Re: “Founders of universities losing ground; Catholic institutions face future without presence of orders as their members age,” Faith, Aug. 19:
Elaine Ayala’s piece stated that Sister Maria Eva Flores was a theatrical director. She conducted rehearsals at the Catholic Student Center at San Antonio College. It was a part of the extracurricular work she did besides her work at Our Lady of the Lake University.
It was at this rehearsal space that I first met her in March 1980 and, by the way, my husband as well. He had joined two years earlier and was hoping to become the theater coordinator of Teatro Del Pueblo (one of the iterations of the group), but, alas, “MC — for Maria Carolina — gave the job to me. We have always joked that he married me as revenge.
Here’s the thing, though: She was an amazing person, and getting to know her was like peeling an onion layer by layer. She was funny and unassuming, but sassy with a bit of a chip on her shoulder. She harangued us and encouraged us and put up with our self-involved 20-something problems. When a couple of her priest friends came around, she kidded with Father David Garcia and instructed Father Balthazar Janacek what to do — probably much to his consternation. She was an accomplished actress, which she didn’t discuss with her motley crew of amateur performers, singers, musicians and writers. We only found out about that part of her life at the wake the other day.
I’m telling you, we were self-involved little twits, but on the other hand, she was living her best life always. She was fluent in French and devoted to history, especially the history of South and West Texas.
I think that the most amazing part of her life was simply all of it. She lived, flourished and changed lives. I’m guessing that’s why we were personally notified of her passing and invited to her services at the Lake (my alma mater). It was her last lesson that we should hear of a life well-lived, a couple of former theater nerds now in their 60s who sometimes wonder if they’ve done enough.
Well, no, not to MC’s scale, but perhaps her message was to flourish where you are planted and the rest will unfold.
One little anecdote: The theater troupe was flying on Southwest from a Dallas performance one dark and stormy night. The plane was being pelted with hail, and lightning was all around us. The cabin light turned on at one point. A row in front of MC, I was getting quite frightened. I turned to see her just sitting there.
“Shouldn’t you be praying the rosary or something?” I asked her. Not pausing a bit, she looked right through me and then waved at the flight attendant. “A gin and tonic, please,” she said.
My best guess is that she meant God helps those who help themselves. MC never missed a teachable moment. She will be missed.
Thank you for the article.
Lucia Casares lives in San Antonio.