In Memory

Sister Tomasa Fernandez Huaman, IHM

December 29, 1955 – December 13, 2021

Tomasa Fernandez, IHM

Sister Tomasa Fernandez Huaman, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Monday, December 13, 2021, at a hospital in Lima, Peru.

She was born on December 29, 1955, in Cusco, Peru. She was the daughter of the late Emiliano Fernandez and Visitacion Moriano Huaman. She entered the IHM Congregation on March 25, 1987, made temporary profession of her vows on March 19, 1991, and final profession of her vows on May 24, 1998.

Sister Tomasa served as a pastoral minister at: Parroquia San Felipe in Sicuani via Cusco, Peru, from 1991 to 2007; Parroquia Presiocisima Sangre in Cieneguilla, Peru, from 2007 to 2009; Pueblo Esperanza-La Cruce Urbanization in San Diego, Lima, Peru, from 2009 to 2011; and Natividad de la Virgen María in Huaso via Cusco, Peru, from 2011 to 2016.

Sister also served in volunteer outreach in Lima, Peru, from 2017 to 2021.

She is survived by two brothers, Basilio of Lima, San Martin de Porras, Peru, and Florencio of Lima, San Martin de Pomrai, Peru; two sisters, Rosa, and Epifania both of Cusco, Peru; nieces and nephews. She is survived also by the members of the IHM Congregation.

Funeral services were held in Peru followed by interment at the family burial plot in Huasao via Cusco, Peru.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.

Remembrance Prayer and Funeral Mass:

Sister Tomasa Fernandez Huaman, IHM
Funeral Eulogy, Monday, December 20, 2021
by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM, Congregation President

I would be remiss if I didn’t express our congregational thanks to our sisters in Peru. Thank you to Dora, who helped connect with Tomasa’s family to make the wake and transportation arrangements for them to go from Lima to Cuzco with the body, and to Ancilla, Eileen, Norma and our associates who traveled from Sicuani to Cuzco for the wake and funeral last Tuesday and Wednesday. We are deeply grateful for their presence with Tomasa’s family and for their emails, phone calls, and photos that allowed us to share from a distance at least a part of Tomasa’s funeral and burial.

“I know that I will not give much [financially] to the Congregation,
but from my littleness I will be able to give my small portion
so that the IHM spirit will continue to grow.”
Tomasa Fernandez Human, 1997

These words were written by Tomasa in her thank you for permission to make her final vows in 1997. As we gather today with hearts filled with gratitude for the life and goodness of our Sister Tomasa, I think her words are a clear reflection of her story among us. Her whole life was marked by a desire to serve God, a deep love for family, our congregation, and her native Peru, and a conviction that she was never doing enough on any of these two goals. In this, the thirtieth year of her profession, we today thank our God for calling her to our IHM congregation and for gracing us, our church, and countless children and adults in Peru with these years of faith-filled and tireless service for others.

Tomasa’s life was a prime illustration of what she wrote in 1997, someone wholly and humbly dedicated to serving God by helping others in whatever way needed. Her early life was marked by serious illness, the results of which continued to affect her throughout her life. It was during one of her hospitalizations early on that Tomasa first encountered religious sisters. She was struck by their compassion and commitment, and that experience led her to consider religious life herself. After becoming acquainted with our sisters, she asked to be admitted as a candidate to our congregation. In her letter, she wrote of her love for God and the Blessed Mother and her desire to serve others in community. She entered the formation program in Lima, where she persevered despite language and cultural differences. As a candidate, she assisted our Sister Jacquie with four and five year olds in Mateo Pumacahua, but found the little children difficult to manage (I can identify with that!) so she began a ministry to the aged near Barranco. She later became a member of our first community in Sicuani, along with Eileen and Mary Elaine, and served there for several years, where her outreach focused on whatever were the needs of the people she met each day. She would bring the same energy and commitment to the people and parishes in Cieneguilla, Lima, and Cuzco, where ever she ministered as a pastoral minister and catechist. In each of these ministries, in fact, at the very core of who she was as a person, Tomasa was a selfless giver whose longing for God moved her deeply into the gift of God’s unconditional love for all.

Tomasa was passionate about her own vocation and that same passion was evidenced in her commitment to seeking vocations to the congregation. Whenever I visited Peru, without fail, Tomasa would ask about doing formation work there. Once, after meeting for the first time, a mother and her daughter at mass, Tomasa came back and said that the daughter wanted to enter religious life and could we interview her! Her impatience with the process only bespoke her deep love for the congregation.

Tomasa was a giver. No one ever left her company without being given a beautiful hand-made gift, and also many gifts to take back for sisters in the states. She would always ask what she could do for you, and watched to make sure you ate enough, were warm enough, wanted an extra sweater, or needed anything. She never missed calling or sending an email on our feast days and holidays, wishing us well and reassuring us that we were in her prayers every day. I know she called Dora and the sisters in Sicuani every week too. Her beautiful smile welcomed others into her life and her great happiness was seeing the joy of others.

Tomasa treasured the members of her family. We remember today her parents, Visitacion and Emiliano, her first teachers from whom she learned her deep love for God. They no doubt led the great fiesta for her in heaven last Monday, shared by Jeanne Marie and Jacquie for sure. I’m also very sure that Tomasa immediately began recruiting vocations to IHM as soon as she arrived in heaven! We pray today for all who have been touched by her life. We ask God to comfort her brothers, Basilio and Florencio, her sisters, Rosa and Epiphania, her nieces and nephews and their families, her IHM sisters, especially the sisters who shared life and ministry with Tomasa in Peru, and all those who were part of her journey here on earth.

Tomasa once explained that she didn’t think she was doing enough for our congregation, and that her ministry was ‘just’ talking to the people to whom she ministered, walking with them, and mainly listening to their stories. I reminded her that that sounded very much like how Jesus ministered. Tomasa brought beauty, joy, and compassion into our world by the simple but profound acts of caring she lived each day. We were all greatly enriched by Tomasa’s spirit and perseverance in bringing God’s love and hope to those she met and her fidelity to that mission impacted countless lives. Her “small portion” indeed enriched our IHM spirit beyond anything she could have hoped or imagined. She trusted in God throughout her life. We have no doubt that she now enjoys forever the fullness of God’s eternal light and love.

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