ON A JOURNEY WHERE THE SPIRIT LEADS
JOHN AND ROBERTA HYDAR

ARTICLE TAKEN FROM JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2003 ISSUE OF CORPUS REPORTS

It appears to me that the Holy Spirit has often intervened at crucial points in my life to move me along paths that often diverged from my own intended route. The Spirit has nudged me in directions that were radically different from what I had been thinking and planning, at times even causing me to go against the tide.

Most boys growing up have a wide range of ideas as to what they want to be: policeman, fireman, sports star, etc. From as far back as I can remember, I always told people that I wanted to be a doctor. It was quite clear to me, that is what I would do. Then, in seventh or eighth grade, along came a Maryknoll missionary to talk to us about vocations. I was impressed with his love of God and people, and I also remember to this day his saying that he had gotten fat in China living on a diet of rice and fish! Only years later did I come to realize that a greater influence in my life was the assistant pastor in our parish. He was caring, gentle, loving: a good priest.

Soon thereafter, I had a new goal -- to be a priest. I am one of those who entered the seminary as a freshman in high school -- "a twelve year man." In those days of yore, most of the students in the minor seminary were day students, so I commuted back and forth. Hitchhiking my way home most days was an education in people. Despite being attracted to young women, I followed the rules and avoided dating and all of the other youthful male rites of passage. Today, it is hard to look back and remember if I ever really considered in depth the meaning of celibacy. Promising celibacy was a given, but the reality was never presented as a life style, nor were we taught how to support this life long requirement, It was just expected of a seminarian soon to be a priest. What was clear to me, was the call to be a priest. The Spirit had waylaid me.

Quite a few years back, someone told me that I was a good rebel. I suppose that I am. As a seminarian, I found many of the rules to be silly and antiquated, not appropriate to someone who was to be a diocesan priest. They seemed to belong to a bygone age or in a monastery. I followed them to the extent that I found them practical, but also found many ways around them. By the grace of the Spirit, I was ordained, April 30, 1960.

Over the next nine years, I was assigned to three different parishes. The first parish was a good place to be as a newly ordained. The pastor, a real character with a wry sense of humor, was not an FBI (foreign born Irish). Rather, he was from the Netherlands. According to his stories, as a young priest he had enjoyed giving discomfort to some of his Irish pastors. (At that time in Los Angeles, memory says that well over half of the pastors were from Ireland.) He and I got along well. The problem was that there were two alcoholic priests assigned there in the few years I was in that parish, and the pastor and senior associate did not tell me in advance. They did not want to "disillusion" me. The first one disappeared quickly. Regarding the second one, it was clear to me that he was an alcoholic when I had to take the telephone out of his hand to hang it up and remove the drink from his other hand -- he was dead to the world. Innocence died quickly. My years as a clerical priest were spent in the ferment of Vatican II. I had begun to anticipate an early end to obligatory celibacy and a whole new birth of the church. It was exciting to be a priest, even though James Francis Cardinal McIntyre would not allow any altars in the archdiocese to be moved or mass to be celebrated with the priest looking towards the faithful. He was of the school that saw disaster in Vatican II. (The disaster, from the perspective of many church theologians, lies in those who would turn back the clock). Then, Paul VI dropped the bombshell of Humanae Vitae. I could not believe it. I was inundated by people asking what to do, how to respond in their own lives. In effect, I ended up telling them to be adults and make their own decisions: what was going to be best for their marriage and their family.

In my second assignment, I set something of a record for longevity. Prior to my arrival, the longest term for an associate under that pastor had been nine months. My tenure was around five years. It was quickly apparent that the pastor was only marginally functional and quite paranoid. The seminary experience stood me in good stead: give surface observance to the pastor's "rules" (cloaked in the mystique of the diocesan statutes and the "mind" of the cardinal) and do the rest as it should be done. I took care of the people's needs. There are countless stories from those years.

Finally, I grew weary of being expected to wear a cassock around the rectory and school, so I started sporting a clerical shirt. The pastor called me on it and once more appealed to the diocesan statutes. Having prepared for this, I informed him that the appropriate statute simply said "clerical garb," but, if he as pastor wanted me to wear the cassock, I would comply. With that, I had pushed the right button and was assigned to my third parish a few weeks later.

