Sister Carol Qualley, SNJM
Sister Mary Elisia
December 23, 1928 – March 5, 2016
On December 23, 1928, in Seattle, Washington, John and Martha Cobine Qualley welcomed their second daughter, Carol. Carol was educated at Sacred Heart, Immaculate High School, Holy Names Academy, all in Seattle and graduated from Holy Names Academy, Spokane. After entering the Sisters of the Holy Names in 1947, she continued her education at Marylhurst College, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, and later a Master’s degree in Music Education and an MRE in Religious Studies, as well as certificates in Clinical Pastoral Education from Tacoma General Hospital.
Known as Sister Mary Elisia, she taught music in Parochial Elementary Schools from 1949 to 1973 in Spokane, Portland, St. Helen’s, Pomeroy, Eugene, Everett and Seattle. During this time, Sister was noted for her desire to learn more about her art, for her successful teaching methods, and for her compositions for children, several of which have been published. During her time in Seattle, Sister Carol developed a close friendship with the Carmelite Sisters. She played the organ for them. She also found resonance with their contemplative spirituality, especially as expressed in the life of St. Therese of Lisieux. Also, during this time, the focus of her ministry changed from teaching to pastoral work in hospitals and parishes: St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s, Seattle, St. Thomas, St. Richard’s and St. Charles’ in Montana. In 1984, she spent very special time at the memorable mission of Holy Cross in Alaska. From 1985-90, Sister Carol was the pastoral administrator and presence in Kettle Falls, Northport and Colville, Washington
Having grown up with few resources, Sister Carol always had a heart for those who were marginalized. She assisted with the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees, with serving meals at Catholic Charities, with outreach to the fort Belknap Indian Reservation. One of the highlights of Carol’s life of service was the time she spent at the shrine at Lourdes, assisting those hopeful of cures in the hospitality of the baths, the dining area and in the town itself. Throughout the nineties In Spokane, Carol volunteered at St. Joseph’s Parish, Sacred Heart Hospital, Our Place, and within her religious community.
Throughout all her years of service, music continued to be her gift to those with whom she served, lived, worked. She was also a poet, an artist, a woman of wit and wisdom, an appreciator of humor, and, above all, a sensitive reader of persons and groups. She has been as oasis of peace for all of us, especially in these last very quiet years of her life. Sister retired to Convent of the Holy Names in 2003, and then moved with her religious Sisters to Brookdale South Regal in November 2013. Sister Carol’s parents and her sister, Joan Hiner, have died. She is survived by her religious Sisters who are grateful to and for the caregivers at Clare Bridge and Hospice of Spokane as well as their own SNJM Health & Wellness Team.
Sister Carol Qualley died March 5, 2016, at Hospice House in Spokane, WA. Memorial gifts may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Names Retirement Fund, 2911 West Fort Wright Drive, Spokane, WA 99224.