Sister M. Carmelita (Morales), CSC
Sister M Carmelita Morales, CSC
(July 27, 1914 - December 16, 2011)
Word has been received of the death of Sister Carmelita (Morales) who died at 10:20 a.m. on Friday, December 16, 2011, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana.
Sister Carmelita characterized herself as a very private person but others would add key characteristics such as being kind, thoughtful, generous, very prayerful and a wonderful religious. These complementary descriptors by sisters who knew her and lived with her would probably embarrass sister because she never considered the manner in which she went about her daily religious life as anything exceptional. However, she was exceptional in many ways, beginning with the fact that her family roots in Ventura, California, span six generations, add to that the distinction that one of her ancestors, Juan Jose Garcia who was in the Spanish military, was a contemporary of Blessed Father Junipero Serra. She was understandably proud of her rich California heritage.
Early in her life the influence of the Holy Cross sisters was significant. All of her education in her formative years was under the auspices of the congregation, from the first grade at the Mission San Bonaventura School and Saint Catherine’s in Ventura to Holy Rosary Academy in Woodland Hills, California, and then Saint Mary of the Wasatch in Salt Lake City, Utah, Holy Cross was present in her life. From this close association it was a small step to her entrance into the novitiate in 1933.
Her teaching career was divided into approximately two twenty-year segments, the first was in junior high grades and the second in the language department of various high schools in the western states. Everyone will recognize that young people of this age level are certainly a challenge but for Sister Carmelita it was a joy. She related well with her students and in her quiet manner built a mutual trust and respect. Besides her formal teaching in various schools, she spent three rewarding summers working with the poor in Guatemala where her fluency in Spanish gave her an immediate connection with the people. She enthusiastically declared, “the opportunity to minister outside the United States was one of the great blessings of my life.”
After her years spent in the classroom, Sister Carmelita continued to be eager for active ministry and so for the next 20 years she was involved in parish ministry as director of religious education or as director of the RCIA programs in four different parishes, all in California. She was so dedicated and successful in her efforts that her pastor at Mission San Bonaventura, Monsignor Francis Weber, declared, “she was as good as two assistants and did everything except say Mass.”
Her devotion to ministry was matched by her dedication to prayer, her family and her congregation. She had a great love of the Blessed Mother particularly under the title, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and she rejoiced at the many opportunities she had to visit the shrine in Mexico City. Sister got much of her spiritual strength from the Blessed Sacrament where she spent many hours praying for her family members, the congregation and the needs of the poor whose cause was dear to her heart.
It was her strong faith that sustained her during her last illness and she used every day as a preparation. Her preparation is now complete and she has been rewarded for her years of loving service to the Lord.
Funeral arrangement for Sister Carmelita are as follows: Reception of the body, wake and memento on Tuesday, December 20, 2011, at 9:30 a.m. with the Mass of Resurrection at !:30 p.m. the same day. All of these ceremonies will take place in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto. May Sister Carmelita rest in peace.