Sister Silvia Arias of the Good Shepherd

Silvia (1)Sr. Silvia Arias was born in Ceiba, Puerto Rico on December 31, 1928 to Eduardo Arias and Dolores Avila. She was baptized on July 11, 1931 in St. Anthony’s church in Ceiba, Puerto Rico. Sr. Silvia was a member of the MCA for a year before she entered the community. Sr. Silvia entered our community on August 5, 1953. As a novice she took the name Sr. Maria Lucina of the Good Shepherd. She made her first profession on March 25, 1955 and her perpetual profession of Vows in March 25, 1960.

Sr. Silvia had graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a Bachelor’s degree in Math with a minor in Physics in 1950 several years before she entered. and in 1967 she received her MSW from Catholic University.

Her first mission was at the Spanish Mission in Philadelphia for a short time and then to Trinita in Connecticut for a couple of months. Then, over the next several years, her ministry was education. She was missioned to our schools in Coamo and Roosevelt, PR for a combined 10 years. She went to study at Catholic University of America in 1965. After receiving her Masters of Social Work from CUA, her ministry was in social services. Silvia served in Catholic Charities New York City for four years. While she was there she wrote in one of her ministry evaluations. “Our work here in Lower Manhattan is a witness to our desire of helping a minority group who is greatly neglected.” In another evaluation, she said, “Having someone who understands them and their culture and can help them bear and solve their problems with loving them too.”

In 1971, Sr. Silvia was missioned to Roosevelt as Custodian and to Catholic Charities in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She had always been very community minded and served on various committees as well as serving in Regional leadership. In 1978, Sr. Silvia was elected as a General Councilor and served until 1983.

In August of 1983 Sr. Silvia served as Director of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Mayaguez for the next 15 years. In 1996 at the Annual Assembly of United Way of Puerto Rico she received the organization’s highest award. ‘Gente de Oro’. In presenting the award and introducing Sr. Silvia, this is what they said about her.

“Director of directors and teacher of teachers, Sister Silvia Arias began her life of service when she decided to embrace religious life in 1953 with the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity. There, having already been a teacher, she studied social work. Today, together with her sisters, she serves the most abandoned, the elderly, the disabled and others in need. Tenacious and determined, a brilliant administrator with an incredible love for those whom the Bible calls, ‘The littlest ones” is what makes Sister Silvia Arias a special person.”

In 1998, she was missioned to los Centros Sor Isolina Ferré as the Mission Effectiveness Custodian and during that time she was the CEO Pro tem for nine months. She wrote about her ministry in her Mission Evaluation in 2003 saying, “We work with the poor helping to promote the human development of individuals, families and communities, emphasizing our being brothers and sisters of one another and children of God our Father. We promote peace and justice for all. We work for improving the quality of life for all…” And in an earlier evaluation …”In fostering unity and love among persons, families and communities, we have to relate our tasks to the Holy Trinity, a reflection of love, unity and family.”

In 2011, Sr. Silvia was missioned to the Ministry of Prayer in Ponce. During her last years, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, she continued to give witness by her life and fidelity to what it means to be a Missionary Servant of the Most Blessed Trinity. When she planned her funeral in the additional comments she wrote…Make it a happy occasion of celebrating the resurrection.

Thank you Silvia for your life that was a living example of our life of consecration.