There, I was the senior associate, and the pastor was a rather reclusive FBI. For the most part, we mainly ignored each other. The one run in we had was in the midst of the peace marches during the Vietnam War. I had preached on the gospel of John: "Peace be with you" and I suggested that if it would help to stop the slaughter, we might all consider joining a peace march. As fast as Mass was finished, someone hotfooted it over to the pastor. I heard about it quickly. What I said so carefully had been twisted all out of shape, and so it took a recap of my homily to calm him down. The fact is that several of the people thanked me for giving them something to think about.

At that second parish the Holy Spirit subtly readied me to be waylaid again. One of the teachers assigned there was Sr. Mary Robert. She taught the eighth grade and was also involved in religious education for the public school students. Since I regularly visited the various classrooms to talk with the pupils, we got to know each other. Somewhere along the line I had developed the habit of asking for feedback from people. I quickly learned that she was always honest with me; both when I did something well and when I was missing the target. I treasured that, then and now. When the Holy Cross Sisters were allowed to reclaim their own names, I found out that I was now dealing with Sr. Roberta.

After my reassignment, I would stop back at the old parish to see the nuns, the school kids and Sr. Roberta. One day, she told me that she was taking a year's leave of absence from her community, as she wanted to see if she could make it on her own in the world. When school was out in June, she invited me to dinner at her brother's home. After that, I did not hear from her until close to Christmas. During that time, it became obvious to me that I missed seeing her, that she was someone very special to me. When I got her letter, I promptly sent off a response and Christmas card, telling her that I would like to see her. A couple of phone calls, and I was off to see her on New Year's day. Roberta knew that I liked a martini -- so she had gotten a couple of martinis in-a-can. (We laugh about that to this day). We had a wonderful visit, and when we got around to talking about missing each other, both of us finally admitted our love for the other. What a New Year's gift! A week or so later, I had my post-Christmas week off -- and she took some vacation days. We spent the time together. It was wonderful and natural and affirming.

Roberta and I continued to date, to pray, to discern, and to think about what was to come. She made her leaving the Holy Cross Community effective in June of 1969. I decided to begin my departure as a leave of absence, but I really knew that I was not going to look back. I did talk to the Cardinal and to the Chancellor of the archdiocese. I remember vividly the argument of the Chancellor: many of the men who had left were practically starving to death, but as a priest I was guaranteed employment, a roof over my head and food on the table -- three squares and a flop. I still marvel that this was his big argument in favor of my remaining! Finally, I told them that my decision was made. As a consequence, on my birthday, July 31, 1969, I received a terse letter, only a few lines long. It informed me that as of the receipt of the letter my faculties as a priest were withdrawn, and that I should move out. So I went out, picked up the car I had just bought, came back with a couple of friends, and was packed and gone within thirty minutes. The Spirit had pushed me in a whole new direction -- again.

One of the most difficult things I had to do prior to exiting official ministry was to inform my parents, especially my mother. I did so on the evening of the first moon landing. As I had anticipated, my mother was devastated. It took time, and getting to know Roberta, but my mother did come to understand and accept what had happened. I think she saw our happiness and our continued presence in the church. We have many happy memories of times spent with my parents before they went home to God.

Roberta and I waited to get married until I received an official dispensation. By then, Cardinal McIntyre had retired, and a new bishop was in place. It took nine months, almost to the day, to receive the official rescript. I do not remember seeing a copy of it or signing any papers. All I have is a copy of the letter from the chancery office informing me that it had arrived. (A couple of years ago, I received a letter from the chancery office asking me if I wanted to pursue a dispensation. I kindly informed them that I had already received such. Mine was not the only file that was missing!) In my letter to Paul VI, I requested permission to be married and to remain an active priest, but that part was ignored. That is what hurt. I was called to priesthood and I was called to marriage, but I was told, clearly, plainly, bluntly that it was one or the other, not both. I did not then and do not now feel any less a priest. At the same time, I have never regretted the call to marriage. God's ways are a mystery. They are obscure when we want clarity.

At the time we were married, Roberta was working in banking and I was working for a small company that made electronics manufacturing equipment. Soon after we were married, I got laid off in one of the periodic recessions and, recommended by a friend, I took a temporary job in a vocational rehabilitation workshop. It was a form of ministry, and I found that I liked it. That temporary job turned into a career that lasted some twenty-three years. During that time, I earned a masters degree in Rehabilitation Administration.

