Christian 11

Carol Pribula

June 16, 1945 ~ November 8, 2020 (age 75)


Carol Dianne Pribula- Born into life, June 16, 1945 and died into eternal life, November 8, 2020.

Carol was the 2nd child of seven children born to Leon and Irene (Vanyo) Pribula. Carol was baptized at St. Peter and Paul’s Church at Warren, MN. She attended school at Alvarado, MN graduating as Valedictorian in 1963. Following graduation, she spent her first year in nurse’s training at the St. Joseph’s School of Nursing which was affiliated with St. Michael’s and UND as well as St. Luke’s in Fargo. In 1964, she was accepted as a member of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit. While a member of the community, she became a registered nurse at DePaul University of Chicago, IL. Carol went on to obtain her masters in pyschiatic nursing at the Catholic University of America, in Washington DC in 1975. From 1975 until 1979 she worked at St. Therese Hospital, Waukegan, IL first as a staff nurse and later as a clinical specialist. In 1979 until 1984, she was an instructor of nursing at DePaul University. During this time, she was active at St. Mary of the Lake Parish in Chicago.

Carol left the Holy Spirit community in 1984 and in 1986, moved to Mesa AZ to work as an RN in geriatric-pscyh with Banner Health. She continued her work with psychiatric patients until her retirement in 2018. As a nurse, she was received the Florence Nightingale Award and Daisy Award as well as being in the Who’s Who in American Nursing and Cambridge Who’s Who of Executives and Professionals.

Carol loved to cook, write poetry,did ballroom dancing, travel and play her flute especially at her parish, Christ the King, Mesa AZ. One of her most memorable trips was to Rome in 2003 with her mother and Aunt Elvern when they met Pope John Paul II for the beatification of Society of the Divine Word founder,  Arnold Janssen. Her other memorable travels included: Portugal, Spain, Israel and Jordan as well as an Alaskan Cruise with family members in 2018.

She is survived by her siblings: Fr. Duane, Michael (Sharon), Suzanne, Greg and Mari (Paul). Nephews and nieces and their families: Chris (Carla), Joe (Christi), Mitch (Katie), Jessica, Katie, Karen, Audrey and Cole along with many cousins and surviving aunts: MaryAnne, LaVerne and Judy.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to your local parish or the Warren/Alvarado/Oslo Education Foundation.

We, the family of Carol Pribula, appreciate your prayers, support and love for her throughout her life. We especially thank her friends in Mesa who were so caring and loving as well as the staff at MDAnderson and Banner Health/Hospice during these last years of her life.

MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: 10:30 AM on Saturday, June 12, 2021 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Moorhead, MN.

Family and friends of Carol are welcome to join the Pribula – Vanyo families at Mass at 8:00 AM on Sunday, June 13, 2021 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Tabor, MN.

INTERMENT: Carol will be buried next to her parents, Leon and Irene, and sister, Paula, in Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Warren, MN.

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Some shared reflections for the Funeral Mass by Father Duane Pribula, honoring Carol Dianne Elizabeth Pribula, beloved daughter of God and our special companion.


Good evening sisters and brothers in the Lord Jesus Christ, Our Risen Savior.

Thank you for coming together in this sacred space, this building dedicated to St Joseph, husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Today we come together to pray for ourselves in our grief over the death of Carol. We come together to celebrate Carol’s life and faith and place her into the loving arms of Jesus Christ, her Redeemer and Risen Lord. We are Carol Dianne Elizabeth’s siblings and nieces and nephews…we are her cousins and extended family and her large circle of friends and co-workers around the country. Let us be mindful of the thousands of women, men and young adults whom Carol cared for as a nurse, with a maternal love in her heart. The people and communities of Chicago and the Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona, area were the backdrops for her 43 years as a nurse; and that is a life-time!

The Christian Sacred Scriptures proclaimed today were chosen because they described Carol’s spiritual life for these 75 years. Carol drew her spirituality and compassionate energy from two well-springs: contemplation and action: the contemplative and quiet spiritual waters; and the bold and courageous waters. The Missionary Sisters of the Holy Spirit community became her bubbling, well-spring and reference point. Carol joined the Missionary Sisters of The Holy Spirit in 1964; she was nurtured by the spirituality of their world-wide and racially diverse missionary movement; the SSpS community has been serving 46 countries since 1889 and has over 3,000 members. Carol was a professed member of that missionary community from 1964 to 1984. She became an associate member that year.

Carol and her companion sisters gathered around the altar-table of Jesus Christ, Risen Savior on Sundays and most weekdays. They prayed the morning and evening prayer of the church (the liturgy of the hours). In communal prayer they commemorated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Mary, the human and divine Son of God. We note that our Christian faith (whatever our denomination) testifies that Jesus was crucified and died on the cross. His dead corpse was placed in a tomb outside Jerusalem. And three days later, on Easter Sunday morning, miracle of miracles!, wonder of wonders!, Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. Jesus rose in a new Resurrection Body; a Resurrection Body seen and touched by his disciples, both women and men.

