Unification News for January 2000

In Memoriam Muriel Johnson Hausner

Muriel Johnson Hausner peacefully took her last breath on this earth at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6, 1999, at age 53. Her sister-in-law, Gloria Gomez Johnson, was with her. Muriel was diagnosed with tongue cancer last year during the Blessing Ď98 campaign for Madison Square Garden.

The Seung Hwa ceremony was held at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, Maryland. The sunlight pouring in through the churchís floor-to-ceiling windows and the beautiful floral arrangements created a special atmosphere for the many people who gathered to remember our special sister, wife, daughter, and friend.

Louis Johnson, her younger brother, said, "Muriel has been a very special part of my life. Growing up, she was so tall and big, I had to look up at her. As I grew up later, I began looking down at her. She always loved to tell people I was her big little brother."

Muriel was born in Cheverly, Maryland, on May 20, 1946. At age 12, Murielís family moved to Pakistan. Her father was an economic consultant with the United Nations and the Agency for International Development. This began her life-long love for travel and adventure. She had a chance to meet Lady Baden Powell, whose husband had founded the Boy Scouts. She worked with Pakistani girls and attended camp in the Himalayas. Later in life, she traveled throughout Europe and the Middle East.

"Muriel was so full of energy," said Louis. "Vivacious is a word that describes her well. I especially remember growing up with her in Pakistan. We took camel rides, and they always put Muriel and me together on one camel, and my two brothers were put on the other camel to run along the beach. We were fortunate to have been able to visit a number of Islamic mosques, Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh temples and to have Zoroastrian friends."

Muriel graduated from Wheaton High School in 1965, and because of her talent and love for crafts and art, she studied fashion design and textiles, graduating from the University of Maryland in College Park with a B.A. degree in 1970. She worked with the National Park Service and also taught sewing at the Singer Sewing Co. in Silver Spring, Maryland.

At age 26, Muriel found a flyer on a bus inviting guests to a talk on the meaning of life. She knocked on the door of 1611 Upshur Street, in Washington, D.C, then the headquarters of the Unification Church, and met Mr. Michael Leone, who taught her the Divine Principle.

At the Seung Hwa, Mike Leone introduced himself as "the terrible big Italian guy who saw her when she came to the house on Upshur Street years ago. You can imagine my amazement. At that time our church was under tremendous persecution and Rev. Moon was much more controversial than he is today. We were having a very hard time reaching out to people. To have someone knock on the door was quite a surprise. I happened to be the only person on that floor of the house at that time, so I answered the door and there was a wonderful, beautiful, young lady. I said ĎHi,í and she said, ĎHi, is there anybody here who can teach me the Divine Principleí"

In 1974, Muriel became a full-time missionary for the Unification Church and took part in many campaigns to awaken America and the world to the importance of building God-centered families. She volunteered in 1974 for the "New Future of Christianity" campaign with Rev. Moonís speech at Madison Square Garden. In 1975 she joined the International One World Crusade, traveling throughout Japan and Korea for the Day of Hope tour and Yoido Rally.

In 1976, she moved to New York, participated in the "God Bless America" campaign at Yankee Stadium and supported the "Bicentennial God Bless America Festival" at the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. For the next few years she was involved in fundraising projects in Alabama and Georgia. She devoted several years to the physical restoration of the World Mission Center (New Yorker Hotel) and the Manhattan Center in New York City. Muriel bought the velvet for the stage curtains and supervised their sewing and hanging.

In 1992, Muriel participated in the 30,000 Couples Blessing ceremony in Seoul, Korea, with Dr. Josef Hausner, retired professor of Old Testament Studies at the Unification Theological Seminary in upstate New York. In Seoul, Muriel did something that for someone else would be extraordinary but for her was typical: As soon as she heard that her future sister-in-law, Gloria, lost her luggage with her wedding dress in it, Muriel immediately offered her own wedding dress and cut it to fit Gloria.

In 1996, at age 50, she graduated with a degree in pattern-making from the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan in a ceremony held at Radio City Music Hall.

In 1997, Muriel supported Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon and the Womenís Federation for World Peace in New York, Washington, and the Middle East during the worldwide speaking tour. Muriel was deeply moved by the experiences at the Sisterhood ceremonies with Japanese ladies held by the Womenís Federation for World Peace.

She wrote in a holiday letter in 1997, "What really excites me about the WFWP is its efforts to implement the social and emotional skills of women. God endows women with a greater ease than men in their natural ability to bridge the barriers of race, religions, culture, and politics, which are currently blocking greater harmony in our present world situation. These feminine skills can bring their best results when women work together cooperatively with men and families to achieve human betterment. I attended several more of these conferences including a black-white sisterhood ceremony in New York City, so now I have several lovely Japanese sisters and a beautiful black sister, Irene Rathemen, from Barbados, who now lives in Brooklyn."

