As America celebrates the amazing contributions of women during Women’s History Month, we give thanks today for the life and legacy of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who has been called home by the same loving God who gave her life.

Secretary Albright, of course, was a trailblazing diplomat and the nation’s first female Secretary of State. Her family fled the ravages of war in her native Czechoslovakia and she devoted her professional career to waging diplomacy in the cause of peace.

From her earliest days, she knew the fragility of peace and the heavy cost of war. She also clung to America’s promise in the world, and to the ideals of freedom and self-determination. She loved America, and America loved her back. As Eastern Europe once again faces the ghastly reality of human suffering, we will miss her abiding commitment to peace for all of God’s children.

Beyond all of her professional accolades, Secretary Albright was a decades-long friend to this Cathedral and the schools here on the Cathedral Close. As a working mother, she chaired the board of the Beauvoir School, and until her death she was a faithful member of the Cathedral Chapter, our governing board.

She generously lent her time to sharing her wisdom in the Cathedral’s public programs on public diplomacy and faith in public life. Here at the Cathedral, we knew her as a fellow pilgrim, a woman of deep and sustaining faith who, on most Sundays, could be found in the pews of her beloved parish church in Georgetown.

This faithful servant of God and disciple of peace now returns to the God who loved her. We give thanks for her life, we marvel at her legacy and we rejoice in the knowledge that she at last has found the peace she wished for the entire world.

“Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Madeleine. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive her into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.”

The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith
Dean, Washington National Cathedral