all so blessed that God gave us Sonia, even if it is for a short time. Sonia represents the “true meaning of Christianity”. The Bible says, “God Saved us…not because of our works” (2 Timothy 1:9) when we do good deeds they are not the foundation of our acceptance, but the fruit of it. Christ died and suffered “to purify for himself a people… Zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14) That is what Sonia represents to all of us who knew her, a young woman who received and cherished the greatest gift “faith” and she did good works with “PASSION”. To remember Sonia is to never forget her warm eyes and her radiant smile and her never ending passion to help and make a difference in other people’s lives without any boasting.
During your time of grief, as you take time for reflection and sift through your own precious memories, and as you realize that things will be different now, just remember that God gave us the “Gift of Time”, God has a plan and even in your darkest nights he will be there to comfort you and give you strength during your time of sorrow.
February 23, 2008 at 9:33 pm
Dear Sonia’s husband and baby Andrew,
My host family is Sonia’s friend!
Although I didn’t know Sonia, when my host family told me about her dealth and their mood at that moment, I knew that how much they love Sonia! They are really upset! When they thought about Sonia, they cried.
Sonia is really really young and healthy.
And I felt that they are really miss Sonia! Until now they still cry when they think about Sonia!
I felt really sorry for her husband and her son. T_T
Her dealth is unbelievable!
What a pity for her little son and her husband! They lost their beloved person.
She went when she had a lot of happiness around her! What a pity!
I wish her family will always be happy, healthy and never has any more sorrow! And I write this comment to share the sorrow with Sonia’s family!
However, I am a Vietmese student so if I write any wrong or misspell words, please forgive me!
February 23, 2008 at 9:54 pm
Words are inadequate. Even in light of this tragedy, she will continue to inspire. Blessed be the way on which you walk this day, our dearest sister.
I pray for you Dn. Nick and little Andrew. I pray also for the salvation of a beloved wife, mother, daughter, and friend to many.
With love in Christ,
February 23, 2008 at 10:04 pm
Meg (Bowman) Rowan, Jim and Danny
Dear Nick, Little Andrew, the Dalys, Belchers and everyone who knew and reveled in Sonia’s love,
We continue to be shocked and saddened by the thought of no longer seeing Sonia’s bright smile or hearing her joyful laugh. But we are heartened by the strong memories of all of the incredibly wonderful times we had together.
Sonia and I became friends at Montrose School and deepened our friendship after high school and college. She lived with my sister Betsy and me in an apartment in Somerville before she met Nick. She temporarily solved her ‘issue’ – a tendency of arriving late to work – by dropping Betsy off to teach in Cambridge each morning, forcing Sonia to arrive at work earlier than she ever knew possible. Always selfless, always helping, regardless of the personal sacrifice. We were schoolmates, roommates, co-workers, friends. Sonia blessed us by reading at my and Jim’s wedding, and honored me by wearing my tiara in her own beautiful wedding. This memory always brings a smile to my face.
I remember when she and Nick came to visit Jim and me in our new home in June of 2006. We joked with each other about whether either of us was expecting a baby. We both said no. I found out later that I was. I told her about my pregnancy by confessing that I had “accidentally lied” to her that day. When she and Nick came to visit us with our new baby last January, she answered my prodding that she still wasn’t expecting. It was about 6 weeks later that she confessed that she had “accidentally lied” to me too. We laughed so hard at the fantastic coincidences.
That’s how life always was with Sonia – beautiful moments, boisterous laughter and pure joy for the happiness of others.
Since Thursday, I find myself talking to her, asking for her to give us strength as we cope with this tremendous loss. This afternoon after putting Danny (our 1-year-old) down for a nap, I was making a lasagna to bring to Nick. He started to fuss FAR too soon to be waking from his nap. I quietly said a prayer to Sonia, asking her to help calm Danny back to sleep so that I could continue making the lasagna for her family. Sure enough, he settled right back down to sleep for another 2 hours (unheard-of for this sleepless baby!) She did the same for me this evening, when Danny woke up crying a few hours after going to sleep. Sonia is already performing small miracles for our family.
While we continue to miss her every minute of the day, I’m confident that she’s listening to us, helping us to heal. We love you, Sonia, and we always will. If only we could all love the way you have loved us, the world would surely be brighter.
We miss you.
Meg, Jim and Danny
February 23, 2008 at 10:22 pm
Dear Albert & Jack, the entire Daly and Belcher families.
Albert and Jack. I’m at a loss for words. I wish there was something I could do for all of you to ease the pain. Having lost my father suddenly almost 2 years ago , this March 11th, I can completely sympathize with what a “sudden loss” is.
I dont really remember Sonia, except for seeing her when I went to Teen SOYO with the two of you and after church on Sundays , many years ago. I remember what a beautiful little girl she was.
Reading all these wonderful comments about her and her family says enough about what a true and remarkable person she was.
I also briefly remember meeting Sonia at a church bazzar quite a few year ago, and telling her that I was very good friends with the two of you . (I think the blush on my face said it all. ) I remember telling her that the two of you were my very good friends and how horrible it was that we lost touch.
But as I sit here now and write this to the two of you , I want you to both know that another 50 years could go by and there wouldn’t be anything I wouldn’t do for you both. You were my very good friends. I’ll never forget that.
I wish I could come and express my condolences in person tomorrow night. After losing my father I have somewhat lost alot of my faith with him. I find it very difficult to enter a church these days.
Please except my sincere condolences to you and the entire family.
Times are going to be tough for sure. Together all of you will make it through . And remember , SHE will aways be with you.
HER MEMORY ETERNAL
February 23, 2008 at 10:34 pm
My love, support, and prayers are with Dcn. Nick, Baby Andrew and the Families.
My best memory of Sonia was this past summer on our way back from the Antiochian conference in Montreal. Although she had prepared us before driving to Montreal that she would have to have Dcn. Nick pull over often because she had pee (due to her pregnancy). On our way back somewhere in the middle of Maine she gets the urge to use the bathroom. Although we did have a GPS, we got off the next exit. Not knowing that the closest bathroom was about 10 miles down a mountain, in a complete ghost town.
This was certainly a funny story that got us out of Maine quickly. Sonia brought with her two huge pregnancy pillows, and although she brought them to sleep, not once did she sleep trying to keep Dcn. Nick company, eating her fruit and rubbing her belly!
I will never forget Sonia.
The only thing that will live forever will be the love she spread throughout but especially the love she has for her Husband and baby Andrew.
I was blessed to have known Sonia. She WILL be forever eternal.
May God Bless Sonia (Daily) Belcher.
With deepest Sympathy
February 23, 2008 at 10:59 pm
There is not much one can say under such circumstances; Sonia will truly be missed by all of us. During the past few days, when speaking with common friends of Sonia, the conversation would eventually lead to her sudden death. None of us could ever expect such a tragedy, nor ever properly prepare ourselves. It is truly remarkable and rare to know a person like Sonia, who is able to bring people together. One could say with confidence that she was an outgoing, friendly, and generous person; Sonia was a person who lived with, and especially, for others.
The next few days in particular will be difficult for all those who knew Sonia. It is comforting, however, to know that we all share a common friend, who, once again, will gather all of us in the House of God to pray. We pray for the repose of her soul; for the wellbeing of her husband and child; her family and friends. We should not forget during these sad times, that with even more zeal, Sonia is praying for all of us. We are all blessed because Sonia is now more than a wife, mother, daughter, sister, nona, koumbara, friend, classmate. Sonia is an intercessor for us all.
May God continue to bless you Sonia.
February 23, 2008 at 11:43 pm
I am Mary Landinos little sister. Mary was a freind of Sonia’s throughout her teenage years and became even closer when mary moved to Boston in 1998 , attended Holy Cross, and throughout life afterward. That left me knowing Sonia at the age of five. When i always visited Mary she would be there. she would give me a warm, loving , caring welcome at the door. i thought of her as my other sister. Sonia came to marys wedding as a bridesmaid and we had so much fun together. I remember her pulling me out to the dancefloor and us dancing and having a BLAST. she was there every moment for Mary and the same with Mary. I am learning in my life that God usually always has a different path that you think he has for you. And i geuss god had a different plan for Sonia, taking her to the path of salvation at an early age. God is always taking the best of the best and i think that is because the person he takes ends up being a person very close to God.Leaving us learning from that person and saying ” wow, i want to be jus like her!” She is a great role model for everyone to learn from. She was such a great person and just full of life, and character. when i found out she left the world, in shock like anyone that knew her, i couldn’t belive it. but i Know God is going to take good care of her and i have to accept the fact of her leaving and me to never see her again. but i know she will leave her spirit within us and we will always keep her in our prayers, hearts, and souls. And i especially know that she will live in us forever.
February 24, 2008 at 12:19 am
Dear Dn Nick, Andrew, Daly and Belcher Families,
May Sonia’s Memory Be Eternal.
Sonia’s enthusiam for life and committment to her faith are contagious. She had a way to make you feel like an old friend every time you saw her at camp or a convention. Even if you had just met for the first time. Sonia’s dedication to our Archdioce is one of many lasting legacies- one to follow and continue.
Your entire family is in our thoughts and prayers.
Kristen Abraham & Family
Grand Rapids, MI
February 24, 2008 at 12:48 am
The Rovers Family
Dn. Nick, Andrew, Daly and Belcher families
Words can not express the sorrow felt at the passing of Sonia.
Three years ago I arrived at the Antiochian Village for winter camp, hours late after everyone else had settled in. That was the year I had to go second session and I didn’t know many people there. I began feeling homesick until I was directed over to the sign-in table, where I was greeted by Sonia’s smiling face. We chatted for a few minutes and I immediately felt better. Just knowing she was there that weekend was such a comfort, and when my flight back to Boston was cancelled she reassured me that I would not be stranded in Bolivar. Although we may not be able to see her smiling face anymore, she will always be there to comfort all of those whom she loved so dearly.
Sonia was an amazing woman, who served as such a positive role model for all of us. She has touched so many lives and will continue to do so through her great works. May her memory be eternal.
Our are prayers with all of you.
Sam, Dylan, Jay & Jack Rovers
February 24, 2008 at 2:19 am
Silly how we can take for granted
The gift of our family and friends.
Yet I am confident that Sonia’s faith
And love for us all with forever transcend.
While we cry for ourselves,
Let us rejoice for Sonia is with the Lord.
And be thankful for the time we had
And consider her love a reward.
For Sonia’s love was one of a kind
And it brightened every one of our days.
She had this knack of making us feel special
That took away any sadness or grey.
Whether we’ve known Sonia one day
Or for many many years
Her spirit will be missed by us all
And therefore we can’t help but shed some tears.
Her love for her family
Is one to be admired.
And the faith she had in the Lord
Is one to be desired.
Let us take from this, that time is a gift
And we must live each day as our last.
Sharing God’s love every moment we can
And never dwelling on the past.
While Sonia is no longer here on this Earth,
She is forever in our hearts.
And we know she must be smiling from heaven
Because now her eternal life can start.
Heaven must have been needing a hero.
Someone who can bring this world more love.
And I know that Sonia’s is heaven’s new hero,
And she can take care of us from up above.
And when we miss Sonia’s love and support,
And nothing seems to be going right.
We can talk to her in our dreams,
each and every night.
God bless Deacon Nick and baby Andrew, along with the Belcher and Daly families. THANK YOU for sharing your dear Sonia with us all.
May she rest in peace eternally with the Lord.
One of Sonia’s MANY Admirers
February 24, 2008 at 9:01 am
Please accept my heartfelt sympathy during such a difficult time. I had the pleasure of knowing Sonia at Montrose. Even though she was a year younger than our class, it always felt as though she was a part of our class due to her outgoing and spirited nature. We went to London together with Montrose and shared many laughs and we also worked on the yearbook together. I was one of her biggest fans cheering her on when she was doing the 2 mile run for the basketball team. It took her a few times to complete the run but each time, her fan club grew. Everyone was always so impressed by Sonia’s positive spirit and determination. We also knew that Sonia would have been there cheering us on if we needed it.
Over the past few days, since hearing about her sudden passing, I have been reading about Sonia’s accomplishments and I am in awe over all she has done. Her amazing character made a stamp in so many people’s lives and I know that she will continue to make an impact in all of our lives.
You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
February 24, 2008 at 9:36 am
Dear Nick, Andrew and The Daly and Belcher families,
I worked with Sonia over 10 years and she made such a lasting impression.
It’s difficult, sometimes,to remember when a friendship actually begins but for me for the moment is so clear. Sonia stopped by my desk one night and asked a very simple question. “Kim, will you come with me to donate blood platelets?”
There was no real reason we should have been friends… an unlikely friendship for sure. I was outside her faith and we didn’t grow up together, but she always made me feel like everything I said and did was special to her. Each time Sonia spoke to me she told me she loved me and she listened without judgement. Sonia and I continued to give blood for years after that night she stopped by my desk. She was committed and toughtful in her actions.
I always imagined having dinner with Sonia in the years to come, when we were both old and gray.
But Sonia you were taken too soon. There is one more angel wandering the halls of heaven today.
Peaceful rest little bunny.
February 24, 2008 at 9:41 am
Anthony Zrake and family
To Andrew Belcher,
I cannot do justice to your wonderful mother in a few lines, but I do want to tell you just a bit about your family. I had the good fortune to meet your mom on a few occassions when she was visiting the Ellias family here in Brooklyn, and it was clear right off that she was a wonderful soul. Your dad I got to meet when he was on staff at the Antiochian Village, giving of himself to care for the children of our Archdiocese, including my own. Your uncles, Jack and Albert, I had the great joy to know when we met as young boys ourselves, romping around the Village in the old days. So I know that you are part of a wonderful family, and I find comfort at this time of sudden and great sadness in the certain knowledge that your family will care for you and love you and nurture you the way your mom had planned to do. By the time you are old enough to read this, you will already know all of this for yourself.
I also want to talk to you about human nature, and math. For every person who writes a tribute here, there are many more who can’t find the words, or can’t type, or can’t use the internet, or simply don’t know about this website. So take a look at the number of tributes and thoughts posted here about your mom, and then multiply it by 10. That’s how many lives she really touched, and I pray that you and your family will take comfort in that, now and always.
May God bless you and your family, and may Sonia’s memory be eternal!
February 24, 2008 at 9:46 am
Oh my Sonia.
I was one of the many people who considered you a best friend. A soul friend. And my heart is aching.
Too many happy memories to share – from afternoon trips to Mrs.Fields for nibblers to dessert runs to Abe & Louies for peanut butter pie.
You were the world’s best travel partner & my favorite adventure sharer. Amsterdam, Bruge, Montreal, Capetown, Quebec.
Driving through South Africa, we had just gone on safari & were in the middle of nowhere. We rented a car phone and you called your mom, after we’d been gone almost 2 weeks.
“Mom, it’s me, Sonia”. I was sitting next to you, but could hear the other end say “YAAAAAAYYYYYYY!”
A huge smile broke out on your face. After you hung up, still smiling, you say, “Isn’t it amazing to have someone out there who cheers just to hear your voice?”
Oh Sonia. If only you knew how many hundreds, no thousands, of people would cheer just to hear your voice one more time.
Whenever it may be that we get to heaven, I am comforted picturing you standing there, smiling, cheering your heart out for us.
Daly Family and Dn Nick~ Thank you for raising and sharing such a true hero. My hero.
I love & miss you may-a-may. My heart will forever ache. Memory Eternal
February 24, 2008 at 10:58 am
I just got off the phone with Mom, who let me know the sad news of Sonia.
The first thing I said to Emily is that she’s gotta be in heaven. God has
decided, despite everything we would think logical, to take her to His own
in this moment, to give her that eternal happiness she so longed for by her holy life. But that doesn’t make it any easier for us to understand. I am
praying very hard for Nick and baby Andrew, who I last remember celebrating with us in the Baume those wonderful August days. And I am already praying to Sonia’s intercession, and asking others to do the same. She was such a good friend to our family, and especially to Mom and Dad, Emily and Johnny.
I have memories of when she would come to eat with us when she was with Em at Montrose, how we would baptize her cars (!); visit her Dad’s gas station at the Lower Falls (and sometimes get discounts); Akeefella’s performance for her fundraising auction for the Orthodox seminary; her occassional visits to me and Johnny at Harvard to make sure I was surviving (which meant eating out); that December day I went to see Emily in the hospital when John Joseph was born and how Sonia came at the same time and the incredible joy and love she showed to Em and to all of us in celebrating the new baby; her always telling me with great pride how much she supported the Work with her prayer as a Cooperator, how much she prayed for me and for my vocation.
