Copy
Community-driven content. Share your news with us, and we'll tell the world!

East Harlem Preservation

Documenting Our Neighborhood Every Step of the Way!

El Barrio Loses Its Spiritual Champion, Carmen Villegas


If anyone  dedicated her life to fighting for the Latino community of East Harlem, it was Carmen Villegas. Today, the neighborhood mourns this Puerto Rican activist, who on Wednesday, at age 58, lost her battle with cancer.
 
"Carmen was a model for us to understand the value of spiritual life, but also taught us to love Puerto Rico and its cultural heritage," said Gloria Quiñones, her friend and companion of struggle for over two decades.
 
Born in New York and raised in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, Villegas was a key figure against displacement, lack of affordable housing and the gentrification of El Barrio. Among her most famous work was the campaign against the closure of the Our Lady of the Angels Roman Catholic Church. The parish that had served the Hispanic community of East Harlem for generations was closed by the Archdiocese of New York in 2007, not without strong opposition from the community.
 
"She was a Puerto Rican and proud of it, and lived a life of pure commitment," said Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito of her former mentor.
 
According to her sister, Mary Agnes Satterfield, Villegas consolidated her humanitarian work as a member and leader of organizations like SFDS Housing Development Corporation, Community Board 11, Aspira of New York Inc., Lincoln Medical & Mental Health Center, and the National Catholic Conference. Besides it, she  is survived by her brothers Miguel Villegas, Virginia Villegas and Evelyn Gonzalez, and her nephews.
 
Carmen Villegas's remains will be veiled on Sunday at the funeral home Frank E. Campbell, in 1076 Madison Avenue, beginning at 2:00 pm On Monday there will be a Mass at 11 am at the church Saint Catherine of Genoa, where her coffin will be taken to give a final goodbye to the church in the Catholic faith professed by more than 33 years. Her remains will travel to San Juan to be buried on the island on Wednesday that she loved  to the end.

Click here to learn more about the struggle to reopen Our Lady Queen of Angels

New York Viewing

Date: Sunday December 9, 2012
Time: 2pm to 5pm and 7pm to 9pm
Place: Frank E Campbell Funeral Chapel at 1076 Madison Avenue
  (corner of 81 St), Manhattan
  (212) 288-3500
Direction:

 
#6 train to 77 Street. Madison Avenue buses uptown.
Fifth Avenue and Lexington Avenue buses downtown
 

Mass and
Celebration

 
Date: Monday , December 10, 2012
Time: 11:00 AM
Mass:
 
St. Catherine of Genoa Parish, 506 West 153rd Street, Manhattan
(212) 862-6130
Memorial:
 
In Front of Our Lady Queen of Angels, 228 East 113 Street
between 3rd Avenue and 2nd Avenue, Manhattan
Time: After the Mass.  Around 12:30pm


P.R.
Viewing    

Carmen will be viewed in Puerto Rico,
where she will be laid to rest. Details to follow.

El Barrio pierde a Carmen Villegas, su luchadora de fe

Carolina Ledezma / EDLP  |   12:29 pm  |  12/07/2012

Si alguien que dedicó su vida a luchar por la comunidad latina de East Harlem, esa fue Carmen Villegas. Por eso, hoy El Barrio llora la muerte de esta activista puertorriqueña, quien el miércoles, a los 58 años, perdió la batalla contra el cáncer.

"Carmen fue un modelo para nosotros entender el valor de la vida espiritual, pero también nos enseñó a amar más Puerto Rico y su herencia cultural", dijo Gloria Quiñones, su amiga y compañera de lucha por más de dos décadas.

Nacida en Nueva York y criada en Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, Villegas fue una figura fundamental contra el desplazamiento, la falta de viviendas asequibles y la transculturación de El Barrio. Entre sus causas más famosas destacó la campaña contra el cierre de la iglesia Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles. Este templo servía mayormente a la comunidad hispana de East Harlem y fue clausurado por la Arquidiócesis de Nueva York en 2007, no sin férrea oposición de la comunidad.

"Era una puertorriqueña orgullosa de serlo, hasta el último día, una vida de puro compromiso que se nos fue muy temprano", expresó la concejal Melissa Mark-Viverito de quien fuera su mentora.

Según su hermana, María Inés Satterfield, Villegas consolidó su labor humanitaria siendo miembro y dirigente de organizaciones como SFDS Housing Development Corporation, Junta Comunitaria 11, Aspira de New York Inc., Lincoln Medical & Mental Health Center, y la Conferencia Nacional Católica. Además de ella, a la activista le sobreviven sus hermanos Miguel Villegas, Virginia Villegas y Evelyn González, y sus sobrinos.

Los restos de Carmen Villegas serán velados el domingo en la funeraria Frank E. Campbell, en el 1076 de la avenida Madison, a partir de las 2:00 p.m. El lunes habrá una misa, a las 11 a.m., en la iglesia Saint Catherine of Genoa, desde donde su féretro será llevado para dar el último adiós a la iglesia en la profesó su fe católica por más de 33 años. Sus restos viajarán a San Juan para ser enterrados el miércoles en la isla que ella amó hasta el final.

Photos and translation by Marina Ortiz.

Tribute to the late Dr. Ada María Isasi-Díaz

“Faithfulness  has upheld us throughout these  years, where we have grown into a real community..." More.
Testing the Faith of East Harlem Residents

Sunday Mass Continues at Our Lady Queen of Angels, Padlocks Notwithstanding... Read more.
Carmen González, Another Faithful Parishioner

Outspoken parishioner Carmen Gonzalez was memorialized at the Church in 2007.  View Photos.
Copyright © 2012 East Harlem Preservation, Inc., All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp