Aston, PA – Sister Santos Maria Fernandez, OSF, died in Corona, California. She was seventy-nine years of age and had been a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for fifty-eight years. Sister Santos Maria (Mary Jennie Fernandez) was born in Los Angels but later moved to Wasco, California, where she was a member of St. John Parish. She entered the congregation in 1947 and professed her first vows in 1950. Sister Santos earned a B.A. from Neumann College, Aston, Pennsylvania, and ministered in education, in parish ministry, and in Hispanic ministry.
Sister Santos Maria ministered for eleven years in the Diocese of San Bernardino. She served in Our Lady of Soledad Parish in Coachella (1979-1980) and St. Edward Parish in Corona (1998-2003). Since 2003 she has done volunteer work in the Corona neighborhood where she lived.
Sister Santos Maria also ministered for eleven years in the Diocese of Orange, California, where she served in St. Angela Merici Parish, Brea (1980-1989), and Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Santa Ana (1991-1993).
Sister Santos Maria’s six years of ministry in the Diocese of San Diego included teaching at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in San Diego (1968-1972). From 1994-1995 she served as a caregiver for a family member in the Pala area. From 1997-1998 she worked in Hispanic ministry at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Ramona.
Other ministry experiences in California included service in the Diocese of Monterey at Holy Trinity Parish in Greenfield (1993-1994). In the Archdiocese of Los Angeles she ministered as program director for Catholic Charities’ senior and adult services (1995-1997).
Sister Santos ministered for twelve years in the Archdiocese of Seattle. She taught at St. Leo School in Tacoma from 1957-1960. From 1949-1953 and again from 1962-1967, she ministered at St. Ann Home in Tacoma.
Sister Santos Maria served the Diocese of Spokane for eleven years. She ministered at St. Ann Children’s Home (1953-1957, 1960-1962) and taught at St. Charles School from 1973-1975. From 1975-1978 she worked in Hispanic ministry in Othello, Washington.
Sister Santos Maria’s ministry in the Archdiocese of Portland included working at Our Lady of Angels Convent (1967-1968). She also worked in Hispanic ministry in Woodburn, Oregon, from 1978-1979.
Services were held in Pala,California on Friday, February 8, where the Eucharistic liturgy was celebrated at Mission San Antonio. Burial will be in Crestlawn Memorial Park in Riverside, California. Sister Santos Maria is survived by her nieces and nephews and by her Franciscan family. Donations in her name can be made to Franciscan Ministries Foundation, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston, PA 19014.