"Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” - Mark 10:14b
Our dear Sister Bernadette (Rosa) Silva gave her earthly life of 95 years back into the hands of her creator on Thursday, November 12th at 1:40pm. Sister Bernadette tested positive with COVID-19, the complications of the virus were the cause of her death.
Sister M. Bernadette was born on September 19, 1925 in Madison, Kansas the seventh of thirteen children born to Jose and Ynes (Arellano) Silva. Five brothers and seven sisters were the joy of her life as she told tender and beautiful stories about her family life. She is survived by a sister Leonore (Lennie) and a brother Paul.
She received the Franciscan habit on August 12, 1945 and professed final vows on August 12, 1953. During this year of 2020 Sister Bernadette celebrated her 75th Jubilee.
Sister was deeply involved in the lives of toddlers, ages 15 months to 5 years old, as she ministered at Saint Thomas Orphanage in Lincoln, Nebraska for 5 years (1947-1952) and at Saint Anthony Orphanage in Albuquerque, New Mexico for 17 years (1954 – 1971). The orphanage closed in 1971.
One of the toddlers, now an adult, said this about Sister Bernadette, “For hundreds of children who for whatever reason grew up without their mother or father, she was there for them. We all loved her because she loved us first. She was a lady with a purpose. Her purpose seemed to be, to wipe tiny runny noses and to offer young seemingly parentless children their first remembrance of motherly love”. Sister Bernadette was conscientious, sensitive, and dedicated in her care, with a good sense of humor. She had a big heart for the children entrusted to her and was a wonderful story teller.
After 22 years of caring for toddlers, Sister studied to become an LPN. She was an LPN for 38 years,
15 years at Saint Francis Gardens in Albuquerque, New Mexico as Assistant Director of Nurses and Director Nurses and later as Manager of Assisted Living at the Gardens at Saint Elizabeth, in Denver, Colorado.
In 2009 Sister Bernadette was able to retire to Mount Saint Francis and in 2015 became a resident at the Mount Saint Francis Nursing Center where she enjoyed singing, music, walking and visiting residents, sharing her contagious smile.
A Private Vesper and Wake Service will be held in Canticle Chapel at Mount Saint Francis Convent at 5:15pm on Sunday, November 15th with the Mass of Resurrection celebrated on Monday, November 16th at 10:30am in Saint Francis of Assisi Church, followed by burial in the Mount Saint Francis Cemetery.