On Sept. 11, 2019, Sister Sylvia Parkes, RSM, passed into the arms of her loving God after a long illness. Survived by four of her eight siblings, she had been longing to return to her native Sligo, Ireland.
Instead God gave her the gift of her true home where we wish her eternal rest. As God designs so well, two of Sr. Sylvia’s nieces, Edel and Aisling, came from Ireland to be with her in her illness. Instead, they joined with the Sisters of Mercy and the community of St. James the Less Parish, Perris, where Mass of Resurrection was celebrated Sept. 16 by Bishop Gerald Barnes, Msgr. Tom Wallace, the pastor, Father Eliseo Napiere, MSP, and several other priests. On September 18, Sr. Sylvia’s nieces accompanied her remains home to Ireland for burial.
Sr. Sylvia was widely known as a great educator and avid for ongoing education. She came to the U.S., to St. Anthony School in San Bernardino, in 1975. In 1987 she was missioned to St. James School, where, for 32 years, she served as teacher and for a period as principal. She was joyous and generous, loved for her caring way by the school community. In her later years she continued in her Mercy way, accompanying the four retired Sisters who then came to live in the remodeled Convent and enjoying the company of the “young at heart” of the parish community.
With Sr. Sylvia’s passing, McAuley House, formerly St. James Convent, will on Sept. 24 close its doors to the Sisters of Mercy, after 55 years of ministry and service. While there is sadness at the leaving, our hearts are full of gratitude for the many blessings over the years. We pray that the Mercy charism will continue in the people whose lives were inspired by the Sisters-and now through the presence and mission of our Mercy Associates.
-Sister Mary Frances Coleman, RSM