Sister Carol Pereyra, MM

Born: January 6, 1930
Entered: September 4, 1948
Died: March 15, 1993

Sometime before 1983, Sister Carol Pereyra wrote the following poem:

“I longed for that lovely I longed to be Alive again,
treasure ‘hidden in the field’, and,
I longed to Live again, Life took hold of me,
no matter the price, and lifted me up,
I longed to See again, and took me by the hand,
no matter the Dark, and said,
I longed to Love again, ‘Come then, let us return to
no matter the loneliness that  the home,
follows,  to the home of Our Father’.”

Carol has now gone home. We mourn her leaving us. We rejoice in the fulfillment of her home-coming and final abode in the peace of God. Carol died in St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise, Idaho, mid-morning on March 15, 1993. In faith we know that she now sees, loves, is alive in the arms of God.

Carol Pereyra was born in Philadelphia on January 6, 1930, to Arthur and Margaret Carroll Pereyra, now both deceased. Her education was in Philadelphia where she graduated from Little Flower Catholic High School.

Carol entered Maryknoll on September 4, 1948, and at Reception received the name Sister Mary de Porres. Her First Profession on March 7, 1951, and Final Profession in 1954, were both made here at Maryknoll.

Carol attended Maryknoll Teachers College (MTC) from 1950-1954 and one year, in 1952, at Pius X School of Liturgical Music. She graduated from MTC in 1954 with a Bachelors of Education Degree. Later, in 1964, Carol did a semester of graduate work at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Fifteen years later, in 1979-1980, she took two more semesters of graduate studies in Theology and Ecclesiology at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. During that time, she also did a workshop in Texas on human relations and community organization at ACORN (Association of Community Organization for Reform Now).

In 1954, Carol’s first assignment was to Hawaii where she taught elementary school at Heeia, Punahou and Wailuku. From 1964 to 1968, she taught in the Bronx, cooked at St. Teresa’s and spent a short time at our novitiate in Topsfield, Massachusetts. Carol’s next assignment was to Bolivia, mostly in the Santa Cruz area, where, from 1968 to 1983, she was engaged in training programs for Christian community development in jungle areas, orientation of colonists, leadership training, adult education, and arts and crafts for marketing, the latter in collaboration with an ecumenical group co-founded by Carol and Protestant pastoral workers. Of her Bolivia time, latter years were spent in a rural area outside of Cochabamba in retreat work and workshops for rural communities, lay missioners and other pastoral agents.

In 1983, Carol joined the Western U.S. Region and went to St. Mary’s in Alaska for three years of pastoral ministry, specifically a program for theological and spiritual development with the Anchorage Diocese. In 1988, Carol did a CPE program in Richland, Washington. She then moved to Oregon in 1989 where she was the pastoral minister at Holy Rosary Medical Center and counselled the sick and those who attended them. In the hospital and local parish Carol helped develop and became involved in a close community bonding and relationship. The people of that particular community in Ontario, Oregon, will hold a memorial service with Sisters Rita Keegan, Mary Boyce and Theresa Lisak on March 29th.

Carol was gifted musically and poetically. The latter talent enabled her to translate basic principles and understandings of Church into practical and meaningful language for whole communities of people, both literate and illiterate. Carol’s mission experience focused on helping people be Church in priest-less parishes and take initiative to exercise their own responsibility as the People of God.

In the last few years, Carol developed a strong devotion to Mary, our Mother. In particular, she urged all to heed the messages from Mary as related in reported visions of recent times.

Carol’s participation in Maryknoll regional life was always active. In both Bolivia and Western U.S. Regions, Carol contributed her communication skills during Regional Assemblies with a special effort to enable all voices to be heard.

From the early days, Carol was seen as one who possessed enthusiasm, insight and an instinctive ability in teaching – a “born teacher” – and one blessed with many talents. In Community too, Carol was known to be buoyant and cheerful. Those who knew her well know it was at cost as Carol worked to overcome her inner struggles. The effect of her struggle was a conviction that she was doing something meaningful with her life. Carol’s buoyancy and cheer were conscious efforts to overcome her struggle as part of the Paschal Mystery for her. We will remember Carol for her person, her mission spirit, her enthusiasm, her single-minded and faithful gift of her life to God, to people and to us.

We come together this morning to remember Carol’s life and her new beginning in the Resurrection which we celebrate in today’s liturgy. Carol now sees, loves and is alive again. We accompany her on her return home in prayer, faith and thanksgiving.

Maryknoll Father Joseph Towle is our celebrant. Again, we offer our sympathy and warm welcome to all Carol’s family, friends and our members here as we join together in prayer.