April 4, 1932 – May 20, 2011
With dignity, grace and equanimity, Clarissa Mary Therese Fernandes (nee Mathias), surrounded by loved ones gently passed away during the fifth decade of the rosary. As she lived, so she died.
Her legacy continues through; daughters Fif Fernandes (Hamish Boyd), Rosemarie Scott (Jonathan), niece Louise Fernandes; precious grandchildren Mija and Sebastian from Calgary; sisters Terry Vaz in India, and Irene Montemayor (Jess) in the Phillipines, numerous relatives, her students and those lives she touched around the world.
Clarissa was predeceased by Anthony (Tony), her husband of 37 years, sister Dr. Florence Fernandes, brother-in-law Joe Fernandes, Sr. Irene Mathias FMM, and her parents. Clarissa, the third of five daughters born to Raphael and Juliet Mathias in 1932, in Mangalore India was an avid reader, traveller and lover of world politics. She was a woman of immense faith and gentleness. Her greatest passion was teaching. She loved literature and history, and spoke seven languages. Upon graduating with a BA, at the age of 20, she commenced her teaching career in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Later she obtained her B.Ed.
In 1958 she married Anthony and moved to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, Africa and soon became the head of the English Department at a girl’s Aga Khan School where she directed numerous Shakespearean plays and other classics. Over the course of her life, she taught in public, Catholic, and private schools in India, Tanzania and Canada.
In 1965, she secured a teaching position in Wainwright, Alberta, and migrated with Tony and Fif. After Tony passed away in 1995, Rosemarie, Louise and Fif convinced her to relocate to Calgary. In 2000 she did. Here she was blessed with many friends who stimulated her intellectual appetite, love for the arts and her continued exploration of spirituality.
For the last few years, she was in constant pain from debilitating arthritis, yet she never complained and maintained a kind and sweet disposition. For the last six months she found great joy in living with Hamish and Fif. At their home, her family and friends would gather and celebrate the wonderment of life.
In the last weeks, she loved reading and watching “The Rick Mercer Report”, watching favorite films (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, My Fair Lady, To Sir With Love) and homemade videos of her family around the world. Concerned about the plight of Canadians, she was bundled up in her wheelchair and rolled down the hill to vote one final time in the federal election.
Three days before she passed away, six year old Mija and three year old Sebastian crawled into bed with her. Mija read Grandma the “Peace” book and sang with actions “Gentle Woman”, one of Clarie’s favorite hymns. Sebastian crawled over Grandma and gently patted her hand. Two days before her passing, she looked into the yonder and in a child like voice said, “Hi Jesus, hi, Jesus, hi Jesus.”
While devout and very involved in all aspects of her Roman Catholic faith, Clarissa honoured, respected and participated in other faith traditions. She was generous, compassionate and open-hearted.
Clarissa was a strong advocate for social justice and engendering peace in children. Clarissa tirelessly volunteered her time and talents with people with developmental disabilities. Both Rosemarie and Fif follow in their Mum’s footsteps.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to VECOVA Vecova Centre for Disability Services and Research, 3304 – 33St NW, Calgary, AB T2L 2A6 www.vecova.ca (where Rosemarie has volunteered for 18 years) or the Art of Peace Camps (using the arts for planting seeds of peace for kids around the world – co-founded by Fif six years ago in Calgary is now spreading internationally.) The Art of Peace Camps, 918 – 17th St. NW. Calgary, AB T2N 2E4 www.theartofpeacecamps.com
Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers and Tributes at St. Pius X Catholic Church (2424 – 24th Avenue N.W.) on Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Pius X Catholic Church (2424 – 24th Avenue N.W.) on Friday, May 27, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. Both the Prayer Service and Funeral Mass will be celebrated with Fr. Bogdan Sianozecki SDS.
Graveside service, prayers and reception; Monday, May 30, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.; McCaw Funeral Home, 5101 – 50 Street, Lloydminister, AB. Clarie will be buried with her husband Tony.
In living memory of Clarissa Fernandes, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 CENTRE STREET NORTH Telephone: (403) 276-2296.Print This Obituary & Condolences