We invite you to post your loving thoughts, photos and videos of your loved ones who are no longer with us. We hope this page will be a comfort for families and friends who wish to celebrate the lives of loved ones and for our community to learn about the wonderful members of our community who are always in our thoughts and prayers.
St. Elizabeth’s Guild Photos from Recent Years – loving memories!
January 23, 2015 We mourn the loss of Shirley Segar, mother of St. Elizabeth’s Guild Secretary Sherilyn Parmeter. Our prayers are with Sherilyn and her family. Shirley’s funeral information is below:
Vicki Gonzales will be sending us the text from the beautiful memorial service Friday, July 18th which we will publish here.
If you would like to honor her memory, donate in her name to the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, 610 Wilson St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401. (707) 528-7580 or Catholic Worker House, PO Box 503, Redwood City, CA 94064.
Celebration of the Life of
Catherine Theresa Porta Gilligan
The world has lost one of the good ones…daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother — hero to many, friend and advocate. A true humanitarian, she lived the way Jesus exemplified. She fought for equality and justice, and she walked the talk, growing from a practicing tradtional conservative Roman Catholic to becoming a liberal and often radical example of living out prayer and love.
She marched with Cesar Chavez and Joan Baez in support of the farm workers and picketed at Safeway in support of the grape strike. She marched in Washington in protest of the Vietnam war and portested non-violently at Lawrence Livermore Lab in support of nuclear disarmament.
Born in San Francisco, she attended elementary school in Kentfied and San Francisco, then high school at Lowell, followed by a Bachelor’s degree from Lone Mountain College. She would later get her MSW at San Francsico State. Just before she married, her mother died of a stroke, and in her first years of marriage she helped her faither raise her sixteen year old sister, Alma, whom she loved dearly.
She had a deep faith and was always drawn to religious communities, as well as the Cursillo movement. She volunteered at the Mercy Center, Burlingame from 1995 to 2004 and became an Associate of the Sisters of Mercy in 1977. Cathy drove weekly to San Quentin with two Mercy Sisters to be a Eucharistic minister and facilitate a prayer group.
Upon retiring from 23 years of teaching elementary school at St. Anne’s of the Sunset and St. Thomas the Apostle in San Francisco, St. Raymonds in Menlo Park, Our Lady of Mercy in Daly City and St. Elizabeth Seton in Palo Alto, she took a 30 day Ignatian Retreat, which led to her selling her house in her late sixties to open “Casa Guadalupe,” as a refuge for immigrant women and children — some of whom had been victims of abuse — so they could work to gain their independence. When she needed to close Casa after eight years because of her health she wrote, “To share my life with so many wonderful people has been pure gift. I have been privileged to walk the journey with so many women in their moments of fear, happiness, uncertainty and anger, but mostly to love and be open to receiving their love.” Not only their love, but the love of so many who made the Catholic Worker dream come true with their generosity and care.
She moved to Guerneville and became an active member of St. Elizabeth’s Church, St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Russian River Food Pantry and the Russian River Mercy Associates. As her health declined she was a gracious receiver of so many kindnesses from neighbors and friends at St. Elizabeth’s, just as she had learned to receive from those at Casa Guadalupe.
She lived her life to the fullest, and, as Frank Sinatra said, “I did it my way…”