You can be sure that the prayers are being sent over the Atlantic at
rapid speed, from many in the Roman College.
February 24, 2008 at 11:01 am
Today’s Epistle reading (Jan. 24) brings comfort for us who mourn our precious friend, our shining light, who has been raised up and brought into His Presence, who has been taken from this earth into His mansions so that “as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.”
The reading is from Saint Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians. (II Cor. 4:6-15)
Brethren, it is God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasurer in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we too believed, and so we speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
February 24, 2008 at 11:43 am
There is so much to say.
My broken heart is relieved only through the knowledge that you now live with the One to whom you committed your earthly life. Thank you for being a friend and example to me. I will miss you dearly.
February 24, 2008 at 12:20 pm
Rebecca (Saad) Todora
Dn. Nick, Andrew, Daly, and Belcher families,
I wish I could share some words of comfort. Sonia was so many things–beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, and friend to so many. The sorrow of her loss has affected people around the world, and so many of us are heartbroken we cannot be there.
Sonia and I met years ago at the Village and I have so many memories, all of which include much laughter and joy. We referred to each other as S.I.T.s (sitty’s in training), and we took our training very seriously–enjoying every minute of it.
I remember one specific time when she and Gigi lived in the trailor and every once and a while, during our time off they, cooked for us–only we didn’t have any pots and pans, or normal “sitty equipment” so it was always a challenge. More than anything, I remember laughing.
Sonia was definitely someone whose happiness, joy, and faith was contagious. We lost touch. Sonia contacted me last year after hearing about my sister and offering her ear and prayers. Again, we picked up right where we left off. Soon thereafter I heard from a very excited Sonia about being three-months pregnant. She was so excited and I was beyond thrilled for her.
I am heartbroken for your loss. You are loved by so many and you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Rebecca & Doug Todora
February 24, 2008 at 4:01 pm
I am deeply saddened at the passing of Sonia. Though I did not know her well, I’ll always remember her grace, beauty, and kindness. I looked up to her as a true leader in the young Orthodox community. She was, and will remain an inspiration to us all.
I pray for her soul, and for Deacon Nick and baby Andrew at this very difficult time. May her memory be eternal.
February 24, 2008 at 4:49 pm
I will remember the young girl I had as a student in Church School, who knew the material as well as I did. She was a lovely graceful girl, who grew in the Lord and became a lovely graceful woman, who was fulfilled as a wife and a mother. When we last spoke recently after Liturgy, she was holding Andrew and we spoke of how he had grown in such a short time. I said he was feed with much love…. May everyone continue to tell him the stories of the lovely, smiling Sonia. My sympathy to Fr. Nick, Andrew, to the Daly and Belcher Families. My her memory be eternal!
February 24, 2008 at 6:01 pm
I knew Sonia as one of the trustees at #242 Jamaicaway, J.P., MA. She was dedicated to the needs of the association and helped everyone in such a wonderful manner. I want to express my sincere condolences to all her family members. My prayers are with you.
February 24, 2008 at 6:21 pm
The Lavelle Family
As your Charleston SC family, we grieve with you. John and I remember meeting Sonia at Clergy-Laity in Nashville 2 years ago. She was such a lovely lady. With your marriage to Sonia and the birth of Andrew, I would say that you were the happiest I have ever seen you. I regret not having the opportunity to really get to know Sonia. We were looking forward to the 3 of you visiting Charleston sometime in the future. Andrew Nicholas is blessed to have such a loving family. I know that God will provide for the 2 of you, although that is difficult to envision now. The Lavelle family offers our heartfelt condolences to you, Andrew, the Daly, and Belcher families. As John said when his first wife died and he was left with a 13 day old baby, “It was the will of God.” I pray that God will bring you peace!
John, Mary Lee, Paul, Christel, and Rachelle Lavelle
February 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm
Tricia Bowman Pietravalle
The last email exchange I had with your Mom went something like this:
“Andrew is wonderful – he’s coming into work with me every day, which I LOVE! Aren’t fat babies just the BEST? We can’t wait for Joseph and Andrew to meet one day!”
Andrew, your Mom was a true role model for me. I met her when I was 10 years old, and have looked up to her ever since. As an 8th grader at Montrose, I remember watching her walk into school (late!) with a briefcase! In it, she carried all her materials for the yearbook that she ran as Editor. I remember thinking ‘when I’m a senior, I want to work on the yearbook like Sonia!’.
As your Mom went on to work at various companies with my Dad (“Mr. B” as she called him!), I can remember always stopping by your Mom’s desk for a chat – you could always tell where her desk was… just follow her infectious laugh! I remember thinking to myself, ‘when I graduate from college, I want to be a successful a businesswoman like Sonia’.
Then your Mom met your Dad. I remember the first time she brought him over to meet my family. Will he pass “The Bowman Test”? Will he be good enough for OUR Sonia. Well, your Dad made your Mom smile like nobody I had ever seen before. Their relationship is a true reflection of their deep faith, and is an example to me and my husband.
Your Mom and I were co-chairs of the Alumnae Association for Montrose School. She taught me how to fund raise – how to express my love for my faith and my school both joyously and humbly. There’s something you should know about Montrose. Fr. Dick would ask all of us Montrosians this question: Why did God create us? The answer: To know Him, to love Him, to serve him on this earth, and to be HAPPY with Him forever in Heaven! Your Mom’s life is a road map to Heaven.
You were born just 2 months before my son Joseph. You two will be great friends – your Mom and I had it all planned out! In my last email to her, I asked her how she balances her work while bouncing you on her knee, as I’m hoping to do the same with Joseph. Now when looking for a response, or for further guidance on how to be a loving wife, mother, friend, professional, neighbor, Christian, I won’t look in my email inbox. I’ll get on my knees.
Your Mom was one of a kind, Andrew. And she is surely smiling from heaven every time you flash your toothless little grin!
February 24, 2008 at 6:30 pm
Dear Deacon Nicholas and Family,
I was not blessed to have met Sonia, but through what others have written about her, I can tell that she was a very special person.
When I look at the pictures of Deacon Nick, Sonia, Andrew, and friends on the website and read the beautiful messages that others have written, I am reminded of words that I heard at the Village from “Ummo” Tony Bashir. He said of the Icon of the Mother of God Eleousa (“Merciful”), “that icon is an example of how you are held, and how you can hold another.” Sonia is a woman that was fully aware of the reality that she was held by God, and she truly held many other people; now that God has lifted her up to Him, all those people whom she held—and even people who never even met her—are pulled closer to God too.
I thank you that you have given me the opportunity to “meet” Sonia through this website. May the Lord comfort you in this time of heartache and mourning—and in time, may He turn your sorrow into joy that will eclipse even the joy you had through knowing Sonia in this life.
February 24, 2008 at 7:28 pm
Nadine (Beshere) Adams
I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved Sonia. I first met Sonia back when she was about 10 years old, she was a sweet, beautiful young girl who was so loving from way back then. I remember coming to the Daly home to spend time with Jack and Al and all our friends, and Sonia and Tony were always playing together and trying to hang out with the big kids. Sonia would sit on my lap for hours and make me feel so special and welcome.
I am sorry I didn’t know her as an adult, because from what I can see she grew up to be one of God’s Angels. This is a tragic loss and I wish there were words to ease your pain.
May God be there to comfort you, give you strength and help you to make sense of something that seems to make no sense at all.
In one of the many messages on this website, a women offered something that makes sense to me. She said that God decided to bring one of his angels to be with him in Heaven, and he decided to take Sonia.
Take comfort in knowing she is in Heaven and with Our Father….
You are in our thoughts and prayers,
Nadine, my husband Tim and our 5 month old baby girl Brianna.
February 24, 2008 at 7:29 pm
Our thoughts are with the entire Daly/Belcher families. I can not believe that Sonia has fallen asleep. This world has truly lost an amazing person.
I will remember Sonia forever. She had that kind of impact on my life.
She always cared, and it always showed.
David and Megan Corey
February 24, 2008 at 9:32 pm
Dear Nick and Andrew,
It is with deepest saddness we learned of the passing of Sonia. Please know that you and your family our in our prayers and if you need anything please do not hesitate to ask. Sonia was a truly amazing woman and the world will not be the same without her.
You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Eric, Wendy, Noah, and Jonah Zolnak
February 24, 2008 at 9:48 pm
Anita Khoury Chamoun
To the Daly and Belcher Family, I am truly saddened to hear of the loss of Sonia. I remember meeting Jack, Albert & Judy at the Antiochian village in the 80’s .I still have very fond memories of you . I pray for you & your families now. May her memory be eternal….Love Anita Chamoun
February 24, 2008 at 9:57 pm
Norman & Kim Beshere
Our love goes out to the Daly and Belcher Family. We have been blessed to be a part of your lives and in knowing Sonia. Norman has wonderful memories of growing up and I first met Sonia at Jack and Albert’s 30th birthday party and Sonia was loving, inviting and kind. We are truly saddened by this tragic loss. We will keep you in our prayers and although Sonia is no longer with you in body she will always be by your sides throught your lives in spirit. Becoming the angel with god that she was on earth….with great love, Norman and Kim Beshere,
February 24, 2008 at 9:59 pm
You will always know your mother through her legacy and the people who knew her and loved her. I have known thousands of Orthodox Christians, but none who were more enthusiastic about the Church or more enthusiastic about Orthodox Education as your mother. The joy she had for her faith and of all of God’s children is unparalleled. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and you tasted God’s love when you were in her presence.
When I first heard about your mother, I had a difficult time making it through my day. I finally found solace when I prayed for her from the general prayer for the departed: “Shelter her in a place of brightness, a place of verdure, a place of repose, whence all sickness, sorrow and sighing have fled away, and where the sight of thy countenance rejoiceth all thy Saints from all ages.” It was the word “Saints” that gave me an ounce of piece, because I formed an image of Sonia with all the saints she had prayed to, venerated and honored. It was then that I realized that I did not lose a friend, and you did not lose a mother, but we have gained an intercessor.
May her memory be eternal.
All our love to you, your father, and your whole family,
Mark, Sarah and Elias Najjar
February 24, 2008 at 10:56 pm
Fr. Philip Zymaris
Dear Deacon Nicholas,
It is with great sorrow and shock that we heard the news of Sonya’s passing away. This is an unspeakable loss for you and Andrew but also for the school and the Church at large. As we all know, she was a person totally dedicated to her God, her Church and family and friends. The school has been especially struck by this news and we have been doing a trisagion service at every service in the chapel; one can feel that she is constantly on everyone’s minds and prayers. Even the sermons given during this period have referred to her. One of them rightly referred to her being part of the Church triumphant where she is now praying for us. May her example and memory be eternal.
Fr. Philip Zymaris, Xenia and children
February 24, 2008 at 11:37 pm
Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit
Dear Deacon Nicholas and Andrew,
The Metropolis Clergy, the Metropolitan Council, and all the faithful join me in expressing our sorrow at the falling asleep of Sonia. We all know her as a unique individual who was always loving and kind towards the people she worked with … and respectful and responsible in her
Christian faith. She is sorely missed.
Tomorrow we will join you in prayer from our Metropolis Chapel asking for God’s love and forgiveness upon Sonia, and His mercy and grace upon you. May God grant you His divine consolation in this difficult period.
May Sonia be remembered forever!
With paternal prayers and love,
+Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit
February 25, 2008 at 1:06 am
The first time I talked to Sonia was at the Pittsburgh airport inside TGI Fridays. All my friends had left on earlier flights back home, we had just finished our meetings at the Village, my flight wasn’t until much later and so I decided to grab a snack, when I walked in I noticed Sonia was sitting alone, and I knew she had been at the village, I walked up, introduced myself and we sat together. She was one of the warmest people I had ever met. I felt like I was sitting with an old friend. I remember even joking with her that I wanted her to marry my brother.. I wanted her to be a part of my family…
Since then I have had the privilege of having many conversations with Sonia at various Conventions and conferences. I even interviewed her for the 35th Anniversary Video of Teen SOYO. Sonia was truly an amazing women. I have sat at my computer for 3 days staring at her photo in complete shock, In utter disbelief that this amazing, faithful women has departed this life. There are no words that can express how great Sonia was, she will be missed, but never forgotten.
To her family, Dn. Nick, and precious Andrew you will be in my thoughts and prayers. May Sonia rest in peace, and may her Memory be Eternal
All My love,
Toronto, Ontario Canada
February 25, 2008 at 2:20 am
Julia Mason Wickes
I did not know Sonia well during my two short years in Boston (2001-2003), but I remember her radiance and regal beauty so vividly. I remember having lunch with her at Shwarma King in Brookline, where all the staff knew her name, lit up when she walked in, and knew that she liked her order made specially with pickles. As a newcomer to Boston, I was so impressed with the city both for its personality and vibrancy, and I remember thinking that Sonia embodied those same qualities– that she was a true, true Bostonian. She told me that any time she traveled her favorite part of the journey was flying back and spotting the Citgo sign or the Charles River from the plane, she loved Boston so much. I can only imagine her love for Nicholas and her baby boy, and the thought of her death is simply unbelievable. I am so sad for the terrible pain of separation that her family, friends, and the larger Orthodox community in Boston and beyond will now experience, although I believe that, in Christ, her death is and will continue to be infinitely meaningful.
February 25, 2008 at 2:24 am
As I write this comment from many miles away, I am still in a state of disbelief… I knew the amazing Sonia Daly many years ago… My memories of her are so fond… I remember being so excited at finally finding another Arabic speaker amongst all the Greeks! As I got to know Sonia more and more, my awe simply grew- she was an inspiring person! She moved with grace and her aura was that of love. One of the things that amazed me so much about her was that she knew everyone! Meeting her just once you felt that you knew her! I remember once commenting to Sonia asking how many of her there were? She said what do you mean? I laughed and told her you are everywhere! It is awesome! That is what you call presence!
Seven years ago I moved to Cairo, and only saw Sonia and various visits back home. I never met Deacon Nick or Andrew- my memories of Sonia were of the fresh college student and graduate and worker and minister… But I know how amazing you must be by simply having been in such close proximity to a phenomenal woman! Sonia accomplished in 32 years, what many fail to accomplish in several lifetimes over!
Life has taught me that God’s wisdom truly surpasses all our worries and pain… He does love us more that we can even begin to comprehend- and though we continue to question things in this life and wonder how and why… He always surprises us! and always for the BEST…
May Her memory be eternal, as she is in a place where there is no pain, sorrow, or suffering…. May God grant her family strength and patience of heart to continue without her physical presence… and May she continue to teach us how a Christ-like life truly should be!
February 25, 2008 at 8:40 am
Fr Athanasius Akunda
It is with depeest sorrow to lear of the sudden passing on of our friend and sister Sonia. Snia was so loving and hospitable. I was blessed to meet her this January during my short visit to Holy Cross. From Metropolis of Johannesburg and Pretoria esp the Petros Vii theological seminary we send our condolences to Sonia family. Sonia you nwere agreat help to many foreign students who came to Holy cross, we will never forget you.
Thank you for being a good sister and friend to me saince we met at the Antivhian village several years ago. May the Lord granmt you rest but for sure your memory will remain eternal.
February 25, 2008 at 9:47 am
My heart goes out to you and your beautiful son. I have had the pleasure of working together with Sonia for many years. As she began her role as Director of Marketing, we were so excited about the future of HCHC. We could hardly wait to get started!
In this time of grief, our entire community has come together as one. I thought to myself how nice it would be if we could all continue with this behavior, put aside our differences, focus on what is truly important in life, and cherish each moment we have together here, for just one more day….. one more day… Be nice to each other, be kind to each other, respect each other, just for one more day. We all wish we had one more day to spend with her.
My love and prayers are with you.
February 25, 2008 at 9:55 am
Dn. Nick, Andrew, Daly and Belcher families
Sonia is a blessing for us all. We pray that these words be true for her:
‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master”.
Christ is risen.
February 25, 2008 at 10:23 am
Anthony & Aly Moses
Sonia’s life was a lesson in the Orthodox faith for us; of kindness, compassion, and love. She was teaching all who paid attention through her works & deeds. Her accomplishments and relationships she has formed, with so many people, in her short life are truly breath taking. She was so many things to our family.
May her examples live on through all of us.
Anthony & Alyson Moses
February 25, 2008 at 10:31 am
I had the pleasure of knowing Sonia at Montrose…she was in the class behind me. I remember her laugh and how it would always get everyone going. If you were having a bad day or having a difficult time, Sonia was always there to cheer you up. She was always an extremely positive person.
My father is a member of Sonia’s church (St. George’s) and I remember Sonia and I walking around one of the annual bizaar to all the little tables., laughing and having fun.
