Birth: March 22, 1924
Profession: January 21, 1950
Death: November 14, 2015
Religious of the Sacred Heart Bienvenida Velez died Saturday, November 14, 2015, at Oakwood, the Society of the Sacred Heart’s elder care center in Atherton, California. Her life will be celebrated with a funeral Mass on Tuesday, December 15, at 10 a.m. in the Oakwood chapel, 140 Valparaiso Avenue, Atherton. Burial will be in the Society of the Sacred Heart cemetery at Oakwood.
One of 13 children, Bienvenida Velez was born on March 22, 1924, in Caguas, Puerto Rico, to Venancia Aponte of Puerto Rico and José Nicolas Velez of Spain. Predeceased by her parents and her 12 siblings, she is survived by nieces and nephews, and her sisters in the Society of the Sacred Heart.
At age 16, Sister Velez entered the Society at Santurce, Puerto Rico. She made first vows in 1943 and her final vows in 1950 in Cuba. Her sister, Andrea, had also become an RSCJ, and her sister, Ambrosia, had entered the Dominicans.
After first vows Sister Velez spent five years in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where she assisted with sewing for the RSCJs and taught religion and sewing at the Poor School. In 1950, she served in Cuba as a seamstress. When Fidel Castro expelled nuns from Cuba in 1961, she moved to Miami, Florida, where she was in charge of housekeeping and the refectory at Carrollton School of the Sacred, which had just opened.
In 1973, Sister Velez did parish ministry in Naranja and Homestead in Florida. From 1979-2004, she lived and worked among poor migrants in La Belle, Florida, serving for many years in immigration services and pastoral ministry for the Diocese of Venice. In 2008, she moved to the Society’s retirement center in Atherton, California.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Society of the Sacred Heart, 4120 Forest Park Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108.