Maria Elena Pedroza, IHM

ŒΩA Memorial Mass was held Jan. 22 at Sacred Heart Church in Covina for Maria Elena Pedroza, 86, who died Jan. 10 from complications of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. She had been a member of the Immaculate Heart Community for 64 years.

As a Sister of the Immaculate Heart, she taught at Our Lady Queen of Angels and St. Vibiana’s in Los Angeles. Those assignments were followed by Sacred Heart, Lancaster; Mission School in San Luis Obispo; St. Gertrude in Bell Gardens and Immaculate Conception in Colton.

Following the establishment of Immaculate Heart Community in 1970, she went on to teach with the Chino Unified School District at El Rancho School, retiring in 1994. She resumed teaching at St. Frances of Rome in Azusa until 1996, when she retired for good. She then volunteered at Ontario Airport, assisting travelers with information and guidance. In 1998, she received the Travelers Aid pin for 252 hours of service. Burial was at Holy Cross Cemetery, Pomona.

Sr. Mary Bertha Rehers, OP

νFuneral Mass was held Jan. 25 at the Dominican Sisters Chapel in Fremont for Dominican Sister Mary Bertha Rehers, 100, who died Jan. 20. She had been a member of the Dominican Sisters for 78 years.

She entered the Congregation from her home parish of St. Michael in Los Angeles, where she was baptized in 1913 and later went to the parish school. She attended Sacred Heart Academy for high school.

Sister Rehers excelled as a music teacher, having received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Immaculate Heart College, Los Angeles. Her local teaching assignments included her home school of St. Michael; Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, La Ca√±ada-Flintridge; and her alma mater, Sacred Heart High School, Lincoln Heights.

She spent most of her teaching at the Motherhouse in Fremont, teaching music to the young sisters from the late 1940s to 2007. It was during this time that she began to take on students from the local community and ended up founding the Queen of the Holy Rosary School of Music. Currently some 200 students are enrolled, with many hundreds more having attended over the years.

Burial was in God’s Acre, the Dominican Sisters cemetery. Memorials may be made to the New Building Fund or the Mother Pia Backes Education Fund, 43326 Mission Blvd., Fremont, CA 94539.

Sr. Patrice Benson, SSL

νFuneral Mass was held Feb. 6 at St. Mel Church in Woodland Hills for Sister of St. Louis Patrice Benson, who died Feb. 1. She had been a Sister of St. Louis for 66 years.

Born in Kiltimagh, County Mayo, Ireland, she entered religious life in 1947. Sister Benson first taught in England where she learned the Montessori Method. In 1960, she came to California and, for over 16 years, taught in Holy Name of Mary, San Dimas; St. Robert, Sacramento; Mater Dei High School, Santa Ana; and Louisville High School, Woodland Hills.

She continued her education, earning her PhD from the University of Honolulu. Sister Benson then taught for many years at the junior and senior seminaries and is fondly remembered by many who studied under her. In 2002, after 20 years at St. John’s Seminary, she retired to Louisville Convent. Her final four and a half years were spent being cared for at Mary, Health of the Sick in Newbury Park.

Sr. Lorna Mary Swisher, CSC

ŒΩFuneral services were held recently in Notre Dame, Indiana, for Holy Cross Sister Lorna Mary (M. Alfred) Swisher, 90, who died at Saint Mary’s Convent in Notre Dame.

Born in Boise, Idaho, she was taught by the Sisters of the Holy Cross in elementary and secondary school, and entered the Congregation at the age of 20. She taught for 29 years in elementary and junior high grades in several western states, including California, Idaho and Washington.

Locally, Sister Swisher began teaching in the elementary grades at Good Shepherd School in Beverly Hills. She then taught junior high school students at Holy Cross School in Ventura, where she had great rapport and remained teaching at that grade level for 13 years. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Ministry with the Poor, Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, IN or online at 

Kathryn (Katy) Clark

ŒΩA Memorial Mass will take place March 28, 11 a.m., at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church, Los Angeles, for Kathryn (Katy) Ann Clark, who died Feb. 2. 

A retired archdiocesan employee, Clark began working in 1988 as an assistant to the Moderator of the Curia for then-Msgr. Stephen Blaire (now Bishop of Stockton) and later served as a liaison to Auxiliary Bishop John Ward in his retirement. 

She was promoted to executive assistant in 1992 and, in 2004, also served as needed for the Vicar for Women Religious. Her last job before retiring in 2010 was as an administrative assistant for Msgr. Sal Pilato, secondary schools superintendent for the Department of Catholic Schools. 

Clark was also an active member of Our Mother of Good Counsel and volunteered for Catholic ministries that included Santa Fe Communications and the Southern California Renewal Communities (SCRC) annual convention. In the early history of SCRC, Katy served on the board of directors and the staff before becoming an employee of the archdiocese. She was proud to have been among the first prayer group leaders in the local charismatic renewal.

Msgr. Joseph Alzugaray

νFuneral services were planned in Napa for Msgr. Joseph Alzugaray, former archdiocesan director of the Mission Office, who died Jan. 31 after a long illness. Msgr. Alzugaray served in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from 1967-96 before moving to the Diocese of Santa Rosa.