Unfortunately, I lost touch with Sonia after Montrose. However, I have been reading about all her accomplishments and I am very impressed yet not surprised at how successful she has been, professionally, spiritually and with family/friends.
Sonia was a wonderful person and will be greatly missed. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
February 25, 2008 at 10:44 am
Fr. Christos and Presbytera Mari Mars
I remember Sonia’s smiling face. I remember Sonia’s laugh. I remember Sonia’s sense of humor. I remember Sonia’s kindness. I remember Sonia’s devotion to the Church, and to God.
I remember chatting with Sonia in her office so many times about the things we had in common… wedding plans, being godparents, being newlyweds, wanting kids, church, God. I remember telling her that when people asked me “what I wanted to be when I grew up,” I’d say “Sonia Belcher!” And though it was a joke, it was true, because I admired her so greatly. She was such a wonderful role model and example for all of us. She was a dedicated servant of Christ and His Church. She was devoted to working with the youth… the future of the Church.
Dear Dn. Nick and Andrew,
Fr. Christos and I were so devastatingly sad to learn of Sonia’s passing. We both had no words… only tears. And yet, they are tears of bittersweetness, because while we are sad that Sonia left behind so many who loved her so greatly, we know that Sonia is praying for you now, and for all of us. She ministered to all of us in life. And now she ministers to us even still. It was a great blessing to have had the opportunity to know Sonia, and to be inspired by her. We are praying fervently for you and your families, and we rejoice in the memory of Sonia’s life. She is worthy of blessedness. She is worthy to enter the kingdom of God. May God’s mercy and love comfort you in this most difficult of times. And may Sonia’s memory be eternal.
We will always remember Sonia’s love… We wish we could be there with you to celebrate her. We are praying for her here, and for you.
With much, much love in Christ,
Fr. Christos and Presbytera Mari Mars
February 25, 2008 at 1:05 pm
I have just returned from The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch Governing Council meeting in Miami, and everyone there was profoundly shocked and saddened about the loss of Sonia. It is a testament to Sonia that every person there knew her, loved her, was touched by her, and grieves deeply for her loss. We remembered her in our opening prayer. Metropolitan Philip remembered her in Sunday’s liturgy. May her memory be eternal.
February 25, 2008 at 2:48 pm
Dear Dn. Nick, Andrew, and the family of Sonia the Angel,
I did not know Sonia in Person , but I always see her in Church, sitting like an Angel, with a smile on her beautiful face, I always had a feeling that this lady is an angel.
When I saw her in Church holding her baby between her arms, I felt like St. Mary is covering her and her baby with sooo much faith and love.
I am sooooo sorry for her loss, I am deeply sorry her loss.
May God be with you all , and may her memory be eternal.
February 25, 2008 at 2:53 pm
allah yerhama wya di3n chababa wallah ysaber ahla
February 25, 2008 at 3:19 pm
Sonia was the life and light of Montrose.
February 25, 2008 at 3:39 pm
Dear Dn Nick, Andrew, the Daly and Belcher families,
Sonia touched so many people in so many ways…we are truly blessed just to have known her.
Her memory will live on and we will never forget her, allah yerhama! Our prayers are always with you and your family!
Amal Michael and Family
February 25, 2008 at 5:58 pm
Fr. Samer and Julianna Youssef
My beloved Dn. Nicholas:
Christ is in our midst! He is and ever shall be.
On behalf of the parishioners of the Church of the Redeemer and my small family, Kh. julianna, Dimitry, Damian and Dominic I would like to offer my sincer sympathy to you your beloved son Andrew and to the Daly and Belcher families.
I have known Sonia since 1994 when I started the seminary at Holy Cross School of theology. She was so helpful to us as seminerians. She used to take us in her car to attend church services at the Antiochian Churches in the area. It was such a joy to have her around. I believe that God put her in our life to encourage us to continue our education to serve Him.
Sonia will always be in our prayers and we ask our Lord Jesus Christ to keep her family in peace and give them strength to keep going on trusting in Him and His Love. Sonia will always be remembered for her smile and her giving that which was always Godly Love.
Sonia will always be remembered for her charitable work for the poor and the needy.
Sonia will always be remmebered for her sacrifices she has made to her brothers and Sisters in Christ.
May our Lord, Jesus Christ give rest to her soul in a place of brightness, a place of verdure, a place of repose, whence all sickness, sorrow, and sighing have fled away.
Love in Christ,
Fr. Samer Youssef and Family
February 25, 2008 at 6:42 pm
I am sorry to hear of your loss. I regret that I never had chance to meet your lovely wife. If there is anything I can do please do not hesitate to ask. My email is attached.
Citadel class of 97
February 25, 2008 at 7:02 pm
Sonia led a more beautiful life then anyone I have ever known. During that life time she cared for, loved and touched more people then any I have ever known. Part of this is because she more people then any one too. This is all because of her Zeal for Christ. This is what her relationships, goals and ambitions were all based on.
She was at every NER SOYO event I attended. Thank you Sonia for the example you have given us to live by.
Please intercede before the throne of our God for Your Husband, Son and all of us. That we may finish the work you have started and join you in the kingdom.
February 25, 2008 at 8:29 pm
I met Sonia more than 10 years ago through Fr. Michael and Vicki Nasser at Antiochian Village. Hearing their stories of Sonia and then finally meeting her, I was struck by how mature and wise she was at such a young age.
Our paths crossed again 5 years ago, when she and Sylvia Araj showed up at the DOWMA Teen Soyo retreat hosted by St. George, Houston to promote Holy Cross Seminary and to help chaperone. Sonia and I roomed together that weekend. I was afraid she might not remember me, but as many of you have stated she knew no strangers, only friends.
I last saw Sonia carry the icon down the aisle at Sylvia and Michael’s wedding, and I saw that picture included on this website.
My husband, Andy, and I were shocked to learn the news that Sonia had fallen asleep in the Lord.
Our heartfelt prayers are for Deacon Nicholas, Andrew, Sonia’s mother and father, the community of St. George, the community of Holy Cross Seminary, her siblings, her family and her friends.
“…beseech thee also to grant that our present lives may be godly, sober and blameless, that, we too may be made worthy to enter into thy heavenly Kingdom with those we love but see no longer…”
May the memory of Sonia be eternal.
Christi, Andy and Nicholas Ghiz
February 25, 2008 at 8:54 pm
James & Sallie(Ellison) LaRocco
Dn. Nicholas, Andrew, and the Daly family,
Our prayers and thoughts are with you all. We can only extend our deepest sympathy in this awful time.
May her memory be eternal, her child be protected and blessed, and her love continue to be evident in your lives!
Christ is Risen!
James, Sallie, Cody, Sofia, and Gigi LaRocco
February 25, 2008 at 9:17 pm
Fr. Gregory and Nancy Long
Dear Deacon Nicholas and the Daly and Belcher Families,
We would like to add our deepest sympathy and prayers to all of those here. It is so clear by the outpouring of love and sympathy that Sonia was an extraordinary part of an extraordinary family.
As is the case with all of the righteous ones – the saints – who have fallen asleep in the Lord, it is up to the rest of us to learn from Sonia’s example and to do what we can to honor her memory and to continue to serve our Lord as she did. May we all do so as faithfully and enthusiastically as she did!
May God keep, protect, and comfort you in this time and at all times, and may Sonia’s memory be eternal.
With love in Christ, who is our God and our sure hope,
Fr. Gregory, Kh. Nancy, and Maria Long
February 25, 2008 at 9:28 pm
Nick, I wish I knew Sonia. Reading about her here made me realize that she was truly an angel here on earth. She has done so many good things here and can do so much more now. I know she will comfort you and your son and make things right with time.
I am praying for you and your family,
Citadel Class of ’97
February 25, 2008 at 9:35 pm
I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your son. If you need anything, please feel free to contact me anytime.
Marc R. Hall
Class of 1997
February 25, 2008 at 9:51 pm
Fr. Joshua and Kh.Tammy Makoul
To Fr. Dcn. Nick and young Andrew,
I had believed that I had been aware and grasped just how much Sonia loved others. However it was not until recently that I realized the true extent of her mindfulness of friends and her love. Indeed it seems as though a veil has been lifted and the true scope and range of her love revealed to all.
To become the founder of a school and a dean of an orthodox seminary by the age of 32 is incredible, but this is not to mention the impact she had upon upon the hundreds of souls she encountered and that fell into her embrace. It would not be exaggeration to say that Sonia’s life contained more good deeds than the lives of ten people. Sonia was ever ready to become that proverbial mother hen to all orthodox who passed through Boston. Yet even when those people had to leave or return to their home cities, Sonia reached them even there, and was present at their own family life events. Sonia’s love and care knew no geographical boundaries. We would be fooling ourselves to believe that the boundary between heaven and earth could be a barrier even now.
I do not believe that anyone has mention Sonia’s habits when laughing.
(Laughter for Sonia was always just under the surface and readily engaged in as breathing). Sonia would often bounce off the back of her seat when beginning to laugh while sitting, while standing she would often drop to the floor and then suddenly spring back up when breaking out in laughter. Perhaps Andrew will inherit these traits.
I first met Sonia in Boston in September of 1995 when arriving at the Holy Cross Seminary. I was very quiet, shy, and reserved. However Sonia persistently refused to give up on getting me to go out and ultimately she prevailed and had a huge impact on my life. Boston won’t be the same without her there. It seems that the world itself could not contain Sonia’s ever growing and expanding love that knew no bounds.
Deacon Nick and Andrew, May Christ’s peace and grace fill you and surround you.
With much love in Christ,
Fr. Joshua, Kh. Tammy, Marina, & Anna Makoul
February 25, 2008 at 9:54 pm
My deepest sympathies go out to your entire family. I never had the privilige of meeting Sonia but did know of her from her brothers Jack and Albert from attending the summer camp at the village.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to you all
Joseph and Betsy Khouzami
February 25, 2008 at 10:23 pm
Matt & Alaina King
Deacon Nick, Andrew & the Daly and Belcher Families,
We are so sorry to hear of the falling asleep of Sonia. We remember her always smiling, with amazing warmth and kindness. She was a great example to us of putting her faith into action. We feel very blessed to have known her. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire family.
With much love,
Matthew & Alaina (DeVasto) King
East Lyme, CT
February 25, 2008 at 10:53 pm
Although we did not know each other well, I had the opportunity to greet Sonia and you when you came several times at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn to pray with us. Sonia witnessed Christ in her works by founding the theophany school so that the children would learn about Christ. She did what many of us are lazy to do. I hope that we all continue to carry the torch of light that Sonia started and support her work while she looks from heaven and pray for us.
My sympathy goes to you, Andrew and the loving parents.
May her memory be eternal,
February 25, 2008 at 11:12 pm
I am overflowing with respect for you and know that I will never forget your eulogy today. I cannot remember ever witnessing so much faith and love in the face of such unspeakable tragedy and injustice. There is no question in my mind that Sonia was there in that church with us and that she was overjoyed by every word that you spoke to her. I doubt there was a single person that couldn’t feel it. It was yet another clear affirmation of why she chose you as the love of her life. I am certain that there is no way that you could have made Sonia any prouder. I have long been inspired by Sonia’s faith and by her very real and unpretentious living of it. Today, you were her perfect mirror and I found it extremely inspiring.
February 26, 2008 at 12:17 am
Omar & Lillian Rihani
Dearest Dn. Nick, Baby Andrew and Belcher/Daly families,
We were at a loss for words on Thursday when we heard the news of Sonia’s passing. Baby Andrew, we are devastated that you will never personally know how wonderful your mother truly was. Dn. Nick, reflect back on your beautiful marriage and time together and hold those memories close to your heart. She was a wonderful icon of our Orthodox faith and touched everyone she knew. Sonia may your memory be eternal.
Love, Omar & Lillian Rihani
February 26, 2008 at 12:18 am
Deacon Nicholas, baby Andrew and the Daly and Belcher Families:
Every time I sit down at a restaurant I bless myself and think of Sonia.
I met Sonia for the first time 12 years ago when I wrote the story about her vision and its realization through Theophany School.
We met a year later for lunch to celebrate the School’s first anniversary.
I remember sitting at a table at the Harvard Club with Nick Kourtis as Sonia led us in prayer and blessed herself. Afterward, I told her that while I pray and bless myself at home, I had not done so in a restaurant. Inspired by her example, I now do so.
Last April, the School marked its tenth anniversary and I was given a third opportunity to write that story.
I am humbled and blessed to have met Sonia and been able to put my words about her beloved school in print.
I know you will miss her physical presence beyond belief. So will we all.
God bless you,
February 26, 2008 at 12:37 am
A church overflowing today and a continuous scroll-down on this website is testimony to the impact that Sonia has had on so many people in so many places.
When I first met your wife, your daughter, your mother, your sister Sonia, I remember noticing that she stood out as someone who really knew who she was, and what she was here to do. She had her eyes on God and didn’t waste her time looking anywhere else. Her energy, commitment, faith, and strength have inspired so many people.
What a blessing that so many other people also got a chance to know who Sonia was.
Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Daly, for the gifts you have shared with us through your daughter’s presence.
Deacon Nick, where words indeed are inadequate, you spoke today with eloquence, strength, and faith.
Little Andrew, you have inherited beautiful traits from two beautiful people. May you know that your mother loves you and is with you.
I pray for your continued strength and faith.
Love in Christ,
February 26, 2008 at 9:08 am
Deacon Nicholas, Andrew, Daly and Belcher Families,
My thoughts and prayers are with you. I met Sonia, thirteen years ago when she and I worked together for an educational software company. When I joined the company, she was one of the first people to greet me and make me feel welcome. I remember how impressed I was with her knowledge of Greek phrases, which she demonstrated immediately after we met.
I will never forget her kindness. She truly was a good person who only saw good in others. She was a community builder and she knew how to do that well. She valued her friendships and family more than anything. She led a wonderful example to all of us. She has touched and helped so many. It is hard to say goodbye.
I miss you Sonia.
February 26, 2008 at 10:06 am
Fr. Ted Pulcini
Dear Deacon Nicholas and all those of the Daly and Belcher families,
I have met few people with more zest for life and zeal for Orthodoxy than Sonia. It therefore seems so unthinkable for me to be offering you these condolences on her repose; she was one of those people who simply seemed beyond the reach of death.
My interactions with Sonia centered on the YAL Retreat held at Holy Cross in September 2006. She called to ask me to be the speaker. At the beginning of our conversation, I gave her a direct “no” for an answer, being as direct as I could. By the end of the conversation, I was making arrangements for my trip to Boston and profusely thanking her for asking me to deliver the keynote. Her way of dealing with people was magical! And the source of that magic was a love of the Church that no one could contest or withstand. Such was the power of the Spirit at work in and through her.
Now she reposes in that Spirit, rejoicing in the presence of her God and being comforted by the love generated by our continuing prayers and communicated to her by the Spirit. She certainly is among those who “being perfected in a short time … fulfilled long years, for their souls were pleasing to the Lord” (Wisdom 4:13-14).
May she find rest in the bosom of Abraham, and may God’s consolation be with you and all your family.
–Fr. Ted Pulcini
February 26, 2008 at 10:15 am
Sonia was the first person to whom I talk to before entering Holy Cross. She was very pleasant and that encouraged me to come at Holy Cross.
Even though I never knew her closer, she was always nice and always joyful. I and my family were in shock hearing that she passed away. Deacon Nick and Andrew and Daly family please accept our condolences.
February 26, 2008 at 11:02 am
Dear Deacon Nicholas and Family,
I had the pleasure of meeting you and Sonia at the CrossRoad Parents Weekend last September. I was in awe of the love, respect, faith and charisma which radiated all around the room whenever you were together. You were about to become parents, and there I was – a parent of three teenagers desperate for an instruction manual on how to deal with them! I learned so much that weekend. The deep commitment and passion you both shared in educating our orthodox youth has been an inspiration to me.
I thank you for this.
May Sonia’s memory be eternal.
Brooklyn, New York
February 26, 2008 at 11:14 am
There’s not much I can add to all the beautiful things everyone has already said. I met Sonia in the summer of 1996 at the Antiochian Village, and though I didn’t know her well or for a long time, it has been wonderful to get to know her through the words of so many others. I was completely shocked to hear of her passing on the archdiocese website, but I know she is with Christ, excitedly chatting with the saints she loves so much.
Mark & Christina Kinan,
February 26, 2008 at 11:15 am
To Deacon Nicholas & Andrew, and Alberto, Mona & family,
I offer to you all my deepest sympathies at the falling asleep of our dear Sonia, and pray that God will comfort you all with the hope of the resurrection.
Sonia was one of my pride and joy teens when I was in Boston. During the latter part of my 9 years there, I was talking with all of the Orthodox, trying to figure out how we could start an Orthodox school system there. We kept talking in the early 90’s, but nothing ever came of it. When I left in 1995, Sonia was 18 years old. The next year, she called me and told me that she was starting an Orthodox school system; that she had obtained some funding, a place (I think it was St. John’s in Dedham), and families committed to make it work. I was amazed that a 19 year old not only heard the message and saw the need, but was able and willing to actually do something about it. And now, it has turned into such a beautiful Theophany School for our young people.
May God rest her soul with the saints in heaven, and grant you all long life! With much love…
February 26, 2008 at 11:20 am
Sally and Dr. Paul K.
When you are old enough to read this, you will read hundreds of messages telling you how great your mom was. It’s all so true. Unfortunately, what you will not read — because it can’t be put into words — is seeing and feeling the profound love your parents had for each other. It was something that was evident by just looking at them: that glow, that romance, that two people who complete each other and respect each other have. Something that few couples achieve.
I knew your mom a short time, while me and my husband were living in Boston, and we were pregnant at the same time (my son, Stephen, is just a few months younger than you). We met through a wonderful young adults group at St. George: Religion on Tap. One of my fondest memories is when Sonia could already feel you kicking but i couldn’t feel my son yet. She wanted to show me, and so Dn. Nick put his hand on her belly, and almost on queue, as if you could feel his presence, you started kicking wildly. We all giggled with glee, and your parents gazed into each other’s eyes.
Again, their love. It was so beautiful. Sonia made the world a better place, and I was so proud that a fellow Lebanese American woman had accomplished as much as she did. She was the epitomy of an Orthodox Christian woman and her faith, strength and joy will be remembered forever. I will never, ever forget her. Love, Sally, Paul and Stephen in Seattle
February 26, 2008 at 11:56 am
Dear Dn Nicholas,
After reading the words of so many others on this site, I know that there is nothing new I can say about Sonia. I can only reiterate what so many have said, that every time I saw her, I was blessed by her energy, joy and faith. I always thought our paths were crossing “by chance,” but it was surely no accident. I join with everyone else in rejoicing over such a beautiful person and in offering my prayers for her soul and for God’s comfort for you and Andrew.
With much love from your friend,
February 26, 2008 at 12:52 pm
Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis
Dear Dn. Nicholas,
I knew Sonia ten years ago when I was at the Seminary. She struck me as one of those people that was “too good to be true.” There just aren’t very many people like her in the world which is what made her so special. She epitomized everything that is good about our church, our faith, and our humanity. She was a shining example of living the way God intended for us to live–good natured, funny, but always having God at the head of her life. I was shocked and saddened to hear of her passing. My first thought was the passage which reads, “Do not forget to entertain strangers for by so doing, some have unwittingly entertained angels.” (Hebrews 13:2) Indeed it was as if we got to see an angel in our presence–I am so sad for you that she could not have been here longer. We chanted a memorial service for her in our parish this past Sunday and many people down here are praying for her and for you and your son. May God give you strength and bless you and your son. May her memory be eternal!
+Father Stavros, Presbytera Lisa and Nicholas Akrotirianakis
St. John Greek Orthodox Church, Tampa, FL
February 26, 2008 at 3:55 pm
Fr. Peter & Kh. Pamela Nugent
By the grace of God, you have forever changed our lives, introducing us to one another at St. John of Damascus Church in Dedham, Massachusetts, while I was in seminary and Pamela was living in Weymouth. God has blessed us with two wonderful and beautiful children, who are the joys of our life.
Our life has been indelibly marked by your presence.
Remember us; pray for us. We shall remember and pray for you.
We’ll see you soon.
Christ is risen!
Fr. Peter & Pam Nugent
February 26, 2008 at 7:19 pm
Stephen and Stephanie Saber
To the Deacon Nick, Andrew, the Daly, and the Belcher Family.
There are no words that we can write that can make any sense of something that simply does not make sense.
There are no words that we can say.
She was an amazing person who embodied everything that was important in life. These past few days, we were in awe looking back at someone who accomplished so much in what she gave back to this world and the people in it in 32 short years. She embodied the phrase “give unto others” in a way that has almost been lost in the world we live in.
Her drive to accomplish the un-accomplishable. Her mission to give back more than she received. Her love for everyone she came into contact with. Her strength to push beyond what anyone thought was accomplishable.
There are good people. There are great people. And then there are those people for whom there are no words to describe. Knowing Sonia from the time she was just a child, she one of those people.
Our thoughts and prayers remain with you.
February 26, 2008 at 7:31 pm
Fr. Gabriel & Kh. Cindy Bullock
I first met Dn. Nicholas Belcher during my last year at St. Vladimir’s. It was his first year at the seminary. Kh. Cindy and I used to love for Nick to come around; there was such decency and honesty about him. We always prayed that Nick would find a woman to marry that would equal his stellar qualities. After I garduated from the seminary and was assigned to serve the parish in Myrtle Beach, SC, Nick and I stayed in touch via telephone. I can remember when he first brought up the name of Sonia. Kh. Cindy and I were so excited to meet the woman who had captured Nick’s heart. We first met Sonia when she came down with Nick’s family to Myrtle Beach for Christmas 2005. We loved her immediately. She was so vivacious and full of light. She was a joy to be around. We had never seen Nick so happy. We would sit and listen with rapt attention to all of her many activties and bask in the glow of her company. We were so happy for Nick and we were so happy that Sonia was getting Nick. The next time we visited with Nick and Sonia was last summer in Monteral at the convention. She was pregnant and lovlier than ever. We enjoyed every moment we had with her. Although, our time with Sonia was short, we will never forget her radiance and light, which will be with us forever. Our prayers and love are with her as I know that she praying for all of us.
To our beloved Dn. Nick,
Know that we are always there for you. If there is anything we can do, please call on us. We are praying for you and little Andrew.
In Christ’s Love,
Fr. Gabriel and Kh. Cindy Bullock
February 26, 2008 at 7:48 pm
Yesterday I was deeply moved, and forever changed. At the close of the funeral service, we left the church singing Christ is Risen, in English, Arabic and Greek. Hand in hand we all stood, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Seminarians and the People. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, the warmth embraced us all. Just how Sonia would have wanted it to be.
May we all be blessed with the courage to fulfill Sonia’s dreams and the wisdom and strength to continue her ministry.
Deacon Nick and sweet baby Andrew you will always be in my prayers.
Sonia I will miss you,
February 26, 2008 at 8:35 pm
Kathryn (Hobbs) Owens
I first met Sonia while at the Antiochian Village, and was blessed to share brief periods of time with her during visits to Boston. She was a wonderful person who was always interested in knowing how others were doing, and what was happening in our lives. At every encounter, she would name many of our common friends that she had not seen recently, and truly wanted to know how each of them were doing. I always felt she was such a genuine friend, and my heart breaks each time I think about her passing. I find comfort in the words others have shared about her, and I am inspired by her life.
My thoughts and prayers are with her family. May her memory be eternal.
Kathryn (Hobbs) Owens and family
February 26, 2008 at 9:05 pm
Khara-Maria, Daniel and Peter Kalamaras
Dear Deacon Nicholas, Andrew, The Daly Family, and The Belcher Family,
I met Sonia through my brother Konstantine Salmas–Sonia would come and stay with my family on her business trips from time to time and immediately I felt that she was a part of the family and we became friends. Although we are the same age, I looked to her for advice. One piece of advice she gave me so many years back has still stuck with me…”When you are anxious or worried about anything, work it into a ball and throw it up to God and when you feel He has caught it, let go and trust in Him.” This has helped me so often and have always thought of her when it came to mind and will continue to think of her, only each time I have a ball to throw up to God now, Sonia will be with God smiling as He catches it…which is an extra touch of comfort.
Especially in the past two years it has been so wonderful to hear Konstantine shout through my parents house when there was news from Sonia….”Sonia’s engaged!”, “Sonia and Nick’s wedding was beautiful…, “Sonia and Nick are pregnant!”, “Sonia and Nick had the baby!”, “I am meeting Sonia and Nick for coffee at Starbucks”, and then to hear more news of Sonia but this time coupled with words of shock and sadness has been more than difficult to process.
So I will throw this ball of sadness and shock to God and believe that Sonia’s joyful soul will be next to our Lord Jesus Christ as He catches it.
I love you Sonia…
February 26, 2008 at 9:43 pm
These past days I have visited this site, reading so many people’s beautiful comments about Sonia, and not sure if I should write anything. So many people knew Sonia much, much better than I, and can offer you much more than I can. Yet, in reading their words, they remind me that no one was a stranger to Sonia.
Sonia and I spent two weeks together in January 2002, my second year at Hellenic College. Sonia had recently taken the position of Co-Director of Admissions at HC/HC. As had been part of the Office of Admissions programs for the previous few years, they had planned a “Winter Tour”- several students would travel to various parishes, talking up the school and looking to recruitment of new students. That winter, the Tour was planned for two groups to visit the Atlanta Diocese (still a diocese at that time), one group going exclusively to parishes in central/south Florida. Being from that area, I guess, I was selected to go with 3 other students, with Sonia as our fearless leader.
The other 3 students were all male, so Sonia and I were the only girls. As a result, we were together 24/7. I’d be lying if I said that we got along perfectly. Sonia and I being very different people, and especially in such close quarters, naturally brew some tension from time to time. A “morning person” myself since childhood, I can recall some very frustrating mornings trying to coax Sonia out of bed! In retrospect, of course, I am honored to have spent those two weeks with her (which included, among other things, one very interesting afternoon of karaoke).
As I mentioned, Sonia and I were very different people, she being so outgoing and social, and I typically described as shy, quiet, “doesn’t hardly talk”. I will never forget something she said to me on that trip. She told me how she wished she could be more like me, quiet and not talking all the time. I remember thinking how crazy that sounded- why would a person so gifted in engaging others ever want to be like me?? But what it meant for me was that, just as I see the grass as always greener on the other, more talkative side, she wanted me to know that the reverse is also true, and that, just as there is value in talking, there is also value in letting other people do the talking so that you can listen. As someone who is often teased about being quiet, I assure you that no one in my entire life besides Sonia has ever said such a thing to me.
Several years ago, during your engagement I believe, you and Sonia were visiting family in West Virginia- please forgive me for not recalling the particulars. What she didn’t know was that she would run into my paternal grandmother, Mary Balasis (since gone to her eternal rest), and my aunt, Markella Gianato, running a deli/luncheonette in the little town of Kimball, where they’ve lived for over 40 years.
Having been not much more than friendly acquaintances at HC/HC, I had not kept in touch with Sonia since graduating in 2004. Out of the blue one day, I received an e-mail from her, relating to me the story of your visit, with a photo attached of you both with my grandmother and aunt in the deli. I laughed at how strangely small the world is sometimes!
This part of our small world prays with so many others for the peaceful repose of Sonia’s soul and for our merciful God to comfort and strengthen her husband, son, and family.
February 26, 2008 at 10:42 pm
Dear Deacon Nicholas, Andrew, The Daly Family and Belcher Family,
The sadness that fills my heart for your loss is indescribable. I am profoundly heartbroken and find myself asking God everyday WHY?
From the first day this site was put into place, I have sat, read and reflected. So many beautiful things said about such a wonderful women. I first met Sonia when I was 6 years old. My Family would often visit Boston and being part of the same extended family, I would often see her but was too shy to approach her. As the years went by I would hear of the great things that this Sonia was accomplishing through relatives, and thought to myself what a wonderful person. I few years ago my cousin married Tony and I had the chance to spend more time with the Daly Family. I was also given more opportunities to get to know Sonia through herself as well as her family members. She was a genuine person who always spoke her mind. Her smile would brighten up a room and the love and dedication for her family would make you feel unworthy of your own.
But the past several days have turned my life around. I have learned more of Sonia through the various postings and find myself logging in every night to read more and learn more of this lovely soul. I am in awe of her and her accomplishments and can proudly say that I knew Sonia Belcher. The funeral service that was given was very moving and the eulogies were very comforting.
On our long ride back home to Canada, my brother and I spoke of her for hours. I had time to reflect, and decided that like His Eminence Metropolitan Maximo, I was going to continue what Sonia believed in. Not necessarily to the extent that she did but in my own personal way. A way that will better me as a person. And that is when I decided that I was going to challenge everyone who knew her to do the same. Find a way to better yourself, whether it is trough love, helping praying, giving. There are endless ways, to help keep Sonia’s legacy going.
To my dear Andrew,
I must say that you are a very lucky boy, for you will be able to say that Sonia Belcher is your Mom. Also you are blessed to have a family that will shower you with the same love, affection and support that they did for your Mother. When you sit and read all these lovely memories, you will notice that many people will have written of how much your mother has touched them in her short lived life but I hope that when you are old enough to understand and listen, people will tell you how much your mother continues to better their lives through her memory.
May God Bless you all
And May Her Memory be Eternal
February 26, 2008 at 11:55 pm
This I write to my beloved Sonia, her eternal companion in life – Deacon Nick, and their son in the Lord Andrew.
As I stare now contemplating what to say – something that lies within me is much stronger than I can ever express in human words.
But one thing I must say – of all this – I hope I learn from her example, her love, her dedication to Christ and to her family.
Thursday morning at Chapel at Holy Cross I wept. It was just a remembrance to me of how far I am and how much someone so young has accomplished. I hope to be worthy to follow in her footsteps- someone of whom ‘the world was not worthy’ (Heb 11:38)
Sonia was the type of person that always roused me to want to know more. I wish I did. But I have learned more about her as she departed back to her true home – and yet I still hope that I one day will fulfill my desire in wanting to know her more.
With my love and my earnest desire to share in with you now in your pain and tears Deacon Nick – I would like to say that when I saw you during the funeral service I thought to myself – my Lord – what faith he has that he is standing strong in the midst of this ‘fire’ of sorrow. I felt how graceful that the Lord must be, standing firm right beside him during this difficult time.
Deacon Nick, your example, service, and devotion has impacted me greatly. Even though I am leaving HC soon shortly, I hope to continue to remember you both always as I continue on my journey while I am here. You both are forever united in perfect love in the Lord and your great love has left an imprint in my soul to stay.
Please ask Sonia to pray for me before the Lord,
and finally to Sonia Sophia Belcher,
Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
your sister in Christ,
February 27, 2008 at 12:19 am
I met Sonia about 10 years ago. She attended Camp St. Nicholas for the summer and I was privileged to have her as a counselor. She taught me so much that summer about worship and faith. I will always consider her one of my spiritual guides and I only hope to be half the woman she was.
All my love and prayers to you in this time. Thank you for sharing her that summer, for that I will always be grateful.
May Sonia’s memory be eternal.
February 27, 2008 at 12:45 am
I am not sure I understand the morals of God’s lessons most of the times. C S Lewis once said in explaining God’s painful and trying times of our lives, “we are like blocks of stones and God is the sculpture that is trying to create the perfect statute, it is the blows of his chisel that hurt us so much, that make us so perfect”. I am not so sure we need to be broken hearted perfect, but what can we do…….but take it!
One truth stands here, that she left you a living memory of her soul to love and treasure at all times. I hope to God to give you the strength in faith in this most painfull moments.
Our thought and prayers and our deepest sympathy go to you and to Andrew in your time of grief.
February 27, 2008 at 12:47 am
More than 10 years ago Sonia welcomed Nayla and me to Boston and graciously opened her home and her heart to us. It takes about an hour with someone like Sonia to feel like an old friend and looking back to those first days it is almost impossible to believe we had just met. To me, Sonia has always been a connector – bringing people together with her effortless way of seeing into the depths of your being so quickly that she immediately knows just exactly how to make you feel at home and with whom you will enjoy spending time.
May her son Andrew inherit her graciousness, her warmth and love for all those around her, her boundless generosity with others, and may each of us remember to take the time as he grows to tell and retell him the stories of his beautiful mother and to keep her memory alive and well.
As Khalil Gibran reminds us, the depths of our joy and the depths of our sorrow are inseparable. “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” It is no wonder then, that we should feel such despair at the loss of this vibrant woman, as she brought so much joy to so many people.
And as Gibran says of death, “what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?”
My love and deepest sympathies to Sonia’s entire family, as well as her extended family of which so many of us felt a part.
February 27, 2008 at 4:04 am
Richard R. Bateh
To My Partner Sonia and Her Beloved DN Nick and Andrew,
I was blessed with the joy and great honor to meet Sonia during the wedding of our mutual friends Joe and Mary Landino. Sonia was a bride’s maid in the wedding and I was a groomsman. When they told me that Sonia was going to be my partner in the wedding I was honored and thrilled because I had heard so many wonderful things about her. When they told her that I was going to be her partner in the wedding she was also thrilled, however, not for the same reasons. She was thrilled because they found an Arab man that was taller than her to walk down the isle with.
