Cover photo for Ritajean Reed's Obituary
Ritajean Reed Profile Photo
Ritajean

Ritajean Reed

d. July 8, 2023

All throughout our lives, we may meet or hear about people who are blessed with certain traits that distinguish them from all the other people. Someone who possesses strength, dedication, compassion, kindness and the will to help others is surely a person who we all can love, honor, and respect. These certain people truly affect the lives of those they encounter by simply being who they are. Sadly, the world lost one of these special people on July 8, 2023, when Ritajean Reed, formerly of Philadelphia, passed away peacefully at her home in West Norriton, PA. Ritajean is the daughter of Florence and Frank Reed, former residents of Winchester Park in Northeast Philadelphia. Ritajean was a resident of the Chestnut Hill neighborhood for 18 years, working 10 of those years at her own coffee and tea company, Reed’s International, in the Chestnut Hill Farmer’s Market. Ritajean raised her four children alone, working extra hard at every job she had to support her family. Her magnetic personality enabled her to find success in sales, marketing, and eventually as a hospice chaplain. Whatever it took, Ritajean got it done! Always with a smile. Ritajean is survived by her children, John, Joseph (Laiza), Francis (Gina), and Krysia, grandchildren Michael, Joseph, Aveion, Maddelena, Enya, Faith, Myah, Joseph, Krysia, Karis, and Caleb. Great-granddaughter Ella is the most recent addition to the family. Ritajean’s life has been dedicated to her faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ and all that His teachings bring to the world. In fact, let’s read about her lifetime of faith and dedication as written by Ritajean herself: When did I encounter Christ in my life? As a cradle Catholic, I practiced my faith by going to Church, praying my prayers before bed, listening to bible stories at school and memorizing the Baltimore Catechism. It was a cookie-cutter kind of faith where my prayers, well rehearsed, rolled off my tongue. I didn’t know Christ. I worshiped Him. Then came my Sacrament of Penance (that was what it was called back then) and my First Communion. Again, I was practiced and rehearsed for the big day until something amazing happened. I encountered Christ in the Eucharist. I felt Him in me. Really felt Him. I started to encounter Christ, I believe, in nature. I lived across the street from Pennypack Park and spent a lot of time alone in the woods. I felt Him in nature and still do. In adolescence, my prayers became more personal. I would ask Jesus to help me with a test, or to make my pimples go away; even to help a certain boy notice me. I felt as though I was in a relationship with Christ. My prayers became personal. I prayed but rarely listened. I couldn’t hear and fully receive His guidance. I was simply too busy talking to Him. As a young married adult, life presented me with more challenges than I ever imagined. Christ was my companion, but I found myself at odds with the Church. Issues of birth control (when we couldn’t afford the children we had), divorce (which I initiated because my husband, my love, didn’t put family before his wants and desires) and remarriage. I lost the Eucharist. I believed I was a faithful and loving servant of the Lord, but I was lost to the Church. I felt ashamed and unworthy, but Christ was my hope and my salvation. I started to hear Him call me back. It was a cosmic series of events that brought me back to the Church. My second marriage ended in divorce, and I was finally free to receive the Eucharist. Christ filled me up. I volunteered with hospice and was present at the time of death of my first hospice patient whom I had journeyed with faithfully 2 times a week for 6 months. In that sacred moment, despite my fears, I encountered Christ. He touched me. I felt his Presence in the room. I felt his love. I enrolled to finish college at 54 and encountered Christ’s grace to lift me up and achieve a dream I had thought long forgotten. I entered a Church (Our Mother of Consolation Parish) that was permeated with a sense of welcoming and a pastor (Fr. Bob Bazzoli) that exuded forgiveness. I encountered Christ in each service in the faces of the congregants, the words of scripture, the homily of the priest, the joyous songs of the choir and the Eucharist. I breathed in the Christ. A dire passion took hold of me to know Christ more. I loved my theology courses and psychology courses. I loved my work in hospice and I loved how I talked and listened to the Lord. We were becoming fast friends. I realized that my conversations with the terminally ill often became spiritual conversations. We spoke of death and life hereafter. Not all were Catholic, but I felt comfortable listening to their thoughts and fears and offering consolation in the Lord. Was I being drawn somehow to chaplaincy? Time convinced me that the Lord was calling me to provide pastoral care to the dying. After completing a masters in pastoral counseling and a residency in clinical pastoral education, I became a chaplain in hospice. I encountered Christ and the Holy Spirit every time I engaged in a conversation for which I had no words. The Spirit provided them. Every time I was privileged to be present with a dying patient, Christ was there. His Presence was palpable. I felt him work through me. He raised me up. My senior years continue to bring challenges: death of my father, caregiving for my mother, adult children and grandchildren in need, and health issues of my own. My relationship with Christ has flourished, broadened, deepened; became intimate. I know when He talks to me. I hear Him. I know He is nearer me than I ever imagined. Yet, I continue to strive to know Him better, love Him more deeply, keep Him in my everyday moments. I pray to open my mind, body and spirit to Him May it be done unto me according to His will. Ritajen Reed That’s who Ritajean Reed was, the strongest, most dedicated, compassionate, kind and loving person you could ever meet. God blessed her with these amazing traits and thankfully she utilized them throughout her life to make everyone who had the pleasure to be near her smile. Keep smiling, Ritajean! God Loves You! Funeral services will be held on Friday, July 14, 2023 at Our Mother of Consolation Church, 9 E.Chestnut Hill Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118. A visitation with the family will be held between 10am and 11am at the church. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11am. Burial will be immediately after the Mass at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 3301 W. Cheltenham Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19150. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation can be made in honor of Ritajean Reed to: Crossroads Hospice 523 Plymouth Rd. Suite 225 Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462 Or Donate online at www.crossroadshospice.com
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Service Schedule

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Visitation

Friday, July 14, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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Funeral Mass

Friday, July 14, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Interment

Friday, July 14, 2023

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