SUMMERVILLE—St. John the Beloved parish bid farewell to a good friend recently.
Sister Carol Gnau, of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, retired on June 30. It is only fitting that the church hosted a retirement party after the 5:30 p.m. Mass that day because hers was a life of faith and service as the pastoral associate.
Sister Carol entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Baltimore on Sept. 8, 1961, the feast of the birth of Mary. She professed her first vows on July 27, 1963.
She was the fourth child born to Beatrice and Henry Gnau in Baltimore. In elementary school, she attended Blessed Sacrament, followed by the Institute of Notre Dame, which is an all girls high school, and then the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. She completed graduate studies at La Salle University.
Sister Carol served as principal of Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenville and St. John School in North Charleston prior to coming to St. John the Beloved in 1987.
Among her many responsibilities at St. John the Beloved, Sister Carol coordinated the RCIA program, along with other adult formation programs. As a service for deceased loved ones, she acted as the parish liaison between funeral homes and families. She also ran the parish food pantry and senior ministry.
Since 1986, she has paid monthly visits to inmates at Lieber Correctional Institution to conduct prayer services and distribute Holy Communion. She also helped with literacy programs for inmates. During that time, she said she was “privileged to walk the last months or years with five Catholic death row inmates.”
Sister Carol also coordinated Ministry of Care for the homebound, nursing home residents and hospital patients to ensure pastoral visits and reception of Holy Communion.
Sister Carol credited the Lord with guiding her tireless service to His people.
“God is truly my rock and my strength,” she said.
Her church family said they are sad to see her go.
“She has served our parish and diocese for a long time, and will be greatly missed,” said Stephanie Sharib, administrative assistant at St. John the Beloved.
All photos, Miscellany/Doug Deas: Sister Carol Gnau, of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, receives a round of applause after a presentation from Msgr. Chet Moczydlowski at St. John the Beloved Church on June 30.