This was my first meeting with Sonia and my first insight into a soul and presence that was unlike any that I had met before.
I also had the privilege to meet DN Nick when they both came to San Jose for a visit. The love that Sonia had shared with the world had finally been given back to her through the love of her husband and soul mate DN Nick. I could see in both of their eyes that this was a union formed in heaven and sealed for all eternity.
I cannot say more than what was written by others in testimony to her Great Spirit, and unending love except to add this.
In the short time that I knew you my life was filled with Joy, Peace and hope. When I heard of your repose my heart stopped, sadness filled my eyes and sorrow was all around. My thoughts then turned quickly to the fact that our Lord is in need of angels and called her home to help us fight. Her love in this world was restricted by physical confines but in our Lords Heavenly kingdom she can now spread it like the wind.
DN Nick and Andrew my heart felt condolences to you both.
May her memory be eternal and her love surround you both always!
February 27, 2008 at 6:35 am
Dcn. Nick, Baby Andrew, and beloved Daly and Belcher families,
You have been in our hearts and prayers from the moment we learned of Sonia’s falling asleep. I pray that we all may use Sonia’s life as an inspiration to us, helping us to truly understand the reality and purpose of this life. I thank God that He gave me the opportunity to be with her this summer and that He also brought Dcn. Nick and Sonia to our monastery in 2006. It was a true blessing for all of us.
May we allow the flame of Sonia’s life to always remain lit and serve as a guide for us along our paths, praying to someday be reunited in His Heavenly Kingdom. I pray that we find the strength to be thankful for the time that He allowed us to have together, accepting His will and not being distracted by our own.
I send much love to all of you and remind you that you have a home here in Greece.
May her soul rest in peace.
February 27, 2008 at 8:25 am
Archimandrite Jack Khalil
Dear Dn. Nick and Andrew and all the family of Sonia,
Few years ago, my best friends in Thessaloniki, the Nassis family, invited me to dinner and informed me that a distinguished Lebanese guest will be present. It was your beloved Sonia. Needless to say how interesting it was to meet her, and how beautiful and unforgettable that evening was.
Since then, distances and circumstances couldn’t break the bound of brotherly and for Christ’s sake love between us, or even extinguish its light. Now it became sure to me, after reading the memories of Sonia’s friends about her, that for Sonia it was a pleasure to love and support people she met, and once they are in her life they are there forever.
I am writing these lines at the same time when you are in St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church around Sonia praying for her, while she meets the Lord of Glory. Prayer unites us at this moment together and with her. The peace that I’m sure all felt by making her memory in the Divine Prothesis yesterday, is the proof that Christ accorded her righteousness for her “Faith that was working through Love”.
May the Comforter relieve your heart ache with the Joy of His Salvation,
February 25, 2008
February 27, 2008 at 9:22 am
Dear Dn. Nick, Baby Andrew, and all the Daly and Belcher families,
I remember the first time I saw Sonia. It was winter of 1994, and I was a new student at Montrose, young and scared of my surroundings. Although I didn’t know anyone or have friends yet, one person introduced herself to me in a way that made me feel so welcome. It was Sonia, and I remember her coming up to me saying, “Are you Lebanese?? I am too! What town are you from?” She did not even know me, yet her smile was so bright and her eyes had such a sparkle. She was excited that another Lebanese girl was at her school! It was so sweet. It made me feel so welcome, and she was the very first person to make me feel at home there.
Although I didn’t see her much after she graduated, I did read up about her on the Montrose alumni pages…and of course was always amazed and proud to see how much one of my current alum had accomplished! What a beautiful bright woman, and may she continue to be Christ’s beautiful servant in heaven, welcoming all His people into His kingdom with that same smile and warmth.
God bless you and your family,
Jennifer M. Nasif
February 27, 2008 at 9:24 am
Fr. Bassam Nassif
To Fr. Dcn. Nick and little Andrew,
Christ is Risen!
I hug you wamrly and send you all my love. I knew Sonia during my Seminary years at Holy Cross and during my Antiochian Village Camp work. Our relationship did not stop there, it continued after my return to Lebanon. Lately, Sonia and I corresponded many times while working on a common project between Holy Cross and Balamand Seminary.
In her village of origin, Kfarhazir, Lebanon, we conducted a funeral service in the Church of “St. James the brother of the Lord” at the same time that it was happening in Boston. The church was crowded with faithful. Everyone knows the Daly family and their love. Metropolitan Elias (Kurban) of Tripoli presided over the service. Sayedna Elias asked me to say the eulogy.
Sonia was a very special person, a pearl of great price, full of warm love, strong determination, and humble service to others. Thank God for bringing Sonia into the world. She gave life to many, and in abundance… She was a precious gift from God. Thank God for Sonia.
Please remember that you have a home and a brother in Lebanon.
Christ is Risen,
February 27, 2008 at 10:45 am
My thoughts and prayers are with you, your son, family and everyone touched by Sonia.
February 27, 2008 at 10:56 am
Kevin Phillip Marshall
It is with a heavy heart that i write these lines. I am truly sorry to hear of the passing of your wife. I remember how you were my friend when it wasn’t expedient for you to be, and any woman who became your wife must have been a very special lady indeed. I will remember you in my prayers.
February 27, 2008 at 12:56 pm
Dear Dn. Nicholas, Andrew, The Daly and Belcher Families
I wish I did not have to write this
I have known Sonia since I was at St. George during my college days
I remember when I was teaching Sunday school and she would sneak in and try to talk to the twins, and how they were so protective of her
I watched as Sonia grew to be a true Orthodox Christian embodying the true essence of Orthodoxy. Her prayers, love and kindness towards me during a very tough time in my life help me greatly
Her love of my son (Nicholas) showed every time she saw him.
Her love showed every time you would see her.
I truly believe all things happen for a reason that our Loving God only knows, I know I would never be able to figure this one out.
May Her memory be Eternal
February 27, 2008 at 3:38 pm
Dear Dn. Nicholas, Andrew and the Daly and Belcher Families,
I am so sorry for your loss, you have no idea. I’ve had some really nice conversations with Sonia and have always been impressed by her devotion and love for Christ, you Dn. Nicholas, Andrew and your families.
I’m sure her memory will be eternal.
February 27, 2008 at 4:20 pm
Dearest Family of Sonia; I just got back from the services there in Boston. I am honoured to have been able to be there, and to have known Sonia. I wanted to write to tell you how blessed my new husband and I feel that she and Deacon Nick were able to come to our wedding. She means and will continue to mean so much to so many people. This website has helped bring solace to something that seems so surreal at times. Being at St. George’s on Sunday made everything about our faith come to life before my very eyes. To have meant so much to Sonia and for her to continue to mean so much to me and so many others; witnessing and participating in the service was a blessing. I pray through people’s memories we all continue to get to reminisce and learn more about this beautiful Christian woman we all know. Thank you for her and thank you Sonia for your friendship.
All the love in the world, Ya Habibi!
Tim and Christianna
February 27, 2008 at 4:58 pm
Joe and Samia
We have been blessed to have been in the presence of such an Angel. Her strong spirit and determination was unwavered. Sonia was always on a mission (no matter how big or small). There was never a moment to waste. Her life is a reminder for us to to live everyday like it is our last. She honestly did that! She came into this world her earthly being full of purpose, her heart full of love. I will never forget how beautifully she left this world. With snow on the ground and sun in our eyes she brought us all together to remind us of our purpose in Christ. To Dn. Nick, Andrew and the Daly family (i love you with all my heart!) even though my heart aches for you, I pray that Christ’s resurrection will give you strength and comfort.
Joe and Samia
February 27, 2008 at 7:14 pm
The Galambos Family
Dn. Nick, Andrew, The Daly family & The Belcher family
You are all in our thoughts and prayers..
A Tear For Sonia
With such sorrow for a beautiful Angle
Always giving, caring for others, compasion and empathy.
Bestowed with beauty and grace.
With much love
February 27, 2008 at 8:55 pm
Andrew and Nick –
Nick, thank you for your words of so much wisdom and so much faith on Monday. Sonia was proud I am sure.
Andrew, everyone else has already said all of the important things, so I thought I’d tell you some things about your mom that none of these other beautiful messages has shared yet. First, Sonia was late for everything. When my brother Billy and his wife Jenny asked Sonia to do a reading at their wedding, they had a backup plan in case she was late. Sure enough, she was, but luckily made it in time to do the reading! In fact, was she late to her own wedding too?? When she lived with me and my sister Meg in Somerville for a few months before moving to the condo in JP, we made a deal that was mutually beneficial. Sonia hated to wake up, but she wanted to start going to the gym in the morning at Holy Cross. So, I told her I’d drag her out of bed if she’d give me a ride to work on her way. Since I’m a teacher, being late isn’t an option, so I made sure she was ready to go on time every day. She joked that those were the only 4 months of her life she ever went to the gym so regularly and was on time for work every day! Who knew there was so much time between breakfast and lunch??
Sonia also never quite fell in love with football the way I am and surely the way your father is. She would come over to our house on a Sunday afternoon and just laugh as we all – OK, mostly my mom – screamed at the TV. Even your parents’ wedding was on the day of an important game between the Patriots and Steelers, and though I don’t think she really could have cared less about who won, but she was so entertained by everyone else’s excitement.
And your mom’s business career began long before her first real job at Logal Software. When she was a senior in high school she was editor of the Montrose Yearbook and she was an absolute genius at selling ads. I always admired how fearless she was, and how convinced she was that “of course they want to buy an ad in the yearbook of our little school full of 120 kids!!” I guess I was a bit of a skeptic! When we were traveling in Italy that winter, Sonia managed to convince the owner of a little restaurant in Florence that he really needed to buy an ad in our yearbook. I can’t remember if he paid in Lire or dollars or pasta …!
And someday you’ll appreciate knowing this Andrew, your mom had a lead foot. I think she was always in such a hurry to go visit all of her friends and do all of the wonderful things she did with her life (coupled with the fact that she had probably woken up late) that she just drove really fast sometimes. Don’t worry though, I’m sure that once she had YOU in the car she slowed down!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Sonia, it’s to work BETTER not MORE, and that there’s always time for friends. And if there’s not time, you make time … or you just drive really fast and show up a little late.
I love these silly memories of your mother as much as the profound ones. It is true that she accomplished more in her 32 years than most people do in a lifetime. It is true that she was a model of Christian love. It is true that her hard work in so many areas of her life made so many other people’s lives better. But it’s also true that she was just so much fun to be around. She loved life and she loved people and she made the most of every minute of it.
I love this Orthodox prayer “may her memory be eternal.” And I know with so much certainty that it will be.
Mr. and Mrs. Daly and Jack and Albert and Judy and Tony, thank you for Sonia.
February 27, 2008 at 11:01 pm
I have met Sonia twice.
The first visit was my Holy Cross admissions interview last August. I was shown to a formal room and was told to wait for her. Sonia arrived 10 minutes later (very pregnant with Andrew), relaxed and ready. It did not take long to realize that my acceptance at Holy Cross was no rubber stamp. She asked about my wife, my past, the Church, and my spiritual father. She pointed out similarities in my descriptions that I had not intended. She made me describe my weaknesses, and then comforted me with a reminder that we all have them. She was beautifully tough on me.
The second meeting was at Tim and Christiana Politis’ wedding last week in Denver. When she saw me she couldn’t reach for her cell phone fast enough to show me a picture of Andrew. I introduced Sonia and Deacon Nicholas to my wife, Julie, and Sonia showed her the picture as well. When they were about to leave the wedding, Sonia gave us a hug and said that she was going to take care of us in Boston this fall. How amazing. On our second meeting, she declares that she is going to take care of us! After hearing and reading other accounts of her, it seems that Sonia treated everyone that way. She loved everyone.
Thank you God for sharing this jewel with us.
February 28, 2008 at 2:36 am
Sami & Henriette Karam
To the Belcher & Daly family, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
We will always remember Sonia, may she rest in peace and may her family find comfort and all the love surrounding them.
February 28, 2008 at 3:19 am
Nada & Karl Nasr
To the Belcher and Daly family,
Of the few times that I met Sonia, all I can remenber is that she was full of life, positive and energetic person and she was very easy to get close to.
It’s a shock that she had to leave this earth so early but probably God needs her for a more important mission.
We pray for you every day so you can handle and accept this deep sorrow.
Stay strong because baby Andrew needs you the most now.
We love you and pray for you.
Nada & karl
February 28, 2008 at 9:22 am
Danny & Susanne Haddad
You don’t know or may have never heard of many of us, but we all loved your mother and therefore… love you.
As you can see from all these beautiful words she touched everyone’s life the same way, with the love of Christ.
God blessed you with a very special mother and as we are blessed to have known her, our job is to give back to you, even 1/1000 of what she gave us, then you too will know her and love her the way we all do.
As you grow up don’t be surprised when people come up to you and say they “know” you, when you know you’ve never met them before.
No matter where you go in this country (and many others) you will always be welcome in our home. To eat, sleep, hang out, or just to visit when you are in town. You have more family than you can ever know and we are everywhere. That’s how far your Mother’s love reaches.
And she WILL reach you from heaven.
You have the GREATEST family; your Father, your Grandparents, your Uncles & Aunts, your Cousins, etc., plus the extended family like us, who will always be there for you.
God bless you and keep you in His care.
All our love,
Danny & Suz Haddad & Family
February 28, 2008 at 11:50 am
Deacon Nick, young Andrew, and your family,
We learned of dear Sonia’s passing just a few days ago, and though we are far away in Greece, our hearts go out to you and you are all in our thoughts and in our prayers. Sonia was the first person I really met when I came to visit Hellenic College during the process of deciding to transfer there, and she interviewed me as part of the admissions process; since then we had many wonderful times full of laughter, as Sonia corrected my abominable Arabic and traded Lebanese recipes with my wife. She was a true light, and a gentle, beautiful soul.
May you always treasure her memory. All of us will too.
Panayotis and Ana
February 28, 2008 at 12:43 pm
The Massad Family
We are deeply thankful for the cherished memories we have of our times with Sonia: family dinners in Boston, a radiant bride, a devoted friend, daughter, sister, wife and mother. As a single pebble stirs the entire pond with its ripples, so has Sonia touched our lives and the lives of countless others. To Dn. Nick, Andrew, our beloved Daly family and the Belcher family, our hearts ache with yours, ours, and the worlds profound loss. May we all live in the example of Sonia’s love and dedication.
Our prayers and love are forever with you and our voices will forever sing the praises of God’s angel, Sonia.
The Massad Family
Oklahoma City, OK
February 28, 2008 at 1:27 pm
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Detroit Summer Camp
We were deeply saddened to hear of Sonia’s passing. Many of us on the Camp Board of Trustees have worked with her for several years when she would place seminarians to work at our camp. She was always helpful, working to fulfill our requests, and we remain thankful for the many wonderful young seminarians and Hellenic College students she sent to us over the years. While it is a loss for us and the many her knew her through her role as HC/HC, we cannot imagine the immense loss felt by Deacon Nick and her son. May her memory be eternal, and we will keep you all in our prayers.
The Board of Trustees, Staff and Campers of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Detroit Summer Camp, Rose City, MI
February 28, 2008 at 3:37 pm
Deacon Nick and Andrew (and families),
I only met Sonia once. This summer we came to Boston to visit the campus. My husband had an interview with Sonia and she spoke to me as well. We talked about what life is going to be like this fall. She was excited to help me get my son into the Theophany school next year. And oh how she glowed, pregnant with Andrew. We then had lunch with you, Deacon Nick and Sonia. I enjoyed talking with her about being parents.
My husband and I were so impacted by the news of Sonia’s passing. For that one day this summer I knew I had met a truly wonderful person and I was looking so forward to becoming a friend these next few years in Boston.
Now, I will simply take with me her memory. She is and will always be an inspiration to me and my life.
Thank you for sharing her with all of us.
Sonia and all of you will be in our prayers everyday.
May her memory be eternal!
Eleni and James Foreso
February 28, 2008 at 4:00 pm
Dear Deacon Nick and Andrew:
What can I say. A beautifully creative talented person who fell asleep early in the Lord, may her falling asleep inspire us to work for unity, to love and to use the gifts God has given us. To grieve is the price we pay for love. Sonia accomplished more in her short 32 years than many of us accomplish in a lifetime of seventy years or more. She started a school at eighteen years old. She was a faithful worker in the vineyard as a youngster at the Antiochian village. and her funeral was a testimony of Orthodox unity. May her example live on in our hearts so that we may continue the work.