Roberta and I never walked away from the church, as our Catholic identity is in our bones and sinews. It is truly a part of us. Almost every Sunday, I found myself saying the Eucharistic Prayer along with the priest at the altar, and I still do. For a long time, I said little to others about being a priest, especially around church. At the same time, a lot of the people knew that there was something different about me and about Roberta too. Somehow, the religious formation never quite goes away because it becomes part of who you are. Eventually, I came to the point where I knew that I had to become involved in ministry again. I had a talk with the pastor and became a lector at our parish, the Old Mission in Santa Barbara which is run by the Franciscans. They welcomed me and made me feel comfortable there. I even became a Eucharistic Minister as well. Then with the pastor's support, I started to train other people to be lectors, proclaiming the word of God. In the various parishes where we have worshiped, I can say that we have never been ostracized or turned away from anything we wanted to do in the parish. We have been blessed to be welcomed and valued, and find joy in participating in the lector ministry as a couple.

In the late 80's, I started to hear about CORPUS. We both got curious about it, and as we learned more and found that membership was now also open to wives, we decided to join as a couple. Despite our living in California, we did not attend the conference in 1989 in San Jose. But the very next year, we went off to New York for the conference there. Each year as we attended the conferences, listened to the speakers, I began to feel called again. The Spirit's direction became apparent to me for the third time.

This time, I was really puzzled as to how to respond to all that I was experiencing. I was being much more open about being a priest. In 1985, we had moved back into the Los Angeles area, and I was actively involved in doing lector training through the Diocesan Office for Worship. In any class I taught, I began to tell people that I was a married priest. They appreciated hearing that, and many told me that they supported priests getting married. Roberta and I found ourselves in a time of discernment again. Several times, I celebrated the Eucharist with our Bible Study Group (this group had been meeting for years longer than we have been a part of this authentic small faith community). Somehow I knew that this was still not enough. There was more that I could and should be doing. Along the way, people had been asking me about performing a wedding or conducting a funeral and other forms of ministry. I had been turning down these requests. Slowly, it became clear to me that this was the next step in the journey. But how was I to go about it. I listened and sometimes talked to other people in CORPUS: Pat Callahan, Nick De Los Reyes, Anthony Padovano, Linda Pinto, Allen Moore and many others. Roberta and I decided that I would work into an active ministry, responding to people who would not otherwise be turning to the church. In 1993, I began ministering to marginalized Catholics, a meaningful and appreciated ministry so many of us married priests are engaged in today.

I do not like to complain, but when I look back, I think that God gets impatient with me and I get a shove. Suddenly, I was very active. Wedding and funeral ministries have kept me busy on a full time basis. In 1994, once more my full time work became ministry as a priest. There are not enough words to describe what I was experiencing. My life was recharged, and I found myself helping people to connect to God, and even move back into contact with the church. I shared in the lives of many people and in the past couple of years, couples have come back requesting me to baptize their children. Quite often after I conducted the funeral of one person, the families ask for me when another member of their family dies. I have experienced the blessings of God's goodness.

In 1999, at the International Married Priest Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, I celebrated my sixty-fifth birthday. It was a day where I was surrounded with friends and brother priests and their sister-wives, as St. Paul would have put it. What a terrific day and celebration. In January 2000, Roberta ended her career at Wells Fargo Bank - thirty plus years. Since then, we have become travelers with a motorhome that takes us about the country part of the year. While we are home, I do some weddings and baptisms when I am called. Since I maintain my name with CITI and the rentapriest web site: www.rentapriest.com, I even get calls while we are traveling. Right now, I have two baptisms and three weddings on my schedule in the coming months.

The Holy Spirit has surprised me three times in my life, and led me in directions that I had never dreamed possible. Indeed, the Spirit moves where She wills. God has blessed Roberta and me, and guided us in many wonderful ways. We look forward to next March when we will celebrate our thirty-second wedding anniversary. In April, we will also celebrate my forty-three years as a priest. I say with joy and a sense of the prophetic, I am a married priest.

From left: Fathers Keith Forster, John Hydar, and Dudley Conneely.

Married Men of the Cloth

Catholic Community Under New, Wedded Leadership

Thursday, October 7, 2010
by Rhys Alvarado

They met in jail.

Because he lost his sight to Meningitis, she found him bible readings in Braille. In the early 60s, Keith Forster was a young Catholic priest who spoke to women inmates at a Stockton jail. Nancy was his assistant.

