Sister Maria Fatima

February 22, 1943 ~ October 25, 2018 (age 75)

Sister M. Fatima of the Holy Family (Maria Ester Cardoza), age 75, was called home to Jesus after a prolonged struggle with cancer on October 25, 2018. She was a member of the religious congregation of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus for 54 years. Sister was born in El Salvador Central America, the third of seven children born to Juan & Tonita Cardoza. She is preceded in death by brothers, Fermin & Jose Alirio Cardoza. Sibling survivors include Maria Zoila Pena (Oscar), Rosa Hilda Ramirez (Miguel), Domingo Cardoza (Francisca) and Luis Alonzo Cardoza (Myra) & numerous nieces & nephews.

Sister Fatima felt the stirrings of a vocation to religious life at a young age. She entered the Carmelite Sisters DCJ at a young age. She was barely eighteen and had never traveled beyond the boundaries of her hometown. She made the journey alone to our mission in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, where she began her new life in Carmel. Our missions were always first in Sister's heart. She was transferred to the United States in 1969 where she professed her final vows in our Southwest Province. Sister often recalled her adventures in San Antonio where she was assigned a classroom of 35 very small children with only one staff to assist. She said that she learned the English language quickly since the little ones depended on her to teach and guide them and so what else could she do? Sister was then asked to travel to Venezuela for a new foundation. There, she heroically lived through and endured all the pains and joys of creating a ministry in that country. She was made the superior of a small group of our sisters and together they suffered the poverty and growth pangs of getting this new apostolate up and running-which it still is today.

After eight years in Venezuela, Sister returned to the States where she was stationed in La Mesa, California and worked with our elderly residents there. In 2001, she again had a call to assist St. Joseph's Carmelite Home in East Chicago in the creation of their brand new program with infants and toddlers. She has been with us now for seventeen years, several of these spent in battling the presence of cancer in its most aggressive state. Her rounds of chemo became her cross which she carried with total trust in God's presence in her future-whether this be in life or in death.

Sister M. Fatima was a Mother figure to our Carmelite staff and children. Her specialty was cooking and baking. She was happiest when she could put on her apron and get down to the kitchen. Her enjoyment was bringing her little plates of cookies, breads and other mysterious, but tasty creations for us to sample.

Beyond all of this, Sister M. Fatima was a faithful Carmelite Sister. We will miss her quiet presence in our chapel several times each day. She was humble, preferring always to encourage others to take precedence and placed herself in the background. She laughed easily and really expressed joy when others were happy or successful.

On October 21st, in the evening, Sister heard the first summons of the Bridegroom Jesus Christ. After severe respiratory problems, complications of cancer and pneumonia, she was admitted to ICU at St Catherine Hospital where she entered eternal rest four days later. She was truly one of the "wise virgins" who kept her lamp burning for the King who has now allowed her to enter into the great feast prepared for those who have been faithful to him.

Visitation for Sister M. Fatima will be held on Monday, October 29, 2018 from 4:00-8:00 p.m. with Rosary Service at 7:30 p.m. at The Carmelite Monastery Church, 1628 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana. Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. with Father Francis Czaicki, O.C.D. with many Brother Carmelite Father's officiating. Burial Services will follow at All Saints Cemetery, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. Funeral arrangements entrusted to the Oleska-Pastrick Funeral Home, 3934 Elm Street, East Chicago, Indiana 46312. If you need further information, please call the Funeral Home at (219) 398-0938.

© 2019 Oleska-Pastrick Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS