“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations
Carol Wilcox, SSJ, 74, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on July 19, 2017. She was in her 57th year of religious life. Sr. Carol was born on January 1, 1943 in Bradford, Pennsylvania, the daughter of the late Gilbert and Mary Gentile Wilcox. Sr. Carol made the decision to become a sister when she was in sixth grade. After graduating from St. Bernard’s High School, instead of immediately going to college, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph from her home parish, St. Bernard. She professed her final vows in 1969.
Sister Carol taught at St. Andrew, St. John, Our Lady of Peace and St. Michael-St. Paul Schools in Erie, at Holy Rosary School in Johnsonburg, PA and St. Leo School in Ridgway, PA. She ministered as Administrative Assistant at the Perceptual Development School at Villa Maria College, Erie; as Director of Religious Education at St. Bernard in Bradford, PA; and Director of Religious Education and Pastoral Minister at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Sheffield, PA and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Erie. In 1994, Sister Carol co-founded PALS (People After Loss from Suicide), a support group for those grieving the loss of a loved one from suicide. The group is still in existence today. She also began a group for widowed persons in Warren, PA.
In 2010, Sister Carol and Sr. Mary Herrmann founded the Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network in Erie’s historic Little Italy. Sister Carol’s ministry at the SSJ Neighborhood Network included establishing its Time Out for Moms and Grandmothers program, a mentoring program, and numerous children’s programs. Sister Carol believed in meeting the needs of those she encountered. She worked tirelessly to connect people in the neighborhood with others who could help make a difference in their lives. Most notably, Sr. Carol accepted every person for who they were and encouraged each to live to their fullest potential. Sister Carol continued her ministry at the SSJ Neighborhood Network until she retired in 2015.
One of Sister Carol’s favorite scripture verses is: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations) The “book” of nature, as well as scripture, inspired her throughout her life.
In her retirement, she resided at the Sisters of St. Joseph Community Living Center where she started a reading program for children. She continued her ministry of presence through the development of inspirational art pieces which combined her painting and writing skills.
Sister Carol earned a BS degree in elementary education from Villa Maria College, Erie; an MS in Education/Reading from Edinboro University, Edinboro, PA; and a degree in Pastoral Counseling from Gannon University, Erie.
Sister Carol is survived by two sisters: Janet Yoke of Anniston, AL and Mary Patrick of New Bern, NC and many nieces, nephews and friends. She is also survived by her religious community, the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Friends may call at the Sisters of St. Joseph Community Living Center, 5031 West Ridge Road, Erie, on Friday, July 21 from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. when a prayer service will be held. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, July 22 at 10:30 a.m. at the Sisters of St. Joseph Community Living Center, 5031 West Ridge Road, Erie. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Sisters of St. Joseph, 5031 West Ridge Road, Erie, PA 16506-1249. The Kloecker Funeral Home is handling arrangements.