When he'd left Stockton to preach elsewhere, Keith and Nancy would correspond by sending each other love cassette tapes.

"He changed, I changed, but the church hadn't," Nancy said.

Under the pressure of Canon law, which forbids the marriage of priests, Keith had to choose between tradition and his feelings for Nancy. His feelings he chose, even if that meant ex-communication. On a September afternoon in 1971, the two married in Nancy's parent's backyard.

"It just felt right," Keith said.

The idea of marriage wasn't a new one amongst Catholic priests in the 60s. Keith was part of a growing movement of priests attempting to break away from the unflinching traditions of Catholicism.

The Vatican II reforms (1962-1965), summoned by Pope John XXIII, included the council of more than 3,000 bishops, and attempted to change the freedoms of lay persons, welcomed non-Catholics and allowed congregants to celebrate mass in their own language with the priest facing them. According to Forster, marriage amongst priests was a topic to be discussed amongst the reforms.

"I had high hopes for the reforms," Forster said. "Even though they never really took hold."

Last Sunday, Sept. 26, Keith Forster and John Hydar -- who also left the church at one point to get married -- were handed over the leadership of St. Anthony's Community, formerly St. Anthony's Franciscan Church, in a ceremony called "The Laying on of Hands".

Dudley Conneely, is also married and plays a part-time priest role with the church when he's not abroad.

"This ceremony is about the community affirming us and we are affirming our commitment to the community," Hydar said.

John first met his wife Roberta at the Ventura Mission in 1966. John was an assistant priest and Roberta was a nun teaching at the parish school. When John was transferred to a parish in Simi Valley, the two would send each other letters to stay in touch.

On a hot New Year's Day in 1969, Roberta invited John to join her in Santa Barbara for the day.

"That was the first time we talked about our feelings for each other," John said. "We figured that we felt this was more than friendship."

In July of 1969, John decided to leave the church and found work in Santa Barbara for Work Inc., a company that helps rehabilitate locals in the community with disabilities. In 1971, the two married.

"It's a church law, that's it," said John. "I have never for a moment regretted marrying this wonderful lady."

For years after he left the church, those who knew John as a priest would ask him to perform baptisms, marriage and funeral ceremonies. And for years, he denied their requests.

"I just wasn't ready for it," John said.

Then in 1992, he finally said yes.

"I'm a priest, always have been," said John.

Nowadays, he can't even count how many babies he's dipped, or wedding vows he's commenced.

Father Leo Sprietsma, who left the St. Anthony's community for health reasons after 12 years of service, believes that the Catholic Church needs to rethink its structure but had mixed feelings about leaving the church in the hands of the married priests.

"I get a little mixed personally, even though the Vatican's view on priesthood is not aligned with that," Sprietsma said. "But since I left, they seem to be doing a good job."

"Even though they're married, they can function in emergency situations, even though they're not supposed to take on a community like that."

Under Canon Law No. 290, once a Roman Catholic priest, always a priest. Canon Law No. 843 also says that they're obligated to serve if called by a community or by anyone in need.

"That wasn't in their agenda," said Keith. "They wanted a Canonical priest."

But Keith and John were all the St. Anthony's Community had.

Although the Vatican, or even the Los Angeles Diocese does not recognize St. Anthony's Community, Keith and John are sticking to their commitment the same way they stuck to the gut feeling that led them to marriage.

Keith and John are members of Corpus, a reform group in the Catholic Church that works for a renewed priesthood of married and single men and women.

"There's no shortage of priests," Nancy said, quoting one of her favorite writers Joan Chittister. "There's just a shortage of celibate priests."

The number of Catholics per priest has dramatically risen from 1976-2009. According to futurechurch.org, the number of Catholics per priest has risen from 1,517 to 3,824.

According to CITI Ministries, more than 25,000 Roman Catholic priests have been married in the United States since the 1970s and more than 110,000 worldwide. Also, for the first 1,200 years of the Church's existence, priests, bishops and 39 popes were married before the man-made rule of mandatory celibacy was passed in 1139 at the Second Lateran Council.

Worldwide, parishes are closing their doors because of the shortage in celibate priests. In some attempts to save parishes, some priests are given leadership over multiple churches.

"They're combining parishes, or closing them," said St. Anthony's Community member Christine Milne. "That's too much for one human being."