Hellenic College/Holy Cross
February 28, 2008 at 6:08 pm
An angel to keep watch
Now an extra pair of eyes
Up there where no one has faults
It is there that we pray to be
Living like Him gets us there
We do our best to understand life
Sometimes we try too hard
Going astray seems almost normal
But we have guardians to keep us safe
Eventually we are back on His road
The path ahead looks tough
Look to your heart for guidance
We are kept safe with love
And someday we find ourselves there
Next to our guides and guardians
Surrounded by His love and angels
Looking down to make a path for them
February 28, 2008 at 8:41 pm
Shane(natureboy)Gaddis village staff of 1997
To the entire Daly-Belcher famlies,
My most sincere condolences go out to all of you in this time of sorrow. Sonia was a very smart, funny,beautiful inside and out, fun loveing, Orthodox spirited, full of life and so much much more. I had the great pleasure of getting to know her and tony and the Antiochain Village in the summer of 1997. I was given the nick name( natureboy) by my peers, that year and almost everytime i walked into the office sonia would not call me shane she like many would say natureboy all i could do was smile. Sonia had a smile that would brighten a room and a personality to match. Why I only had the pleasure of knowing her for a summer she became a part of my family, my sister in Christ. I think one of my favorite memories of Sonia was when the summer of 97′ as i walked into the camp office and was asking her to help me with something i did not know how to do, she said to me” you see all of this on my desk you see how much i have to get done for fr michael” I said yes and i told her i would figure it out but later that eveing she had it printed up and formatted for me all i could do was simply say thank you and give her a hug! Dn. you were blessed to have Sonia in your life you dont need me to tell you that she toched so many of our lives in different ways. Tony and the daly family I am so sorry for your loss i was in such shock when i got the news last week of this sudden loss, knowing she is with God now; and that she is home brings to me a piece of mind. I will never forget her and the summer i had the pleasure of working with her side by side and an office away. I can only pray that i become half the person sonia was. There are not enough words to express my sympathy to the families, no tear that can bring her back, no words to make it all better and make the pain go away; but what i can say is that let her example her life be a tool that we too can try and measure ourselves by be be faithful like her, to be Godwilled like her and to be ever minded to be commited to the holy Orthodox faith like Sonia.
May your memory be eternal
May your memory be eternal
May your memory be eternal
To you my sister in Christ,
to the entire Daly-Belcher Family
Shane L. Gaddis
Natureboy village staff of 1997 memory eternal
February 29, 2008 at 1:16 pm
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your wife, and as I have been reading, a loss felt by many many people. Please know that you and your son, will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Your friend always,
February 29, 2008 at 4:56 pm
Dear Nick, Andrew and the entire Daly and Belcher Families,
What more can I tell you about the magnificent wife, mother, daughter, sister and dear friend we all love and are heartbroken to have lost? It’s no surprise that the heavens were darkened with a lunar eclipse the night God called her to Himself. Sonia lit up our world in so many ways and her loss casts a shadow on our hearts. Her indomitable spirit has not departed, though, it is simply hidden.
Sonia’s life has left a mark on all of us—she was a woman of great heart, enormous talent and generous faith. Her infectious laughter still resonates throughout the halls of Montrose School. Her love for people continues to grow stronger and bring more of us together in her amazing network of friends and family. Her desire to serve and advance worthy causes from Theophany and Montrose to St. George’s Church and Hellenic College will continue to be realized. She approached everything she did with a sense of urgency—an urgency to give of herself, to bring projects to the next level and to connect good people.
I have known Sonia since she was a new student in the ninth grade at Montrose School. She came to us shy, delightful and eager to make friends—and that she did indeed. Her gift for friendship extends around the world.
As an educator, I have found myself telling “Sonia stories” throughout my career, and I am grateful that she agreed to be immortalized—albeit humorously—in the opening chapter of my book on teaching literature. Here she makes a cameo appearance as “Sarah,” a lackluster 15 year old, who has a life changing experience at the Tower of London in England.
Her senior year in high school, we traveled to Italy together, met Pope John Paul II in Rome and celebrated her 18th birthday in Florence. As only Sonia could do, she accomplished the unprecedented feat of selling a Montrose yearbook ad to restaurant manager in Italy.
Sonia was affectionately referred to by faculty as the “happy wanderer.” She was a wanderer with a purpose and took advantage of every opportunity to “visit” friends, teachers and administrators to advance worthy projects—the yearbook, the literary magazine, international club, the school play. While we often had to re-direct Sonia to class, we were happy to be engaged with her latest charge or ambitious idea.
Most importantly, in high school Sonia turned her attention to God and started taking her own faith journey seriously. She sought spiritual formation and took steps toward making her Orthodox faith her own. She loved and respected Catholicism and prayed for unity among and between Churches. Her prayers were powerful, and I leaned on them often.
Sonia knew at the end of her high school career that she wanted to found a school with a mission similar to Montrose. Three short years later she did, opening the Theophany School. She leveraged all of her professional savvy, initiative and contacts to bring this dream to fruition.
Sonia was far more than a student and advisee. She has been and remains a dear friend. At Montrose she has served as a trustee, faculty recruiter and alumnae association founder. Now she is our senior consultant from heaven.
Mr. and Mrs. Daly, Jack, Albert, Judy, Tony, Sonia loved you so much. She admired each one of you and cherished your affection for her. She took great pride in every milestone your family celebrated together.
Nick, you were the greatest joy of her life. I remember when she first told me about you. I was so eager to meet the man who had conquered Sonia Daly’s heart. She cherished every moment of her life with you. The only person who can begin to rival that affection is Baby Andrew, the beautiful gift of your love. Andrew, I am confident that your mother will faithfully walk with you throughout your life and that you will make her proud.
Sonia Daly Belcher, I now understand your sense of urgency. You were a woman on a mission. I thank God for the time He has shared you with us and the opportunity we now have to light the world with your memory.
Karen E. Bohlin
February 29, 2008 at 7:19 pm
Joel & Michelle Swehla
It is with great sadness that I heard of the passing of your wife. Though I didn’t have a lot of interactions with Sonia, those that I did were memorable. Words will never be able to express the joy she brought into so many peoples lives. May Andrew be able to read this page someday and be able to grasp how much his mom was loved by people throughout the world. You will all be in my prayers. May her memory be eternal.
Joel & Michelle Swehla
February 29, 2008 at 10:50 pm
To the Daly & Belcher Families
Our sincere condolences on the passing of your beloved Sonia. Although we didn’t know her personally, our family are neighbors to the Daly family back home in the village of Kfar Hazir in Lebanon, we feel as though we lost someone very dear to us.
Dn. George & Najwa Moubayed
Nabil & Susie (Moubayed) Mitri
Members of St. Mark~Irvine, California
March 1, 2008 at 11:59 am
With the news of Sonia’s sudden passing, a number of memories and images come to mind. Sonia Belcher, known to my family as Sonia Daly for most of my life, was an honorary extended family member who took part in every special family occasion. As my cool older sister’s even cooler friend, Sonia spent much time at our house when she and Emily were in high school. She fit right in, always partaking in whatever was going on and bringing her own flair. One instance of this: I remember walking out the front door of the house to gather in solemn ceremony on account of Sonia’s new car’s baptism. I recall being impressed at a young age at the way that she interacted with my parents especially my Dad. She would call him Mr. Keefe, giving all due respect, but proceed to joke with and at him. She had such a sharp, witty sense of humor.
When my sister Helen and I were preparing to fly on a plane for the first time, Sonia stopped by the house and gave advice that I still follow: “Planes are always cold,” she said. “The first thing to do after you sit down is to go ask the flight attendant for a pillow, a blanket, and an eye mask. Then you’re set for the best nap of your life.” Another memory is of talking to her in the hospital cafeteria after Johnny Marcucci was born. She and Amy drilled me on my plans for my high school semi-formal and who I would take to the dance. Sonia always took the time to take interest and to share. She even remembered to bring bags and bags of her hand me down clothes to us. The pants were always too tall for us short Keefe girls.
Sonia had such wisdom, advice, and knew exactly how to interpret life’s curveballs. For instance, when Johnny met a girl abroad in England, he turned to Sonia for help. She deduced what was happening and was still crediting herself at their wedding five years later in France. By that time, she herself was married and so in love with her husband Nick. In fact, she and Nick were two of five USA friends that traveled to France for the wedding. They lived with Emily and Mike, fitting in with the family just as Sonia always had. I remember a particularly lovely evening at Emily and Mike’s gite with the family, and Sonia and Nick. I remember noticing how Sonia and Nick, newlyweds themselves, were always holding hands and thinking to myself how well they went together.
Sonia loved Emily and they had a very special and close friendship. When I lived with Emily and Mike one summer, I observed that Emily and Sonia were in contact all the time. Whether it was a five minute phone call where they seemed to speak in their own shorthand, or planning the next time to get together, they communicated practically daily. One evening, when Sonia and Nick came over for dinner, we ordered Tai food and I drove with Sonia to pick up the order. As usual, she was selflessly interested in what I was up to, engaging in a very sisterly manner. We listened to Delilah’s long distance dedication on the radio and joked at what a girly car ride we were having.
Last spring, I recall going on a walk around Jamaica Pond with Emily, the kids, and Sonia. We picked her up from work right around the corner. She bounded out of the building, full of life and ready to walk. Driving over to the pond, she turned around in the front seat and told me she was pregnant! She was beaming. She loved Andrew all through the pregnancy and for his first four months. Andrew now has a beautiful mother in Heaven who will love him forever.
March 1, 2008 at 1:36 pm
I was in Sonia’s class at Montrose. She was my roommate on our trip to London in 10th grade. After that we did everything together. I went to her house for sleepovers, she came to mine for sleepovers…I remember taking a walk at night at her house and she had sunglasses on and she started singing that song “I wear my sunglasses at night” and we took a walk during the day near my house in the fall and she said how she loved stomping on the leaves and listening to that crunching sound! She opened her life right up to me and she shared everything…she introduced me to foods like the Quince, the pomegranate, tabouleh…She brought me to a Lebanese party, she taught me Lebanese words (like the words for Hello, Thank you, how are you, what’s up, goodbye) She took me to an Orthodox mass. At school we were in the Drama Club – she played Rosalind in While Shakespeare Slept. I ran with her trying out for sports teams. I went to her Volleyball games. Then in Senior year we both went to Italy.
She was just incredible, she was adventurous, courageous, generous, energetic, outgoing and so funny! She could always make me laugh – she was always fun to be around. She wanted to see everything, do everything, meet everybody! She knew how to live. I am so amazed that she founded a school! And then she found true love and gave birth to such a beautiful baby boy! The way she lived her life is incredibly inspiring. Her determination unyielding, like her love, faith and warmth. The church was overflowing Monday with people who loved Sonia and whom she loved. It was a beautiful mass. I really miss her. My heart is heavy. I will always love Sonia and I pray that God gives strength to Nick, Andrew and all the Daly family, to keep going. You are all in my prayers.
all my heart, Gwen MacKay & family
March 1, 2008 at 4:57 pm
Although I only got to see Sonia and Nick together a few times I will always cherish how she made my friend so happy. I love Nick and will always love her.
March 1, 2008 at 9:33 pm
Father Evan Armatas
For days I have been unable to express in words my own personal feelings of loss at the passing of our dear Sonia. Like so many I have beautiful memories of her and of how special she was to me and my family. It is unbelievable the way she weaved herself into our lives and became such an integral part of us. For this reason and for many others I along with my wife and kids send our deepest and heart felt condolences to Dn. Nicholas, Andrew, and all of Sonia’s family and friends. We can’t imagine your loss or pain, especially when we consider how much we miss her and grieve over losing this special friend in this world.
Last night I once again spent a few sleepless hours remembering Sonia. I can’t believe she’s gone because for us she typified life in so many ways. We were fortunate to have Sonia with us in our home many times and she spent precious days with our family traveling for those special events, a baptism, a wedding, an ordination, summer camp, etc. Like all of you who knew her in your own special way you know how she made it a priority to be with her loved ones. It is odd but sitting at her funeral I could not get over how many people she impacted. Quite literally I came to realize how everyone there felt as if Sonia was their special friend.
In truth I am at a loss to express all that I feel. Some thoughts, however, seem to reoccur and I feel as though I must get them out and share them. In considering our common faith in Jesus Christ I read recently how our liturgical life can be summed up by stating that in worship all we really do is profess that Jesus Christ died and that He is risen from the dead. Into this reality we are told to place all our fears, pain, and hope. This event we are told and we believe is the central mystery of the universe. Yet, His life transforming death and victory over death is not easily understood, appropriated, or believed. Even as a priest of Christ’s Church I have had my own struggles of faith in general with death and dying and particularly with the death of our beloved Sonia. Her death has stuck with me and my family.
By coming to Boston and stepping into St. George and then in talking to so many of you I found out that I was not alone in this emotion. At the same time upon my return to Denver the continued conversations about Sonia with all of you and even with those who did not know her resulted in a new emotion; namely the integration of her death into my very life and into how I view this life and my place in this world. St. Paul in writing about the life of an Apostle of Jesus Christ said, “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). Likewise I see now that Sonia’s Christ like qualities have led all of us into this state of carrying her death within us and the fact that we will now also carry her life with and within us.
Christ’s dying we see has transformed and transforms the way people live. His death results, St. Paul points out, in the manifestation of His life in the bodies of those who came to know Jesus. How true is this also in the death of Sonia? The answer is an unequivocal; very. This fact has led me to contemplate an even greater mystery, the mystery of love and communion.
Sonia, again like Christ, built communities of love. These communities may have been large, like the Theophany school, or the Holy Cross School of Theology diaspora but they were often much smaller and more intimate. How many of you attended the funeral and recognized a face or a person that Sonia had introduced you to, connected you with, and invited along on some outing? How many of us developed relationships with people we never would have met or have known because Sonia introduced us? How many of us find that we are connected in part and in large measure to a community not of our own making, a community we could never have assembled on our own? Sonia established relationships and these relationships were couched in love and now form the basis for how we remember her.
One of the central mysteries of Christ’s life on this earth is expressed in the continuing fellowship and communion of love He established. He created a community of people where one had not existed and this communion of souls stretches into eternity. Sonia did the same, I believe, without ever really thinking about it, this way of living was in her bones and specifically in her heart. This natural and effortless development of relationships was simply who she was. How fortunate are we that knew her and shared in this gift.
When I think of carrying her life within me I think of this desire of Sonia’s, this desire to be in relationship, to be in communion. Her death has transformed me. I am sure you have all felt the same way about her death but probably more importantly about her life in this way. I am sure you can say, like me, that knowing her and losing her in this life, has changed you. Moving forward I will attempt in part to honor her memory by honoring her life. To do this I will need to integrate and honor relationships in the way that Sonia did and to make communion with others, like her, my greatest priority.
In the end I guess grief like this is ultimately personal but understood communally. I guess grief like this although felt in a specific and individual way only has meaning within the context of our relationship with the deceased and the other people who loved them. In the end it is not the amount of time Sonia lived but the way that she lived with us that is most important.
I will always share the grief of losing Sonia with all of you, and especially with Dn. Nick and their son Andrew. Yet, I will also always share her life with each person that knew her and most especially with her beloved, Dn. Nick and Andrew.
God grant us strength, may her memory be eternal, Christ is Risen, truly He is Risen!
Fr. Evan Armatas and Presbytera Stacy, friends of Sonia’s
March 2, 2008 at 12:12 pm
Gaby & Josette El Khoury
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and everyone touched by Sonia.
We will always remember Sonia, may she rest in peace .
We are thinking of you. May God be with you and bless you and your family.
March 2, 2008 at 7:06 pm
Presvytera Katerina Patitsas
I only met Sonia twice, once in Fort Worth Texas last June. It is hard to accept that someone so peaceful and talented and thoughtful and kind could be taken away from us who are in the world. We feel so strongly that we need people like her to encourage us and to remind us of so many good things. I had talked with her about Theophany school, and about religious education. It wasn’t what she said that I remember, but the way that I felt when I was with her. I hope that the way she lived and loved people will encourage those who were close to her as they pass through this tragic loss. May God comfort you with courage and love and patience until you are reunited again with her in Him joyfully eternally. You are all in our prayers and thoughts daily. May her memory be eternal.
Presv K Patitsas and Family
March 3, 2008 at 10:54 am
Our hearts are filled with sadness and we offer our condolence on the falling asleep of Sonia. We pray for Sonia, Fr. Dn. Nicholas and young Andrew. May Sonia’s memory be eternal.
