On February 27, 2015, Sister Maria Carolina Hernandez, of the Religious Sisters of Mercy, received fullness of eternal life surrounded by her community of sisters at Catherine's Residence in St. Louis, Missouri.
Sister Carolina was born January 29, 1931, in Brownsville, Texas, the oldest of six children of Edelmiro Sr. and Carolina Hinojosa Hernandez. Sister Carolina is survived by her sisters and their husbands, Gloria and Rogerio Jimenez (Houston), Amanda and Antonio Alvarez (Brownsville), Socorro and Frank Garibay (California); brother, Federico Hernandez (California); sister-in-law, Herminia Oliveira Hernandez (Brownsville), many nieces and nephews, and her fellow Sisters of Mercy. Her parents, brother, Edelmiro Hernandez, Jr., sister-in-law, Josie Ortiz Hernandez, and niece, Monica Lisa Jimenez, preceded her in death.
Sister Carolina led a rich and rewarding life of service in medical care. After graduating from Brownsville High School, she became a registered X-ray technologist in 1959, working at Mercy Hospital in Brownsville along side the Sisters of Mercy. It was here Sister Carolina received a calling from God to serve Him in religious life. She entered the Sisters of Mercy community in 1962 and professed final vows in 1969. Sister Carolina continued a ministry in the medical field serving in Sisters of Mercy hospitals in Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas. She also ministered at McAuley Hall in St. Louis, Missouri; the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio, Texas; McAuley Convent in Barling, Arkansas, and she served as a member of the Alliance of Sisters of Mercy of Color in the United States.
In 2008, Sister Carolina retired to Catherine's Residence/Mercy Center in St. Louis, Missouri. On September 3, 2011, in the presence of family, friends and members of her community, she celebrated her Golden Jubilee with the Sisters of Mercy. She renewed her vows during a Mass and pledged to continue to provide faithful service in the tradition of Catherine McAuley, Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy.
It was Sister Carolina's dream to visit Mercy International in Dublin, Ireland, where, in 1827, Catherine McAuley built a house for poor or homeless women to provide shelter, to minister to them, and to teach them a trade so they could provide for themselves in a time of judgment in Dublin. Soon after, other women came to work with Catherine McAuley to assist the poor or homeless. What followed was the founding of the Religious Community of the Sisters of Mercy in 1831. Sister Carolina's dream came true in May 2000, when she traveled to Ireland, winning the trip offered by the Regional Leadership Team. She felt it an honor and privilege to walk where Foundress, Catherine McAuley once walked and she felt the holiness of the entire complex.
Sister Carolina's joy was in her large family and her many friends. She was faithful to each and all of them. In accordance with her wishes, serving as pallbearers are nephews Danny D. Alvarez, Gilbert L. Alvarez, Ruben A. Alvarez, Fred Hernandez Jr., Joseph V. Hernandez, Luis Edelmiro Hernandez, Roland R. Jimenez and, grandnephew, Matthew E. Hernandez.
A Welcoming and Sharing of Memories for Sister Carolina was held March 2, 2015, in St. Louis, Missouri, at Catherine's Residence Chapel, followed by a Eucharistic Liturgy. A Celebration of Life and Resurrection will be held March 21, 2015, at 10:00 AM in Brownsville, Texas, at Mary Mother of the Church Parish, 1914 Barnard Road. A private interment will follow where Sister Carolina will be laid to rest beside her parents.