The transition in leadership of the community hasn't come easy. In the process, the 40-or-so people that make up the St. Anthony's Community lost about a dozen members who rejected the idea of worshipping under married priests.

"We're still friends, we just have a different way of seeing things," Keith said. "They have a different view on church rules and we respect that."

Others wouldn't have it any other way.

"The attitude the church has towards women is horrible," said St. Anthony's Community member Jude Blau. "What's better than having a priest that's married?"

"This is what society now likes. They want a feeling of community, not a feeling of a mega institutional church. We want to be in the 21st century, not the 19th."

In the back room of the church, before the "Laying on of Hands" ceremony, while some members of the community arranged yellow and white flowers of Cosmo and others helped pour boxed Franzia wine into a goblet for communion, John helped Keith dress in his alb.

"I'll help you get set up," John said, placing Keith's alb on, one arm after the other.

"Now we're in business," Keith said.

BILL KELLER
New York Times
Published: December 1, 2013

AMONG the teaching nuns at St. Matthew's Catholic School, Sister Mary Robert was my favorite. She was young, not yet 30, with a gentle face framed by the starched white wimple. She tamed a classroom of hormone-dizzy eighth graders by making us want to please her. We offered up our compositions and our ventures in iambic pentameter, and were rewarded with encouragement that, at least in my case, never wore off.

Not many years after I left St. Matthew's, I left the church. Leaving your church is not so much like quitting a club as emigrating from the country where you grew up. You forfeit citizenship and no longer consider yourself subject to its laws, but you follow the news from the Old Country and wish its people well, because they are still in some sense your people. And if you write for a living you may sometimes write about that world, from a distance.

Last year, 50 years after eighth-grade graduation, Sister Mary Robert saw something I wrote on this subject and sent me a letter. Only she was no longer Sister Mary Robert. She had met a priest, Father John Hydar. They fell in love and, after extricating themselves from their respective religious vows, they married. At the time of her letter the marriage of Roberta (her reclaimed birth name) and John Hydar was in its 41st year, and it seemed to be a happy one.

If I'm an émigré from the country of Catholicism, the Hydars would be best described as dissidents who stayed. They ended up in one of the many small communities of disaffected Catholics where women are ordained, same-sex marriages are blessed, and members of the clergy are not required to endure the loneliness of celibacy. Eventually John began ministering to these Catholics on the margins. As one of four married priests at St. Anthony's Community in Santa Barbara, Calif., he baptized children and presided over weddings and funerals. Sometimes he was invited to fill in at short-handed mainstream Catholic parishes, with a wink from the archdiocese. In the view of the official church they were outliers, if not outcasts, but in their own view they were the real Catholics, waiting for Rome to wise up. "My husband and I may not live to see the fruits of our labors," Roberta wrote to me, "but in the meantime we find new ways to be Catholic, believing that the Spirit is on the move and there is no stopping Her by the institutional church." That "Her" made me smile.

Enter the new pope, Francis, who has heartened many progressive Catholics and infuriated many Catholic conservatives by suggesting that Jesus did not intend to establish a legion of scolds. The pope's efforts to promote a more tolerant tone and to reorient the church's priorities from inquisition to compassion are mostly words. I do not mean that as a slight. The kindness of his language, his empathy for the least among us, and the humility of his example are undeniably refreshing. Still, at some point Francis will, and should, be judged by the substance of his leadership. What should we look for?

Much of the social agenda that church reformers like the Hydars advocate -- full ordination of women, full equality for gays, an end to the widely ignored prohibition on birth control -- is so entangled in past papal proclamations and historical precedents that I doubt Francis will take the issues on. An apostolic exhortation the pope released last week was a heartfelt appeal for inclusiveness -- but on the Vatican's familiar terms.

There is one issue, however, where the internal politics, while difficult, are less difficult, where the case for reform is pressing, and where there are hints that Francis may be inclined to change. That is priestly celibacy.

The arguments for lifting the requirement that priests forswear sex and marriage are not new, but they have become more urgent. Mandatory celibacy has driven away many good priests and prospects at a time when parishes in Europe and the United States are closing for lack of clergy. It deprives priests of experience that would make them more competent to counsel the families they minister. Celibacy -- by breeding a culture of sexual exceptionalism and denial -- surely played some role in the church's shameful record of pedophilia and cover-up.