With sadness and with faith in our risen Lord,
March 3, 2008 at 4:53 pm
I have known Alberto for about 45 years and remember him attending our wedding. He is the essence of a good father, a successful businessman and a loyal friend. He raised a wonderful family and it is no surprise that Sonia was a truly wholesome, remarkable young woman. Her loss was a tragedy not only to her immediate family but also to her extended family.
I feel Albert is a real brother to me and as though I have lost a niece.
May God bless her soul and give solace to you, Albert and Mouna, to her husband and all her relatives and friends.
March 3, 2008 at 4:55 pm
Dear Alberto, Mouna and family,
Even though I last spoke with Sonia in 1992, she made a strong impression (avid reader, humanitarian, amazing girl). It was inspiring to read about Sonia as a loving wife and mother. Please extend our sympathy to Deacon Nick. The pictures of Andrew with his parents are beautiful; the web site is so meaningful to Zafer and me.
I will continue to pray for you, dear friends. May God encourage you and keep you in His care.
March 3, 2008 at 10:19 pm
Christine and Abraham Ayoub
Dear Dn Nick,
We have just heard of your wifes passing and want to express our deep sympathy for your very great loss. We wish you every imaginable comfort and offer prayer for you and your little Andrew. May her memory be eternal.
March 4, 2008 at 10:07 am
To my dear family,
I’m in my eternal home now! It’s all true! This place is absolutely magnificent. Human words cannot explain it, and I am so alive, so free, so happy, so perfectly content. I am home now! My mind is clear, all pain is gone. My hopes and dreams have all been satisfied and all that I have strived for on earth has been granted. I have been called to live in my heavenly home!
Praise the Lord, I am home now! There are no misunderstandings in this place. No anger, no harsh words, no hurt feelings, no selfish acts, no tears. I see plainly here and although God’s will was sometimes hard for me to see on earth, here it is beautifully perceived.
Thank God I am home now. Sorrow is foreign to this place and I have yet to see anyone weeping. And the friends I have met, you wouldn’t believe. They are so different and so gracious; I’ll probably spend half of eternity talking to them.
I am home now! The greatest thrill was to finally see my Saviour, Lord Jesus Christ, face to face. If I could cry, I would, but I am just consumed with such joy and love that it defies comprehension. Mortals on earth cannot know it. It is just unexplainable.
I am home now! I am filled with God’s glory and with his radiance. I have found that talking to people on earth about Jesus has made the inhabitants of this place extremely delighted. They said that I would meet some of those I brought to the Saviour later on. That gave me rapture.
So, I am home now. If I could speak to you from heaven, I would say that the old adage is true… “Only one life- it will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” And in parting let me say, don’t ever pity me or shed a bitter tear. I am happier here that in all my earthly years. I have started my new life and it’s been worth it all. I trust we will meet again. I am home now.
March 4, 2008 at 10:36 am
MARIA HELENA GOMEZ
TODO EL AMOR Y NUESTRAS MAS SENTIDAS CONDOLENCIAS A ALBERTO DALI Y FLIA BELCHER, NICHOLAS DEACON E HIJO, NUESTRAS ORACIONES
LAS OFRECEREMOS POR USTEDES PARA QUE CRISTO LOS FORTALEZCA.
“NO LLOREN POR MI POR QUE AHORA SOY LIBRE,
SIGO EL CAMINO QUE DIOS ME ESCOGIO; TOME SU MANO
CUANDO EL ME LLAMO; Y AHORA DESCANSO
EN PAZ JUNTO A EL. EN ESE BELLO LUGAR, ES QUE
QUEDA EL CIELO EN DONDE TODOS LOS BUENOS
DESCANSAN YA , Y SE VEN CON DIOS”
CON TODO NUESTRO AMOR
J. ANTONIO MUÑOZ ,MARIA HELENA Y FABIO ESTEBAN
FABIO GOMEZ MERY DE GOMEZ Y FLIA
March 4, 2008 at 11:19 am
Dear Mr. Daly & family & Deacon Nick & Andrew,
My heart is heavy for the lose of your daughter,wife & mother.
Please accept my deepest sympathy and prayer for all of you at this time.
March 4, 2008 at 11:56 am
To the Daly and Belcher families,
Like everyone else in our community of friends, my family and I are heart-broken over what has happened, and there hasn’t been an hour that has gone by in this last week and a half that I haven’t thought about Sonia, and your families, and prayed for her and you all.
I wasn’t especially close with Sonia personally, but of course was friends with her through church stuff, and the group of friends with the Samaras, Samras, Fergusons, etc. Every time I saw Sonia, I remember being consistently amazed by how she was either working hard for the church and the community, for God, helping some group or another that needed help, or enjoying the company of family or close friends. A selfless person, I could see that she had a strength, a devotion, a warmth, and a generosity that were unmatched.
The services on Sunday and Monday, along with seeing this website, and the stuff on Facebook, has been an awe-inspiring experience. It has been an outpouring of love and emotion like nothing I’ve ever seen. It is a truly amazing tribute to her. It is also a tribute to her parents, brothers, sister, and families, as we are all reflections of how we’ve been raised, and also to Deacon Nick and her life with him. That is something for you all to be so proud of.
Because of Sonia’s inspiration, I myself have done things in the last week that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve done things to try to be a better person and I will continue to, because of her inspiration. I’ve done things like pulling over to help a random strange older woman shovel snow out of her driveway, when I otherwise would have probably looked the other way and driven by because I was in a hurry. Although it’s a little different, when I did it I was thinking of the story that someone wrote on this website that told of how Sonia would say “should we pay or pray?” when she saw a homeless person. I’ve read a little from the Bible each morning and night (which is something that I’ve been meaning to do for about 10 years, but always procrastinated). I’ve called and spent time with family members and friends more that I would usually. I’ve contacted a couple of people that I hadn’t been in touch with for a long time to put some bad feelings behind us. I’ve been nicer to people and a better person, instead of just consumed by me and my own life, which is a trap I sometimes fall into. And I’ve made a commitment to do more for the church and God. Small things so far for sure, but things I’ve been inspired to do because of Sonia and will continue to be. To try to be a better person, help people, and although its cliché, to try to make the world a little bit of a better place.
March 4, 2008 at 4:39 pm
John & Carol Saber
We have always felt that the Daly family was an extension of our own family. There are no words adequate enough to express our sorrow for the loss of your wonderful Sonia. With all the beautiful ways she has touched so many lives, we are certain that her memory will be eternal. May God give you strength and we continue to keep you all in our prayers.
March 4, 2008 at 4:43 pm
Rabab Sleiman and Juliette Sleiman
We only ad the chance to see Sonia but we did hear amazin things about her personalty over the course of years that we’ve been attending Nayla’s house. the news of her death as definitley dramatic, but we weren’t sure what to be sad about more than the other the fact that the world lost a great girl like Sonia or the fact that her Son lostthe chance of meeting her, and her husband lost the chance of being next to his? We are positive that Andrew is not going to feel lonley, we are surethat the family is going to do thei best to introduce him to his mother through memeories, pictures and friends. We are positive that God will keep a eye on this blessed family, her parents, siblings and the people she knows and love.
May her soul be blessed at al times, and may her family be able to over come those sad momnets, and this huge loss.
March 5, 2008 at 9:03 am
Nick, Andrew, and the Daly family-
Nick you never met me. I went to school with Sonia at Montrose many many moons ago. Sonia, had one of the craziest laughs you would ever hear! You knew where the fun was because of that laugh. I can still hear it now and as I cry it makes me smile. We were in the same class and played basketball together- as mentioned I remember her determination to run those 2 miles; and she did. She was always beautiful- inside and out.
It has been years since I have spoken to Sonia- After hearing of the her passing, I was looking through our yearbook from 1994- Her yearbook! Wow, what an amazing job for someone so young! My only regret is not staying in touch. I know we were not close after Montrose- and from reading all the memories people had, it was truly a loss to me.
I send my thoughts and stregthen to Nick, Baby Andrew, and the Daly family. You were blessed with an angel. My mom told me when I was little that God some times takes the truly beautiful souls from us at a young age because He knows they can do more good work with him in Heaven than on earth. Look what Sonia has done on earth – Man are we in for some Miracles with her up in Heaven!
All my love,
Co Wicklow, Ireland
March 5, 2008 at 10:07 pm
Soula Mellos Kostakis
Sonia was the person who interviewed me when I applied to HC. I shared with her my hopes, fears, and doubts about what lay ahead. She shared with me her own experiences, her empathy, her trust in God’s strength.
Later I had the blessing to work with her as an Ambassador. Sonia was a strong and wise woman, able to guide our well intentioned and diverse group with humor, love, and clear expectations.
A couple weeks ago I prayed to God asking why we don’t have any women saints in the U.S, or more rightly, why we don’t know of any. I am saddened by Sonia’s death and also moved by the thought that Sonia is a woman saint of our time. She is a saint the way we can all aspire to be saints. Not known for miraculous feats or powers, the impact of her passing shows her love for Christ and neighbor was miraculous in the lives of those who knew her. She was a strong, gracious, caring Orthodox Christian whose faith moved her to action.
May your memory be eternal, dear sister, for you are worthy of blessedness and everlasting memory.
March 6, 2008 at 2:52 pm
My condolences, Deacon Nick.
“I believe that…love is stronger than death” – Robert Fulghum
March 6, 2008 at 6:13 pm
So Andrew, let me tell you about your beautiful, strong, intelligent, tenacious mom. I loved her with all my heart, and will never forget what she did for me and my little family- which will always be more family for you and your dad, sweet one. Your mom swept into our lives during our transition to St. George, and she declared her name and her love for us, and our love for her. And that’s pretty much the moment it happened. We fell in love with our Sonia, she nestled into our hearts, and she will never leave. She seemed to be always at my side (or on the phone) when I needed her to be, which is remarkable, because so many people can say that- always cheerful, always encouraging, always offering her prayers, her love, her time, her heart. I will remember her promise to be near us even when we were transferred, and she was true to her word. She was the first sleep-over visitor in the rectory here, and we joked about putting up her name on the door. It is because of your mom I even unpacked the kitchen at all- she insisted it would make me feel better- so we emptied box after box, and after each one, she would sing a few lines from this song- a great song only because she made it great with her little dance in her stocking feet amid the chaos. And that’s your mom more than anything, then Andrew- an angel of light and love and laughter in the midst of the chaos of this life. Please know that we love you Andrew, and your dad, and your whole family- both sides- and we will always be connected to you and at your service. There is so much more in my heart, but for now, this is what I can share. Sonia, I love you and thank you for all the love you showered on all of us. You helped make us better people, and now as always, draw us closer to our Eternal God, because we know where you are- with Him.
March 7, 2008 at 4:16 pm
Seana Murphy Dorich
Dear Dn. Nick, Andrew, Belcher and Daly Families:
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I knew Sonia from Montrose, where I worked as development director from 2003-2005. I had barely set foot on campus when Sonia opened her home to me and other alumnae to kindle the Montrose School Alumnae Association.
Sonia always made my job easier. She lit the flame that set things in motion. Not only did she always offer an enthusiastic yes to any favor I might ask for Montrose, she often anticipated my requests. Phone-a-thons, brainstorming dinners, alumnae reunions – Sonia arrived fistful of original ideas, drive, and most of all, the desire to give. Although she gave to such a wide community, it was clear how devoted she was to her family. Wednesday evenings were reserved for family dinners, I soon learned, a practical response to the demanding schedules of today’s world. That seemed to say so much about Sonia: modern and foward-moving, yet faithful and connected to tradition.
Sonia’s courage to fully commit to what she knew was important made her a role model I hope I can follow, and I will think of her often. I believe Sonia is in heaven, continuing to say yes to God and fanning His joy.
Seana Murphy Dorich
March 8, 2008 at 8:20 am
Protodeacon Victor Lochmatow
Dear in Christ, Father Nicholas !
I cannot find the words to express our deep sympathy to you and your Family on our tragic loss of your beloved wife Sonia. While in Russia, prayers for Sonia ( and you ) were being read daily by all the bishops and clergy we met. I would like also to convey His Eminence’s , Metroplitan Laurus’s prayers and condolences. He continues to commemorate Sonia in his prayers.
Although we have known Sonia but for a short time, we realized immediately, what a treasure she was. A truly remarkable , dedicated
Orthodox Christian. I have no doubt, she is now praying before Our Lord
for you, your son and Family.
May God give you the strength to face every new day without her physical presence. May her memory of dedication and love continue to console you in the days to come.
With love in Our Lord,
Protodeacon Victor , Elena and Nicholas
March 9, 2008 at 4:45 pm
We did not know you Sonia , but today 3/8 in liturgy Sunday of Forgiveness Fr Peter Salmas spoke of your life love and how you touched so many people. Our prayers are with your family.
May your memory be eternal+
March 9, 2008 at 11:01 pm
This is for my Siz:
Just wanted to tell you thank you for being my friend and that I miss you. It’s the evening of Forgiveness Vespers and I know I would have called you tonight. I think of you often and I thank God for all that I learned from you. You taught me a lot – but three specific things come to mind.
1) Love the hymns and services of the Church — You introduced me to the Paraklesis service and taught me those hymns when we were together at the Village several winters ago. Thank you, it’s my favorite. You always loved being in Church, especially for those special services.
2) Have a spiritual father – In a good way, I envied your relationship with your spiritual father, Fr. Michael Ellias. You always would stress how important it is to have one.
3) Be a good friend – I don’t know how you were able to maintain so many close relationships – you were so good at that. You would fly cross country and even overseas to see a friend get married, ordained, celebrate a birthday, or for no reason at all but because you missed them. You e-mailed, wrote letters, called, did everything you could to communicate and stay in touch with the so many people you were close to.
Thank you for being my friend; we had some great memories in Greece and Turkey together, with the College Board and with the Fellowship. You are my sister “Siz” and I love you!
March 10, 2008 at 8:10 pm
James, Michelle Mike & Luke Nicholas
Belcher and Daly family,
You are in our thoughts and prayers especially during these days. I have wonderful memories of Sonia at the Village, her drive through Louisville (with Jimmy and Michele) and her warm hospitality during my visit to Boston.
She will be greatly missed.
I pray as time passes our Lord’s grace will give you His solace. The Lord’s ways are not our ways and on this side of heaven we can not see His purpose but know that Sonia waits for us in His Kingdom.
Michelle Mike Nicholas and family
March 11, 2008 at 11:59 pm
Elizabeth and Michael Syrengelas
Dear Sonia’s Mother, Father, Brothers, Sisters, Nieces, and Nephews,
Dn. Nick and Andrew,
You are in our prayers and thoughts constantly. We pray that God helps us all, especially you, through this time of loss. Words cannot express the sadness we feel.
Sonia and I met at St. Sophia camp in 1996, but became friends when I moved to Boston. I thought, “Sonia and I won’t be friends, she already has too many.” But, to no surprise, Sonia proved me wrong. I never spent a weekend alone in Boston. In fact, I don’t think there was one weekend Sonia didn’t take me to a BBQ, birthday party, and dinner party all in one day. She connected me to her world and I can’t thank her enough for that. I also had the blessing of traveling with Sonia and our friend Christianna to Europe. Who needs a tour guide or guide book, for that matter, when you have Sonia? She showed us the world! She blessed me with her friendship and love.
My husband met Sonia in Boston, but it was at Christianna and Tim’s wedding that he really grew to know her and spend time with her. After hearing of Sonia’s passing, Mike turned to me and said, “I feel like I have known her forever.” She became our friend.
All I can do is pray and know that Sonia will be with us everyday and fill our hearts with her memory, sunshine, and beauty.
May we learn from Sonia’s example.
May we live our lives in her light.
May we love with as much passion as Sonia.
May we be as faithful as Sonia.
May her memory be eternal!
Sonia, I miss you, I love you. Thank you for friendship, love, guidance, laughter and for all of the memories we were blessed to share with you.
Elizabeth and Michael Syrengelas
March 12, 2008 at 6:56 pm
Words can’t express the sadness and sympathy I have for your loss. Though I didn’t know Sonia personally, I feel as if I did. I consider you all a part of my extended family and I’m always here for you. My conclusion is that God needed another Angel. God bless you all and may her memory be eternal.
March 13, 2008 at 7:48 am
Dave & Linda Hackett, Melrose, MA
Al & Mona,
Our heartfelt condolences goes out to all that have known & felt Sonia’s warmth, tireless energy & inner strength: We felt that this poem describes your loving Sonia…I am sure that you will agree…
DO NOT STAND AT MY GRAVE AND WEEP for Sonia Daly Belcher
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am 1000 winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sun on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you awaken in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft star that shines at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die.
