Carmen Parrilla

Birth: Sep. 20, 1923
Profession: Aug. 15, 1961
Death: Dec. 13, 2010

Carmen Parrilla Williams, RSCJ, beloved teacher of young children and spiritual guide to countless adults, died on December 13, 2010, at Oakwood, the Society of the Sacred Heart retirement center in Atherton, California.

Born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, on September 20, 1923, she was one of six children of Adela Williams and Isobelo Parrilla. When Carmen was two years old, her mother died, and Carmen was reared by a family her father knew and trusted. As a devoted father, he visited his daughter daily for ten years, before his own death.

In her young adult life, Carmen was a parish secretary and organized marriage preparation and other sacramental programs. At twenty-eight, when she showed an interest in religious life, her pastor, in response to a request from the United States for religious candidates, proposed that she enter the Society of the Sacred Heart in San Diego. Taking a friend, she left her country, entered the novitiate, and persevered - even when her friend decided to leave.

Sister Parrilla pronounced her first vows in the Society on January 6, 1956, and her first ministry, in El Cajon, California, involved work in the laundry, dining room, and infirmary, as well as with little children in the Sacred Heart school there. She made her final vows on August 15, 1961 in El Cajon, and from 1964-1985 served as a nursery, kindergarten, and Montessori assistant at Sacred Heart Schools, St. Joseph’s, in Atherton.

In 1988, Sister Parrilla took a Marriage Encounter Training Program and began ministry at St. Francis parish in East Palo Alto, working with Marriage Encounter groups and youth and visiting the sick and prisoners, in both East Palo Alto and Redwood City. During this time, she became involved in a variety of prayer groups, especially charismatic groups in the Bay Area, while continuing to oversee the St. Joseph’s After School Care Program, a ministry she dearly loved.

In 1996, she moved to Oakwood, where she continued her spiritual ministry. When her health began to decline in 2010, a steady succession of friends and prayer partners visited her and prayed with her. A Mass of Resurrection for Sister Parrilla will be celebrated at St. Francis parish on Wednesday, December 15 at 7:00 pm preceded by 5:00-7:00 pm viewing. Mass and burial will be at Oakwood on Thursday, December 16 at 10:00 am. Memorial contributions may be made to the Society of the Sacred Heart at 4120 Forest Park Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108.