home page links quotes statistics mission statement success stories resources Lighter Side Authors! Search Page
Posted February 24, 2011

Book: Vessel of Clay: The Inspirational Journey of Sister Carla
Author: Jacqueline Hansen Maggiore
University of Scranton Press. Chicago, IL. 2010. Pp. 171

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

“In an age where greed and corruption have become the norm, the biography of Carol Piette presents a powerful and refreshing contrast. A Maryknoll Sister who gave her life for “God’s poor, old, beat-up people in Latin America,” Carol or Carla as she came to be known, carried all her earthly possessions in one small bag, lived in a poor neighborhood of Chile, and died in a flooded river in El Salvador while assisting refugees. Although her life was radical in many respects, when yo read this book you will come to know Carla as a very human person with a wonderful sense of humor.

With a wealth of memories recounted by people who knew Carla, as well as an analysis of the times in which she lived, Vessel of Clay captures her personality and commitment to the poor as well as her struggles with her health, family relationships, and the effects of poverty and violence in her adopted home. Thanks to other authors, we know about the four church women who died in El Salvador, but this is the first book to tell the story of the extraordinary woman who worked with them, and whose death preceded theirs by only a few months. Janice McLaughlin, M.M. President of the Maryknoll Sisters

An Excerpt from the Book:

We were involved in getting two guerillas out of hospital — 11 and 12 years old — since in the morning an 8 year-old guerilla was machine-gunned I hospital. Those are the things that just confuse and frustrate. However, the Salvadorans are sharp and strong and have nerves of steel. In one place in the campo in the middle of Mass when the shooting started, the women just got up, looked around and kneeled down. The men closed the doors and the priest who I drive, Sigfredo just stood and waited and then continued Mass. No hysteria, no leaving the church, just a bit of commotion as Carla sits on bench and looks around and says inside, “What have I come to?” It’s a barrel of laughs, especially as this priest who I chofer says, “Step on the gas” over roads that even Toyota Jeep ads wouldn’t come near to describe.

So — the walk continues and the Lord of the Way leads each day with no map and no clear weather but rather fog and total trust. But after it all — like Peter, I’m glad I jumped out of the boat and said, “If it’s you, Lord, bid me to come.” And He says, “Come.” So I dolly on the waves, sinking, screaming out, but hold His hand and I know He’s here and I’m glad I am.

Table of Contents:

1. Appleton and Milwaukee

2. Maryknoll, New York

3. Pucon, Chillan, and Buzeta

4. La Bandera

5. The states

6. Return to La Bandera

7. Coelemu

8. El Salvador

Ita Ford’s letter to the Maryknoll Sisters of the Chile region