Lois Carson, a local pioneer in Black Catholic ministry, has received the Cartagena Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary 4th Degree. She is only the second winner from the Western States District since the 1970’s.
“It’s a wonderful surprise,” said Carson. “I am very happy about it.”
Carson, a 68-year member of St. Anthony Parish in San Bernardino, has organized, served, and volunteered in the Diocese and nationally for decades. She helped build the parish school there (now closed) and served as coordinator of the parish Gospel Choir.
The Knights of Peter Claver is largest African American Catholic lay organization in the United States. The Ladies Auxiliary was established for female membership in 1926. The organization’s mission is “to render service to God and His holy church, render aid and assistance to the sick and disabled and promote social and intellectual association among our members.”
Carson founded the Inland Empire’s Court #257 of The Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary. In later years, she served nationally on the Development Commission for St. Peter Calver Foundation which led to her service on the Board of Directors.
Carson was nominated for the award by her Chapter and would have received it at their annual convention. Due to COVID-19, the convention was canceled. She currently serves on both the regional and national Social Justice committees for The Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary.
Community activism was part of her upbringing, Carson said. Her mother was very active in local groups and took her children, including Lois, along, she said.
“I inherited that from her,” Carson said. “I like working with other people to get things done.”