"Lots of people don't see [celibacy] as some extraordinary act of witness," said Thomas Groome, who heads the department of religious education and pastoral ministry at Boston College. "They see it as just a peculiar lifestyle, and one not to be trusted." Groome was a priest for 17 years but left to be a husband and father. "The loneliness of it, I think, can drive people crazy," he told me. "I've known hundreds of priests in my life," from student days in an Irish seminary through the priesthood and decades as a theologian. "I don't know too many diocesan priests, maybe three or four, who have lived a rich, life-giving, celibate lifestyle."

The requirement that priests be celibate is not a doctrine but a cultural and historical aberration. The first apostles had wives. Catholic clergy were free to marry for the first millennium, until a series of church councils in the 12th century changed the rules, motivated in part by financial disputes. (Priests were trying to pass on church property to their children; the crude remedy was to deny them children.)

There are, in fact, many married priests in the Catholic Church, priests who were ordained in the Eastern traditions of Catholicism as well as Anglicans and other married priests whose families were grandfathered in when they converted to the Church of Rome. In parts of Latin America and Africa, priests marry or have common law wives and the church looks the other way. Francis knows this well. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, the future pope befriended a radical and famously noncelibate bishop, Jeronimo Podesta, ministered to him on his deathbed, and remained close for years thereafter to Podesta's widow, who recalls that they often discussed the issue of celibacy.

Francis's intentions have been a subject of intense speculation in church circles since September, when Archbishop Pietro Parolin, a Francis confidant and second in command at the Vatican, told an interviewer that celibacy "is not a church dogma and it can be discussed because it is a church tradition." Parolin qualified his remarks ("We cannot simply say that it is part of the past"), but his declaration that the subject "can be discussed" guaranteed that it would be.

ONE place it has been much discussed is among the married priests in the dissident parish where John and Roberta Hydar found sanctuary. John told me that if celibacy had been optional back in the '60s, "most of us would have remained in active ministry" (although "most of us would also have gotten in hot water" over other disagreements with Vatican policy). He admitted taking a little sinful pleasure in the discomfort Francis has caused among Catholic hard-liners: "Well, the shoe is on the other foot now." And he said he can even imagine that Francis, given 10 or 15 years of good health, might change the church sufficiently -- not to win back lost causes like me, but to make Catholics like my old teacher and her husband feel at home there again. John Hydar will be watching, with keen hope, but without his wife. Roberta Hydar died of cancer on Oct. 18 at the age of 79.

We celebrate the life of
Roberta Frances Hydar
November 9, 1934 - October 18,2013

She has left behind her husband of 42 years,
many nieces and nephews,
a beloved aunt,
and countless friends,
from her youth to the present.

This celebration is with and for all of you here,
all who are present in spirit,
and especially the St. Anthony Community.

Roberta was born at Queen of Angels hospital in Los Angeles. She was the last of four children born to Robert and Monica Egerer. She attended parochial schools, notably St Agnes and St Paul on Washington Boulevard. She attended Catholic Girls High School graduating in 1952. Three of her closest classmates also shared a November birthday and, in later years, became what they called the November Girls Birthday Club.

Following high school Roberta entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross at Notre Dame, IN. She was a part of the Western Province and taught at various schools in California for 17 years. The last school was Holy Cross School at San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura. It was there that she and John met and became friends. In 1967, John was assigned to a parish in Simi Valley and they kept in touch. Then in 1968, she took a leave of absence from the community to see if she could survive outside of the convent and also to discern her future path.

Roberta and John, after some months, got together on New Years Day, 1969. They managed to talk about their feelings for each other and began dating. Roberta received her dispensation from her vows that year and John was released from the celibacy obligation in 1971. They were married on March 20, 1971 at St Raphael Church in Goleta.

Roberta went to work in the Trust Department of Crocker Bank in 1970 and when John and Roberta moved to the Los Angeles area, she continued with the bank and saw the merger with Wells Fargo. She retired after 30 years in 2000. At retirement, she and John purchased a motor home and spent a lot of time traveling in the US and Canada. In 2007, they moved to Ventura to escape the summer heat of the San Fernando Valley.

That year, they once more found the St Anthony Community in Santa Barbara and became active members. In 2010, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was controlled through chemotherapy. Life went on and they became members of the Board of Directors of CORPUS. In January, it was determined that the cancer had metastasized into her brain. Even with radiation, she and John knew that her time was very limited. She grew steadily weaker and entered hospice care. She died peacefully on October 18 with John at her side.