Carol Fleitz, SNJM
I was born in Oakland exactly a year after Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1942. I had a very happy childhood with my five sisters and we had plenty of childhood friends in our neighborhood some of whom have lasted to this day. Each summer our family took a vacation in the mountains and it was probably there that my love for the out-of-doors and travel originated. I was happily involved in Girl Scouts for many years, enjoyed many camp adventures, and after high school became a camp counselor. Being in the out-of-doors was so invigorating for me.
The highlight of my school years was in the 7th grade at Our Lady of Lourdes. Sister Barbara Williams was an excellent teacher and she was the first person I talked to about possibly having a vocation. Thoughts of a religious vocation came and went during my high school years. After telling my Mother about my thoughts of becoming a nun, we decided I should go to Holy Names College before I entered. After my college graduation, I entered the novitiate in Los Gatos. My aunt, Sister Mary Christine, was very happy to welcome me to her SNJM community.
My years in the community included teaching in both grammar and high school; being a part of the campus ministry team at Marin High School; enjoying my campus ministry at UCLA for 7 years; and parish ministry in Thousand Oaks for 7 years and Pacifica for 15 years. In Pacifica, I worked with the pastor, Piers Lahey and Sister Eleanor as DRE. I worked mainly with RCIA candidates, a ministry I really love. Piers and I worked very well together and it was truly a blessing to have journeyed with him at Good Shepherd.
Over the years, I had the privilege of attending an interreligious campus ministry seminar in Israel. We visited Christian, Jewish, and Moslem holy places; heard excellent lectures; and visited Nazareth, Tiberias, the Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, and Tabgar, which is the site of the multiplication of loaves. We walked where Jesus walked!
I participated in Wellspring’s four-month sabbatical program in Glens Falls, NY, where I had time to reflect on what ministry direction I wanted to take and decided to continue working with RCIA and other aspects of adult education.
Another experience, I had was a four-week experience of working with Sister Cecilia Calva in Mexico in the summer of 1989. It was an enriching experience being immersed in a new culture and a new land.
When the Sisters of the Holy Names were celebrating 150 years as a congregation, I was privileged to be one of fifty Sisters to be invited to Fire for the Future in Montreal, the birth place of our community.
In 2005, I attended the 25th anniversary of the martyred church women in El Salvador. The most moving experience was the prayer service at the site, where the women were murdered and the testimony of people who knew these women. We visited the Monument to Memory and Truth, a wall inscribed with the names of the Civil War victims and the home of Monsignor Romero, where he was assassinated.
I am now happily retired in Alameda with a very loving and prayerful community in addition to living close to my family. I volunteer at St. Joseph Basilica in the RCIA program and volunteer every other month welcoming guests at our retreat house in Santa Cruz.
I am so grateful for all the blessings I have received in my 50 years as a Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.