The Deacon's Bench

News reports of Jane Wyman’s funeral have mentioned her devout Cathoicism — and a detail that may surprise some people: she was buried in a habit.

This, from a local TV station:

Adopted son Michael Reagan attended the service with his wife and their daughter, Ashley, and son, Cameron, who was a pallbearer.

When he first spoke, Reagan, a syndicated radio show host, was choked up.

“Hopefully I can get through this,” he said, adding that his mother “spent a lot of time on her knees, praying for me.”

He recalled asking for a bicycle when he was 10. His mother told him he would have to get a job.

“She built men, not boys,” he said. “I was lucky to be her son.”

For most of his life, he said he was asked about his famous father.

“A lot of people talk about my father, but I am who I am today because of my mother,” he said.

Wyman, a convert to Catholicism, joined a Dominican order in the latter part of her life. She was buried in her habit.

The Rev. Howard Lincoln of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Palm Desert, where Wyman’s funeral Mass was celebrated, said Wyman was especially generous to him.

“I saw my first $100,000 check because of Jane Wyman,” he said.

Wyman’s donations paid for padded pews, kneelers and a new sound system at the church.

Reagan said his mother always wanted everyone to be comfortable, half- seriously adding that was why she sprang for the cushions.

Lincoln called her “the antithesis of Norma Desmond,” the vain, washed- up “Sunset Boulevard” character.

“She was long on style, but longer on substance,” Lincoln said. The priest was philosophical about Wyman’s passing.

“She has never been as alive as she is right now,” he said. “She was one of those people who understood that there is no permanent address on this globe. Her new home is heaven.” Wyman, he said, was “very plugged-in to our Lord.”

About that habit: a reader tells me that Wyman was a third order Dominican.

Image: St. Catherine founding the Third and Second Order Dominicans, by Cosimo Roselli

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