March 15, 2008 at 11:03 am
Dear Deacon Nicholas and family,
While I only had a brief encounter with your beloved Sonia while serving on the National Philoptochos HC/HC Committee, I was nevertheless saddened to learn of her most untimely passing. May our Lord comfort you during these difficult days. On behalf of the Metropolis of Boston Philoptochos and the National Philoptochos HC/HC Committee, I exend our deepest smypathy and prayers. May her memory be eternal.
President, Metropolis of Boston Philoptochos
March 15, 2008 at 9:27 pm
Omar & Fatin Fakhouri
The Daly & Belcher Family,
Although my interaction with Sonia was brief at the Antiochian Village but I see from all the comments Sonia is loved and missed dearly. with our deepest sympathy to both families may her memory be eternal and may she rest with the saints(Allah yer7emha)
Dn.Nick and baby Andrew you always will be in our prayr and thoughts.
Omar, Fatin, Nicole, and Katrina Fakhouri
Members of St. Mark in Irvine, California.
March 22, 2008 at 1:03 am
Fr John Galenos Pilafas
Deacon Nick, Andrew, The Daly and Belcher family. I was deeply saddened to hear of Sonia’s untimely passing. I performed a memorial service for her in my parish of St Nicholas. Sonia was at HC/HC during my time there from 2002-2005. She was a true servant of the Lord. May you be comforted knowing you are in our prayers. Eternal be her memory. Fr John Galenos Pilafas, St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Appleton wisconsin
March 22, 2008 at 9:24 pm
im very sorry about the loss of sonia. may she rest in peace.
March 26, 2008 at 5:12 am
God be with you Deacon Nicholas, sweet baby Andrew, The Daly and Belcher Family….
I am so overwhelmed just learning of Sonia’s sudden falling asleep in our Lord, my heartfelt and deepest prayers of strength, love and peace are with you now and will continue…
Sonia and I met at the Antiochian Village in 1997 and we shared a room in a tiny trailer planning program and sharing our lives with each other deep into the night… I have never met anyone with the Light of Christ so brightly lit… she shone for Jesus and all who were blessed to come into her presence were truly able to see God… she changed my prayer life forever… please be comforted in knowing that she is truly watching over you with all of the Saints and Martyrs, whom she taught all of us to know. With the utmost respect to all of you, I believe it to be fair to say that other than meeting her sweet son, Andrew, to truly be standing with our Lord is probably her greatest joy – she taught and loved all she knew that a Christ centered life is a truly blessed life…
We will all greatly miss her and although Sonia and I hadn’t been in touch for the past few years, I have a picture of us in front of the chapel at the Village, on my wall in my home offce, now an angel will watch over my family where a friend used to smile…
Sonia taught me something I have never forgotten… “when the world becomes more than you can handle – throw the ball up to Christ and just trust… He will catch all of your worries and troubles ~know and believe that He is beside you…” I take much comfort knowing that when I throw up the ball she will be near to catch it … may you find the same peace in her words and beliefs as I have over the past ten years…
Sonia, I love you dear friend and I thank you for the joy and love you have blessed so many with …
I will continue to pray for your families, your students and their families and pray for your eternal memory…
April 5, 2008 at 2:56 pm
I heard about Sonia’s passing today and was extremely saddened to hear the news. We were both colleagues at ChildrenFirst, and though she was based in Boston and I in New York, each time I saw her or whenever we talked on the phone, she was always so sweet, kind, and genuine. I have only good memories of Sonia, and I know she will be missed very much.
Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Upper Marlboro, MD
April 15, 2008 at 9:17 am
I want to express my deepest condolences to you and your family for your loss. I am sorry that I got the opportunity to meet Sonia, but Eric told me she was a wonderful person. If there is anything that I can do for you or your young son do not hesitate to contact Eric or myself. You and your family will be in my prayers.
April 16, 2008 at 9:41 pm
Dear Deacon Nick, Andrew, and the Daly and Belcher families,
The most vivid memory I have of Sonia is of her carrying me piggyback through the pool at camp (when I was still small), explaining to me how to make a prayer rope. Now, even as then, I wish I could be like her.
Living close by and having worked at Theophany gave me the blessing of bumping into Sonia frequently, and she always put peace in my heart and a smile on my face. While it grieves me to know that we will not meet again on this Earth, it brings joy to me to carry her memory in my heart.
Sonia–you have accomplished so much in this life, have been such an exemplar of the faith, and your legacy will live on forever. Your dedication and faith marks not only the hearts of those who have met you, but also the life of every child (and their families) that pray their way through Theophany School.
Thank you for spending your time with us. I know you are watching down on all of us, and smiling.
Dn. Nick and Andrew, I know you will do much to keep Sonia alive and with us every day, and for that I am grateful.
April 29, 2008 at 4:13 pm
I wanted to share some of my memories of Sonia. These are just a few highlights from my memories of her.
I met Sonia in Autumn of 2004. I was new to New England and I was just starting to get to know people in the area. Sonia was having her annual Antiochian dinner at her lovely home (she has amazing taste with home decor!) and she invited me to ride along with her and to help get things started. I was so blown away by her kindness and how easy she was to talk to. At any rate, we got to talking and I spoke to her about my wedding plans and she brought me to her room where she pulled out this ENORMOUS wicker basket filled to the brim with wedding invitations and programs. She then went to her closet and opened the sliding doors to reveal a literal rainbow of bridesmaids dresses. Good golly! She encouraged me to look through the wicker basket and to get ideas for my wedding. “Wow!” I thought, “She must know a lot of people! This is a special lady!” And what a remarkable young lady she was.
On January 15, 2006, my husband and I got to share in her special day as guests. Sonia was a beautiful bride. Absolutely radiant. The wedding was fun and filled with little Sonia touches. Above all, the wedding reflected Nick and Sonia’s love for Christ and His Church. I have to admit, I did tear up a little during the ceremony. It was so touching.
In November of 2006, my husband and I had to leave Boston. We weren’t sure what was going to happen with my husband’s job and there was a lot of anxiety on our end. Sonia threw us a going away party at her home. How sweet is that?! She invited all our friends and had excellent food ready to go. I will never forget that act of kindness. It meant the world to me, especially at that time.
I’ll never forget Sonia’s kindness, humor, spunk, laughter (loved the laugh!), beauty, and piety. I have looked up to Sonia ever since I met her and will continue to be inspired by her life for as long as I am here.
Sonia, I miss you more than words can describe. Though we have only known each other just a few years, you have made such a profound impact on my life. I love you very much.
Deacon Nick, as you and Sonia so warmly opened your home to us, please know that you and your beautiful baby boy are always welcome in ours. We love you very much and will continue to pray for you both.
Andrew, you’re a little guy now but one day you’ll read this. As you can easily see, your mom touched so many lives and was a truly amazing person on earth. Ooooo, just imagine what she is doing in Heaven for us!
May Sonia’s memory be forever eternal!
May 2, 2008 at 2:09 pm
I was browsing through my facebook and saw “Pray for Sonia” under a friends profile page. The Holy Spirit impressed me to click on the link and read the posts. I must say, I did not know Sonia, but I feel deeply in my Spirit that she was a woman of God. She is just asleep. We will see her again.
Please be encouraged.
1 Thess. 4:13-18
4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
4:17 Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
In CHRIST there is HOPE!
May 24, 2008 at 8:55 pm
May the Lord Jesus Christ bestow his Blessing’s upon Sonia’s family. And may we always remember what a wonderful person & dedicated Christian she was. Christ’s Divine Love,
Douglas & Orita Hamatie,
August 18, 2008 at 2:14 am
This summer I learned of Sonia’s passing, and had a hard time believing it could be true. I was deeply saddened with the shocking news. After finding this website filled with sooo many memories from friends, family and those less familiar to Sonia’s life, it is clear she led a most fulfilling life – and that makes me truly happy.
Sonia was responsible for much of my happiness the 9 months I lived in Boston (2002-2003). I moved out to HCHC never seeing Boston before. As I stepped out of the taxi in front of Polemonakos Hall, wondering how I would ever get started in a new place, Sonia was waiting for me. She was the first person to greet me. With a warm hug and a beautiful smile she showed me to my dorm room. That first weekend in Boston, she took me with her to “the boys'” house to be with friends. After learning what my interests in school were, she jumped on the opportunity to offer me a position as the teacher’s assistant at Theophany School. I did not have a way to get to Theophany School in Needham, but of course Sonia had the answer! She let me borrow her blue toyota – as long as I had it back when she was done in the Office. And on weekends that she traveled, I had the special treat of touring Boston with her car.
Theophany School was the best experience for me that year. Through Sonia’s passion for her “baby”, the school and the children, I yearned to spread her vision further within the Orthodox community. I ask her to be my mentor, to help me fulfill my dream in spreading the love of Christ and the true charity of Orthodoxy. I too, share her vision of an Orthodox school for children.
I see her smile and hear her laugh in my head, and it inspires me to do as Sonia did. Thank you. Thank you for befriending me. Thank you for leading me. Thank you for helping me. Thank you for guiding me. Thank you for sharing your life and your love with me. Your vigor for life was unstoppable.
Deacon Nick, I remember hearing your beautiful chanting at the Antiochian Village; and I saw you at St. Vladimir’s in the fall of 2002. I saw Sonia’s home across from the park when she was tearing up the floor. Jesse shared some wedding pictures with me. I never knew you two had a child until reading these memories, but it seems the Lord is walking alongside both of you, blessing the fruit of your marriage, blessing your works and the lives you have touched.
May God Bless you and all of your families.
May Sonia’s memory be eternal.
August 27, 2008 at 2:33 pm
Dear Nicholas and Andrew, the Daly and Belcher families, and all those who knew Sonia and love her:
A day hasn’t passed that I haven’t thought of my dear friend, Sonia. I, like so many of you, miss her terribly. I wanted to share some of my favorite memories of Sonia, what makes me smile when I think of her. It has taken me awhile to get to this point because there are days that still can’t believe she is not physically here with us.
I can still recall the first time I met Sonia, actually it was her voice that I heard first! In 1999, Sonia was in Denver for a wedding and she called my husband up (who she had met a few years earlier at a church camp). Funny, I remember the phone call like it was yesterday…we were in our kitchen, the sun was shining and the phone rings and I answer it and it’s SONIA! I spoke to her on the phone and from that moment I knew I wanted to meet this gal and be her friend. She was full of happiness and LIFE!
We saw Sonia again several months later, this time in Minnesota for Fr. George and Christa Dokos’ wedding. One of the funniest memories I have with Sonia is her remark upon exiting the hotel’s elevator as we were entering the wedding reception. The hotel was not only hosting the wedding reception we were attending, but the Little People of America’s Convention. So Sonia, very innocently, remarks a bit too loudly as were exiting the elevator…”Look at all those midgets!”…we quietly told her the PC term was little people! She just laughed her contagious Sonia laugh!
At this point, my husband and I knew we were going to the seminary in the fall of 2000. So visiting with Sonia during this wedding weekend was comforting. My personal worries were lessened once I met Sonia. I actually was excited to move to Boston and get to spend more time with my new friend.
Once in Boston, Sonia was like a sister to me and my husband. She was at our place almost every other evening for dinner, to say “hi”, to take us out for dessert, just to hang out. She loved our oversized couch and would just nestle into it and make herself at home. I’ll never forget our late night outings for crepes at Marche (it’s not there anymore); eating at the Cheesecake factory, going to movies, her taking me to her favorite falafel places, shopping at H&M, ice cream at JP Licks, and her pretty much being our personal driver in Boston. Sonia made living in Boston for those 2 years so memorable and enjoyable.
Although I met Sonia only 8 years ago, it feels like I have known her all my life. She was at almost all our major family events (besides our wedding—because we didn’t know her then!). Sonia was there in Boston for the birth of our first daughter, Alexia. She actually gave us Alexia’s first bed….her bassinet. I was nearing my due date and still did not have a place for our baby to sleep. I remember mentioning that to Sonia. The next day, Sonia knocks on my door with a bassinet for the baby. I remember her saying, “Now, you don’t have to worry about where your baby will sleep. The baby has a bed.” I just remember crying and hugging her….Sonia was the definition of thoughtful.
When I left Boston, Sonia was the one who took me to the airport to see me off. She wanted to walk me in, help me to the check out counter. So she told the airport officer she was helping me, the new mom, to the counter and not to tow her car. Here we are saying our goodbyes and I get to my gate. My phone rings and wouldn’t you know that Sonia’s car did end up getting towed. She had told the police officer a little more than what she thought, but by the time she called me to tell me, she was laughing her contagious Sonia laugh and telling me…you won’t believe just what happened to me…
Sonia visited us in Denver several times (she always had this great way of mixing business with pleasure)… she came out for Alexia’s baptism, for my husband’s ordination to the diaconate, for the birth of our second daughter Eleni, for her baptism, and sometimes just because. We also had the pleasure of visiting Sonia a few years back while she was dating Nick. We were in Boston for a wedding and again Sonia offered herself to us….she watched Eleni for us while we went to the wedding and she even gave us her car to drive so we wouldn’t have to rent a car!
It had been 2 years since we had actually seen Sonia in person and we were blessed to have an occasion to get together…my sister-in-laws wedding (2/16/08). Sonia and Nick flew into Denver and drove up to Fort Collins to have dinner with us. I learned that Sonia loved puzzles. We had been working on one and she wouldn’t leave until it was finished! She met our 3rd daughter, Maria and was able to spend time being “Thea Sonia” to our girls. She showed us a video of baby Andrew and we all knew how much she loved her little baby—she was so proud that he weighed 20 pounds at 4months!!!
Sonia will always be missed. The only way I can keep her alive is in her memory and trying to be more like her…to go out of my way to help people, to make a point of calling my friends on a regular basis like she did, to always think of others before myself, and to live out my Orthodox faith on a daily basis.
I miss you Sonia. I miss not being able to call you and hear your voice. I miss not having my phone ring and it being you, saying “Hey Stace”….
Thank you for a beautiful friendship for giving so much of yourself to me and my family.
Fort Collins, Colorado
February 13, 2009 at 8:29 am
I was looking fir images of Icons (John The Baptist) for a small video set to the Boston Byzantine Choir – “Blessed Is The Man”. I came across this blog – ORA ET LABORA http://ishmaelite.blogspot.com/2008_02_01_archive.html and saw the photo of Sonia and her husband and baby son – i burst into tears and I dont even know you. Even strangers from across the sea are affected.
Perth, Western Australia
February 20, 2009 at 9:29 pm
Kh. Kristina Gillquist
It is the first anniversary of Sonia’s passing from life to life, and it has for many, become not only the day that marks Sonia’s repose, but a personal anniversary of rebirth.
The mind swirls with thoughts, the desire to be with the great company of Sonia’s network, the desire to record innumerable experiences of being touched by God’s tremendous Grace and Sonia’s spiritual presence in the past year. How silly. For whom is this important? Only for me, when my spiritual eyes are tightly closed and I give myself over to a petty anxiety to catalog and chronicle expressions of our spiritual reality with words that cheapen and fracture God’s gifts of unexpected and undeserved Grace.
We were blessed that my husband was able to make the pilgrimmage to Boston for her funeral, our family rep. I told myself that surely I would make it to St. George for her 40 day memorial, or at least her 1 year memorial. How silly, really. I am home with three magnificent, congested kids, my priestly husband, and a parish at the threshold of Great Lent. Shall I pity myself that I cannot stand in her church and kiss her grave? If so, then I make even Sonia’s death about me.
And this is the antithesis of everything said in the sentiments above about a woman who was so invested in life outside of herself and her own interests. Sonia’s personal interests were God’s interests. She wanted her crown. She was in the race for good, as in PERMANENTLY and also FOR the common GOOD. Where her treasure was, there her whole heart was, and Sonia’s treasure was everything she had to give: personal resources of strength from the heart, mind, and soul. Sonia loved her neighbor as herself.
Sonia’s company is literally among us because the Kingdom is among us. It is. Tomorrow we will celebrate the first Saturday of Souls Divine Liturgy of this holy season. We are surrounded by the great cloud of witnesses, and Sonia is in. She made it. My girl is on the list of saints. Well done, good and faithful servant. Intercede fervently for us.
August 1, 2009 at 7:13 pm
I will always remember sonia in the families heart. We will never forget her. She was a great cousin to all of us and was a generous person to all comunities looking forward to the walk. I wont forget you . ❤
August 25, 2010 at 9:04 am
We love you Sonia ……
From Sara,Julia,Kiki, and the awesome Joseph karam.
January 3, 2011 at 11:13 am
I love you!
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