March 5, 1928 – May 27, 2018
Sister Carla Maria Crabtree, OSU, baptized Josefina Teresa, also known as Sister Charles Marie or “Charlie” died peacefully at Our Lady Wisdom Healthcare Center in New Orleans on May 27. Her Life, God’s gift to her parents, Charles H. Crabtree and Josephine Gomez Palacio, began March 5, 1928 in Ciudad Lerdo, Durango, Mexico.
Sister Carla Maria was the oldest of 11 children. She was preceded in death by five brothers: Henry I, Jose Francisco, Edwardo, Jorge, and Henry II, and is survived by three sisters: Enriqueta, Maria Concepcion (Conchita), and Maria and two brothers: Carlos and Jaime.
Sister’s parents felt it important to learn English: therefore, they enrolled the oldest girls in Ursuline Academy boarding school in Laredo, Texas. After high school she made an important decision that changed her life. In 1947 she entered the Ursuline community. She professed first vows Jan. 8, 1950 and perpetual vows in 1954.
Sister earned a bachelor of arts degree at Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, Texas. Later she earned two master’s degrees, one in Spanish and one in Theology, the latter at St. Mary’s University.
From 1950–1967, she taught junior high students at Sacred Heart (Falfurrias), Guadalupe, St. Peter and Ursuline Academy in Laredo, Texas, and was also principal four of these years. She then taught at O’Connell School in Galveston, Texas, and was principal at St. Teresa’s School in Decatur, Illinois.
Sister Carla Maria began a long history of life and ministry in the Galveston/Houston Diocese in 1983, where she was Director of Hispanic Ministry until 1992. Through this office she opened centers for recreation and set up classes in religious education for adults and youth. From 1992–2012 she continued Hispanic ministry in Brazoria County/Deanery, St. Rafael parish, and Holy Trinity parish in Angleton. In her desire to help people learn about the Scriptures and use the Bible for prayer, she began to distribute thousands of booklets in Spanish and English called Cinco Minutos (5 Minutes) to the communities in the Diocese. In 2000 she organized a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Sister Carla Maria retired to the Ursuline Queen of Peace Healthcare Center in Alton, Illinois, in 2012 and then moved to Our Lady of Wisdom Healthcare Center in 2014, where she was in close connection with the Ursuline Sisters in New Orleans