Sister Carolee Chanona was a Sister of Mercy for 59 years. She was born in Belize City, Belize (British Honduras at that time), and graduated from St. Catherine Academy in 1963. Soon after graduation, she entered the Novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy in Cumberland, Rhode Island, on September 8, 1963. She studied at Salve Regina College in Newport, Rhode Island, and taught at St. Mary’s, Bristol, RI. from 1966-1968. Her higher studies were from 1969-1970 at the University of San Francisco Lone Mountain, College, California.
After her studies, she returned to Central America, not Belize, but Instituto Maria Regina in La Ceiba, Honduras, where she taught until 1974.
She came to Belize in 1974 and did a year’s experience in pastoral work in St. Francis Xavier Parish. It was at this time she encountered Marin’s Latin American Team of San Paulo, Brazil, which she joined. For the next 15 years or so, she traveled to many countries with the team to encourage and promote the Base Ecclesial Communities concept of the Church.
She returned to Belize in 1990, did some parish work, and in 1993, left Belize for the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkely, California.
From 1996 to 2012, she was engaged in Parish work and in service to the Mercy community in leadership roles as we moved into the formation of the Caribbean, Central American Community (CCASA).
Due to illness, in 2017, she moved to Catherine’s Residence in St. Louis, Missouri, where she spent her final days.
Carolee lived a very holistic life. She was passionate for God, God’s people, Mother Earth, and Mercy. Her years on the Latin American Team promoting Basic Ecclesial Communities occurred when there was much persecution against the Church. In 1983 the team published the book CRY OF THE CHURCH, which gave witness to the martyrs of the Church in Latin America. Her experience in Latin America taught her much about suffering. Carolee was a leader and initiated and organized many activities. She was a kind and gracious person and will be remembered for her generous and forgiving spirit.