Birth: January 31, 1924
Profession: August 22, 1953
Death: March 29, 2014
Religious of the Sacred Heart Ana Rita Hernández died Saturday, March 29, 2014 after a brief illness. Remembered for her prayerfulness and deep personal relationship with her God, her life will be celebrated in a Mass Christian Burial on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at Teresian House in Albany. Burial will be in the Society of the Sacred Heart cemetery at Kenwood in Albany.
Ana Rita Hernández was born in Caqueza, Colombia on January 31, 1924 to Rafael and Magdalena Gutierrez de Hernández. Her family included one brother, Rafael Hernández and one sister, Epifania Hernández de Velásquez, as well as three half-brothers and four half-sisters. All preceded her in death. She is survived by many nieces and nephews her Sisters in the Society of the Sacred Heart.
Sister Hernández grew up poor in the Colombian countryside, only attending school for a few years. She taught herself to read not only Spanish but English and some French and Italian as well. She entered the Society of the Sacred Heart in Bogotá, Colombia in June, 1944. She made her first vows in February, 1947 and her final profession in 1953, all in Bogotá.
As a coadjutrix sister – a non-teaching religious – Sister Hernández’s early ministry was kitchen work, which she did for many years while still living in Colombia. She performed a similar ministry of service in Cuba, 1953 – 1961. She moved to the United States in 1961, to support the community in Noroton, Connecticut. In 1969, she moved to Albany, to work in the Kenwood Convent, continuing her work in community service. In 1972, she began to serve as a teacher’s aide in the Kenwood Day Care Center and also volunteered at the Albany County Head Start Program.
She became a United States citizen February 13, 1975.
Sister Hernández moved to St. Charles, Missouri in 1988, where she worked in the Academy of the Sacred Heart library and bookstore and wherever she could be of service.
She returned to Albany in 2002 where she entered a ministry of prayer. She had been a member of the Abba House community since 2008, but regularly visited the Religious of the Sacred Heart at Teresian House. She was a deeply contemplative person, always faithful to her early religious education in Colombia. She lived a pious life, defined by a personal relationship with God in which Jesus was "my friend." Her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the rosary were paramount. She also had a good sense of humor and love of Bingo! All winnings went to the missions.