For 34 years (of her 43-year nursing career) Carol served as a psych nurse. Personally, I stand in amazement of that vocation. I praise her and all medical nurses, doctors and medical staff who serve God’s children crippled or suffering brokenness of mind, body or spirit. (Those of you who serve in the realm of mental health care deserve our highest gratitude and praise.)

The phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” could be rephrased as, “it takes a supportive circle of loving family and friends to uphold and maintain a nurse”. Nurses and doctors do their best to bring a level of healing and wholeness to people in their care. Helping people in distress and as a profession requires strength of soul and compassion. Mental health care requires caregivers who maintain a healthy balance in both spiritual life and physical life as well as family and social life. These balances are sustained by a wide circle of supportive family, friends and spiritual companions.

As an “associate” member Carol lived the missionary spirituality of the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Spirit her entire life. Carol was both a contemplative, introspective woman, and a boldly active, charity-based Christian woman.

Carol took time to meditate and listen to Christ Jesus, the Divine Word of God. Hearing the proclamation of the Gospel and reading the Sacred Scriptures was her spiritual bread and butter. She often visited the prayer chapels of area Catholic Churches; this was her habit. Carol often drove to the St. Peregrine Chapel in Mesa before her sister, Paula, died of breast cancer on July 1, 2009. She would enter the side-chapel dedicated to St Peregrine, the patron saint of people afflicted with cancer. I witnessed Carol in that chapel praying on her knees, hands folded and head bowed in prayer for 30 to 45 minutes at a time. In this way she prayed for Paula, and I'm sure she prayed for you and me…and later she prayed for herself during her affliction with bone marrow cancer.

Carol has prayed for all of you here today, and you who are now watching on video screen. Carol believed in the healing power of God's divine presence; her prayer life and her daring willingness to pray publicly, with prayerful insistence, was a characteristic of Carol, our sister, aunt, cousin, friend and companion. During our visits, she would say “let's stop at the chapel and come before the Blessed Sacrament; let’s take time to pray.” She knew in her heart and soul that God, who is Spirit, love and compassion, embraces our human body. Christians profess that God who is Spirit became enfleshed and One with Us (Emmanuel). God became incarnate and touchable in the person of Jesus Christ.

Today Christ Jesus sustains his presence among us in the Blessed Sacrament of Holy Communion; He is now the Bread of Eternal Life. The consecrated, sacred Bread on reserve in the Holy Tabernacle (The Body of Christ) in most churches is the physical reality of God with us always. Soon many of you shall receive Christ Jesus in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, the Eucharist Meal of Holy Thanksgiving.

Sisters and brothers, Jesus Christ lives as Risen Savior; death does not have the last word of his human life nor our human lives. Whether we acknowledge it or not, God has a plan for each one of us now during our lifetime and after we die. You and I, and Carol too, will rise from the cosmic dust of our bodies on the day of glory. Our newborn Resurrection bodies will be like the resurrection body of Jesus Christ the Divine son of God. You and I are destined for eternal life.

Carol walked the corridors of busy hospitals. She applied both medical care and spiritual care in her quiet ways. She was often happy to quietly pray with staff or patients when they asked for her blessing. I know that the families of the people residing in the psych wards were blessed by the compassionate medical care and warm, human compassion Carol gave them. She also extended her spiritual, human care to her medical companions. Carol cared deeply about the ailing and sometimes the despairing women and men in her care. She interacted diligently with the specialists, the aides and nurses in her company each night (and day)

You and I know that Carol expressed her Christian devotion in her own special way. That was Carol's way. Her recorded phone greeting was uniquely Carol…even though I often hoped she would change it!

May I encourage you to create and stand by the Christian devotional and spiritual pattern that expresses your personality, your character, and your profession or vocation in life. Be public with your prayer life and your faith life. Please don't hide your faith-life under a bushel basket. (Some of you may be members of other faith groups…the Jewish, Islam, Hindu, etc.)

Bless the people you love and befriend; spend time with family and friends and other co-workers. And pray for all God's sons and daughters in your prayer life. Take time to cultivate and express your faith lest your faith life go out like the spent light of a lamp.

The reality of the glory of heaven is this…It is an everlasting enjoyment of continuous praise of God who is Spirit, Love, Fulness of Joy and Compassion. We shall be in company with our families and friends, and saints we have never yet met….We shall be rejoicing with joy-filled music (and flutes!); the continuous spirit of dance and praise will be our experience in company with Abba Father, our God. We shall be in company with our Lord Jesus Christ, and all the angels, the spiritual messengers of God.

In conclusion…Carol, we thank you for your companionship and friendship. We thank you for your good will and charity shown in thousands of ways. Continue praying for us; we shall honor you by our prayers and we will include you in our prayers every day of our lives. As Christians we believe in the communion of saints…the spiritual relationship between us the living, the saints on Earth, and you now among the saints in the Glory of Heaven face to face with Jesus Christ.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God be praised.

Saint Carol Dianne Elizabeth, pray for us.

We know you eagerly await your glorious Resurrection, in the pattern of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ.

Liturgy tribute for Carol Pribula at her funeral Mass TBD, November 2020



Service delayed until Summer of 2022.

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