Sister M. Carmen (Davy), CSC
(Patricia Ann Davy)
September 8, 1923–July 6, 2021
We share news of the death of Sister M. Carmen (Davy), CSC, who died at 9:30 p.m. on July 6, 2021, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana. Sister Carmen entered the Congregation from Fortuna, California, on July 12, 1941. Her initial profession of vows took place on February 2, 1944.
Please join us in prayer for Sister as we renew our faith in the resurrected Jesus and strengthen our hope that all the departed will be raised to eternal life.
Sister M. Carmen died the evening of July 6, 2021, having been visited by those who had lived with her in community and had walked with her in mission. She was 97 years old. When Sister Carmen was 80, she left Shillong, Meghalaya, India, having lived 50 years abroad as a missionary Sister of the Holy Cross. In September 2002, she retired to a ministry of prayer at Saint Catherine by the Sea, Ventura, California. Eventually, Sister Carmen found her way to the rose garden at Saint Catherine’s. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat, she pruned and watered the thorny roses and relished the California sun. Sister’s religious name, Carmen, placed her under the patronage of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Carmel, Hebrew for garden or vineyard, evoked the biblical holy place of Mount Carmel, near modern Haifa, a port in Israel on the Mediterranean Sea. Sister spent many hours of reflection in her garden on the California Pacific Coast, thanking God for her fruitful years in the vineyard of Holy Cross.
Sister Carmen spent years caring for children at Holy Rosary Orphanage (originally known as Bottomly Home Orphanage), Dhaka, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), and was engaged in social work with the Bengali poor and Garo Hill tribals in Jalchatra. In addition to existing programs offering opportunities for the poor, the Sisters of the Holy Cross were able to establish a large sewing center where homeless Muslim women learned to sew professionally and become self-supporting, while sending their children to school. Sister Carmen was later involved in the spiritual formation of women religious from several congregations in Africa and Asia at Mater Ecclesiae Center, Tiberias, Israel. Later, she lived with and tutored young Sisters of the Holy Cross sent for higher studies in Shillong. Bengali and Indian vocations to religious life continued to grow. She was grateful, writing that she had been part of “laying a strong foundation for the growth and apostolic stability of our Congregation in Asia.” In 2008, Sister Carmen took a tumble in the Ventura rose garden and never fully healed. She moved to Saint Mary’s Convent in January 2009, calling her assignment to the motherhouse in Notre Dame, Indiana, a privilege.
While Apostolate Abroad coordinator, in 1970 Sister Carmen took a class in communications sponsored by the United States Catholic Conference, Loyola University, New Orleans, and the National Institute for Religious Communication. She already had a 1954 bachelor’s in English from Saint Mary of the Wasatch College, Salt Lake City, Utah, and had earned a master’s in English literature in 1959 from the University of Dacca, Dacca (now Dhaka), Bangladesh. At the time of the communications certification, Sister Carmen was evaluated as superior in her general administrative and executive abilities and judgment. In addition, she displayed qualities of initiative, motivation, attitude and the ability to work with others. Sister was also considered superior in her public relations skills. No wonder. She knew how to evangelize. In a script she wrote for a radio production on vocations during the course, she described good candidates for the convent as ordinary young women who were solid in their spirituality. The aspirant would not be “a soul swooning over her prayers,” but one capable of practical judgment. “A nun has to be a woman of determination with a fixed goal in mind, with the courage and common sense to reach the goal.”
Patricia Ann Davy, as a 17-year-old senior at Holy Rosary Academy in Woodland, California, applied in March 1941 to the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Notre Dame, Indiana, writing that her goal was to “love and serve God more completely” in foreign missionary work. Her Catholic parents, Francis X. Davy and Ivy Anne Edwards, supported her vocation. The Davy family lived at various times in both northern and southern California. Her father was born in Ojai, north of Los Angeles, and met her mother, an immigrant from England who had settled with her family in Ojai, where the future parents met and married. Patricia was born in the Los Angeles area. Her baptism certificate states Hawthorne as the place of birth but a short autobiographical piece claims Inglewood. The family moved back north and settled in rural Loleta, a small town near a valley populated by dairy farmers. Mr. Davy worked at a large creamery for Golden State Milk. Mrs. Davy “was a devoted wife and loving mother, an excellent cook, a gentle disciplinarian, a friend and advisor,” according to Sister Carmen.
Years later, Carmen was called Aunt Patty by the children of her siblings. She had four brothers: Frank, John, Charles and Jim. Her older sister was Elizabeth and her younger sister was Mary. Her older sister Elizabeth had already entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1939 and was known as Sister M. Carolita (Davy). Sister Carmen will be buried in Our Lady of Peace Cemetery next to Sister Carolita, who died of a sudden illness in 1952 at the young age of 32 years old. Sisters at the motherhouse often visit the graves of their friends and mentors in the cemetery, often called simply “Peace.” Sister Carmen deserves a garland of Hail Marys, roses of memories in this garden of reflection and eternal peace.
We invite you to donate to the Ministry With the Poor Fund in Sister’s name.—Written by Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC