Sister Bernardine Remedios, MM

Born: July 25, 1930

Entered: September 2, 1956

Died: October 17, 2014

“My soul waits for the Lord, more than the Sentinel waits for the dawn” (Ps 130)

Our treasured Sister Bernardine Remedios was called by her Creator on October 17, 2014 at 11:30pm. Bernie died peacefully at Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, California after a short illness.  Her death was a shock to all of us.

Sister Bernardine was born July 25, 1930 in Kowloon, Hong Kong to Fernando and Carmen (Osmund) Remedios. She had five brothers and one sister all living. Sister entered Maryknoll on September 2, 1956 at Maryknoll, New York. At Reception Bernie received the name Sr. Carmen Fernanda.  She made her first Vows on June 24, 1959 at Maryknoll, New York. She was a faithful and essential member of the Fr. Cotta Group. Her final Vows were made in Hong Kong on June 24, 1965. Bernie was 84 years old and a Maryknoll Sister for 58 years.

Our remembrances of Bernie are many. Her laughter and sense of humor engaged all of us and her heightened sense of responsibility impressed those who knew her and worked with her.  Some little known facts that are important to know about Bernie are that she was the Badminton Champion of Hong Kong; an avid bridge player and loved tennis (watching it that is!).  She loved to gamble her own money of course, and got pleasure out of winning.  Bernie, in her clipped British accent, loved to get into philosophical discussions and was constantly searching “What do you think?” God has been waiting 84 years to answer this question for her. Now God has all the answers for her!

Bernie’s first assignment was to Taiwan December 1960 to 1969 and her various ministries included: Pastoral work, Youth ministry, work with students and factory workers.  She responded to the opportunity for ongoing education and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education  in 1972 from Mary Rogers College.  After assisting in our Maryknoll Sisters’ Treasury Department for two years, Bernie was requested to become the Director of the Kindergarten in Chinatown, New York. Bernie eventually returned to Taiwan and Hong Kong assisting the regions as Regional Finance Director.

In 1987 Bernie was requested by the Congregational Leadership Team to return as Assistant to the Treasurer of the Congregation and in 1993 Bernie was appointed to the position of Congregational Treasurer. She continued in this position until her retirement in 2001. She then rejoiced in her assignment to Monrovia, California where she resided until her death.

In a letter from the President of the Congregation, Sr.  Helene O’ Sullivan, dated, Jan 1, 2001 when Bernie completed her term as Congregational Treasurer, she wrote:  “You have been a wonderful steward of the resources of the Congregation which has enabled us to continue to be effective in mission around the world. You have put in long hours each day for years in the service of your Sisters and Mission and we are deeply grateful to you! We are in good financial shape thanks to your devoted and competent work. It has been great working with you.”

Sr. Rosemary Huber, Coordinator of Monrovia, Feb 25, 2009 wrote:  “Sr. Bernardine  Remedios has been active in our finances. Importantly she orientated and educated the lay woman who has been employed for day to day financial work… Her involvement in the establishment of the Maryknoll California Corporation and ensuring the taxes were not exorbitant was a long tedious labor and she succeeded in accomplishing it.”

These two statements from Helene and Rosemary exhibit her tireless efforts on behalf of the total Congregation.

Bernie requested to go to Chandler, Arizona from 2009 to 2010 with Sr. Bridget Chapman. This gave her the opportunity to live a more quiet and contemplative life such as she had attempted once before in a House of Prayer on the island of  Lantau.  Her desire for quiet and prayer was dominant in her life.

In Bernie’s own words to Sr. Regina Pellicore when accepting her position she said: “It is a challenging task… I myself feel it is a privilege to be asked to do this work.  So I say, YES.”

This is the hallmark of Bernie’s life! May we all strive to remember Bernie by saying our own “YES.”

Our sincere condolences reach out to her sister, Therese, in Canada, her brother, Dr. Alphonso Remedios, in South Dakota, her 3 brothers in Australia; Carlos, Eduardo, Fernando, and  one brother, Philip, in Hong Kong. We also express our condolences to the many people who have shared life with Bernie in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Arizona, California and New York.

We welcome and thank Father Frank Cassidy and Father Michael Callanan, MM, who will concelebrate at this Mass of the Resurrection.