Of her blessing Muriel wrote, "We arenít the same religion, generation, or culture, but Josef fell in love. I was also attracted to him and decided that marriage could work because he was a man of God. This was important to me because I too am a religious person. A leap of faith or love? Actor Gary Busey said on the 700 Club that FAITH stands for Fantastic Adventures in Trusting Him. Well, Josef and I have certainly been having these kinds of experiences."

Rev. In Hoi Lee, regional director for the Washington area, gave the Seung Hwa eulogy. He quoted Ecclesiastes, "And the dust returns to the earth as it was and the spirit returns to God who gave it," and Rev. Moon who said, "In the secular world, death signifies the end of life. However, in our world, death is like a rebirth or a new birth into another world. For this reason, we should not make those occasions gloomy or sad or feel discouraged."

Rev. Lee challenged everyone to review our own lives as children of God. "Our physical life," he said, "could end at any moment. So the question is, will we be ready? How are we preparing for our eternal life? How do we live each day of our lives? How much do we think about Heavenly Father, Jesus, or our True Parents as we go through our busy schedules?" It was an emotional sermon that touched everyone very deeply.

There were many beautiful testimonies at the Seung Hwa and Won Jeun ceremonies, and songs were offered by June Maxim, accompanied by Otmar Weinmann. Gloria Gomez Johnson opened the ceremony with a deep and sincere prayer. "Murielís life was marked by her unconditional love for God and her love for people." Gloria, a former medic, moved into the Johnsonsí home for the last 80 days of Murielís life and was constantly at her side, taking care of her every need, day and night.

Milton Johnson, Murielís father, recounted family visits to Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, and her love for her Aunt Phyllis and Aunt Elise. Her mother, Miriam Johnson, recalled how proud Muriel was of her brothers. As a second grader, Mrs. Johnson recalled, Muriel insisted on bringing Louis, her baby brother, to her class for show-and-tell.

Murielís other two brothers, Larry and Bill, also spoke with great affection and love, as did other relatives and friends. Mary Penn said, "What was really special about Muriel was that we could share our deepest feelings and fears with her in absolute trust that she would never judge us, nor broadcast our words. She was unique, like a mother confessor who allowed our words to rest in a secret chamber of her heart."

"To be honest," said Mike Leone, "Murielís life was not always an easy life. She went through difficulty, sometimes great difficulty, and at the end also she went through great difficulty. One of the things I want to testify to is that throughout the difficulties, even recently, over the years that Iíve known her I never heard Muriel speak badly of anyone. I never heard her complain about people or say that somebody was a bad person, or didnít do something right. She just was not that kind of person."

Her close friend Valerie Parham said, "I just want to say if Iím shedding tears, itís only tears of love. But the word love is the word that I think of when I think of Muriel. She became my true sister and Iím so grateful to God."

The closing benediction at the Seung Hwa was given by Rev. Phillip Schanker; family friend Lt. Col. Ben Layton, USA (Ret.), gave the benediction at the Gate of Heaven cemetery.

Murielís immediate family includes her blessed husband, Josef Hausner; her beloved parents, Milton and Miriam; her three brothers, Larry, Bill, and Louis; her nephews, Andrew and Paul; her niece, Meg; her aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relatives; and many, many friends.

Muriel will be remembered by many for her unquenchable zest for life, her spirit of adventure, her stubbornness, her bubbling enthusiasm, her warm and generous nature, and her unwavering dedication to True Parents. In closing, Mike Leone said, "Muriel Johnson Hausner, we love you and we thank God for bringing you into our lives. Thank you for knocking on that door years ago. We will meet together in the spiritual world. Thank you very much."

Many guests commented on the service, saying it was "beautiful," "deeply moving," and "inspiring." Mary Barnard, the nurse from the hospice, described it as "the brightest funeral service Iíve ever seen."

Offered by Bill and Donna Selig, Associate Pastors, Montgomery County, Maryland. Special thanks to the many brothers and sisters who prayed and assisted during Murielís illness and Seung Hwa ceremony. Also, thanks to the Hess and Walters families and others who brought food to the Johnsonsí home and to the health care and hospice workers who unselfishly attended Muriel. Thanks for those who contributed to her graveside marker. The outpouring of sympathy and love from neighbors, classmates, and worldwide friends is deeply appreciated by the Johnson family.

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