Sister Bernadette Desmond, M.M., a social justice advocate who served for many years in Peru, died Nov. 3 at Maryknoll Residential Care Unit in Ossining.
She was 72. She was assigned to Maryknoll’s Peru Region in 1960, where she served for five years as a teacher and principal. After three years as principal of a school in Bolivia, she returned to Peru in 1971 and served there until 1982. During that period, she was coordinator of the sisters’ regional governing board in Peru, 1975-1978, and was on a rural pastoral team in the altiplano, the high altitude plains in the Peruvian Andes, 1979-1982. Returning to the United States in 1982, she did human rights and social justice advocacy for many years, focusing on Peruvian issues. Born in Brooklyn, she entered the Maryknoll Sisters in 1954 and received the religious name Sister Marie Pilar. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Maryknoll Teachers’ College, she professed final vows in 1963. A Funeral Mass was offered Nov. 8 in the chapel of the Maryknoll Sisters Center, with burial in the sisters’ cemetery.