-Says Rev. Fr. Sellee
The Dean of the Trinity Cathedral, Reverend Fr. James B. Sellee, was one of several personalities who described the late Catherine Ellen Johnson a devoted Christian, who served not only the church, but her community and the country at large.
Rev. Sellee also acknowledged that she was a strong business woman, who tremendously impacted not only the lives of her immediate family members, but members of her community and other Liberians.
Mrs. Johnson will be remembered by many as a renowned home economics instructor at the University of Liberia (UL) where she spent most of her active years teaching the art. She was a farmer, a devout Christian and dedicated public servant, an official government Gazette said.
At a thanksgiving service in celebration of the life of the deceased held at the Trinity Cathedral Episcopal Church, Rev. Sellee said Mrs. Johnson died as a faithful and dedicated Christian—a life he testified to.
While on her dying bed, Rev. Sellee recalled how Mrs. Johnson had wanted to be in the presence of the Lord, knowing that she has a better place in heaven, because God promised his children who served him as Catherine.
“God is not a man to lie, what He says will surely come to pass,” Rev. Sellee said.
He reminded members of the congregation to reflect on their own life and live as dedicated servants of God, urging, as the church said goodbye to Mrs. Johnson, that they should reflect on their own lives and live as dedicated servants of God so that when they die their souls can find rest in heaven.
Rev. Selle spoke on the Theme: “what will you take with you when you die? And Text from the book of Revolution14: 13.”
He said every human came into the world naked and naked they shall return, adding that Christians should not allow anything on earth to separate them from God that has the ability to give each one of his children eternal life in his kingdom.
“People will kill whole nations for money, deceive and lie just to get power; sometimes, people fight each other in the family just to get property, but when they die, they will not take all of those things in their possession with them to their graves. At times their enemies enjoy what they have labored for after they shall have been gone to the grave,” he noted.
He said Mrs. Johnson was not a person that loved power, but she treated people with love and fairness.
Rev. Selle indicated that power belongs to God, but those who have power should be thankful that God has given them power, which they are to use for the betterment of those they lead.
He said people should be careful of what they say or do to others and must treat people with justice and fairness, because no one knows when they will die. “When you die you will be standing before God to tell him what you have done, how you served the church, took care of people that were naked and people will also be judged by your deeds and actions.”
In tribute, Puchu Leona Bernard, niece of Mrs Johnson, said she was a true patriot and industrialist as well as an advocate for self-reliance; she proved that these traits can be the cornerstone of the development and sustenance of a people, their nation and the very fabric of their society.
Puchu Bernard said Mrs. Johnson was a no nonsense businesswoman, who opened the Cinderella Shoe Store on the corner of Broad and Center streets in the 60’s.
According to her, Mrs. Catherine Ellen Johnson was a rare Liberian businesswoman at the time, traveling frequently to Portugal, Spain and Italy to source quality leather shoes for her growing business.
She was the daughter of Mr. Gabriel Johnson, granddaughter of Liberian President Hilary Richard Wright Johnson and great granddaughter of the eminent Liberian pioneer, Elijah Johnson.
Mrs. Johnson died Friday, January 12, 2018 at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital, Monrovia, following a period of illness, family sources said.
She was in her 98th year.
Her father was Gabriel Johnson, son of President Hilary Richard Wright Johnson, 11th President of Liberia (1884-92) and the first Liberian-born President. Gabriel Johnson’s father was Elijah Johnson (1787-1849), a former officer of the United States Navy and one of the first repatriated Liberians and leader of the Colony of Liberia during 1822.
The funeral was graced by eminent Liberians which included Counselor Yvette Chesson Wureh, an eminent Liberian lawyer and head of Liberia’s Angie Brooks International Center, and Cyvette Gibson, Mayor of the city of Paynesville.