Earlier this month, Pax Christi USA learned that we had lost one of our most effective and trusted regional leaders, Carol Ann Breyer of Pax Christi Florida. Carol Ann served as the state coordinator for Pax Christi Florida for a number of years and was a constant presence at national events and actions, including offering her leadership during Pax Christi USA’s project bringing election observers to Florida in 2004 and most recently, at Pax Christi USA’s leadership meeting in June in Washington, D.C.
“I know that Carol Ann will be missed but I’m sure that her spirit will continue to carry on within the work of PC-Florida,” stated Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA upon learning of Carol Ann’s passing. “She indeed has joined the cloud of witnesses that will continue to bring about peace through non-violent transformation.”
All of us at Pax Christi USA are mourning Carol Ann’s passing and our thoughts and prayers go out to her husband Lee and all the members of Pax Christi Florida who were like family to her. Most of all, we give thanks for her life and for her witness, and we take strength from all she shared with us, continuing to work for the nonviolent reign of God which she deeply believed in. Carol Ann Breyer – PRESENTE!
We invite you to leave notes in the comments section below of your stories and memories of Carol Ann, or to post on our Facebook page.
Here is the complete obituary which appeared in the September 28th issue of The Sarasota Herald-Tribune:
On September 12, Carol Ann died in her sleep in Savannah, GA, at a motel stopover en route to a retreat in West Virginia. She was born in Rochester, NY, to Caroline Gleichauf and Charles Strobel. She had two older sisters, Jean Kinzel (deceased) and Marilyn Murray. She is survived by Lee Breyer, her husband of 45 years, her sister Marilyn, three nephews and two nieces.
After the family moved to Baltimore, MD, she attended Mount St. Agnes High School and, on graduation, she went to the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. During her college years, she joined the Sisters of Mercy in Baltimore and continued her undergraduate education at Mount St. Agnes College. She earned her graduate degree at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. She continued post-grad studies at the University of Maryland and received her doctorate from Walden University in Educational Administration. Her religious assignments took her to Savannah, GA, Mobile, AL, and Washington, DC as well as Baltimore.
In 1969, Carol Ann and Lee settled in the Washington, DC area. There she was very active in the civil rights movement, working in the national office of the US Catholic Bishops in its Peace and Justice office, learning much from the then newly established Public Broadcasting Service, and was employed by Prince George’s Community College to help establish its continuing education program for adults. The couple were heavily involved in developing a number of small intentional communities dedicated to a renewal in the Catholic Church.
In 1979, she and Lee moved to Tallahassee, FL, where she worked at the Florida Department of Education, focusing on the establishment of the state’s community college system and also with Florida State University as a program evaluator. It was there that she became very familiar with the problems of people ‘living on the streets’ (through the local homeless coalition) and with those behind bars (at the local state prison).
Carol Ann took her compassion for justice and her commitment to nonviolence with her to Ellenton, FL in 2000. There she and Lee built Mercy-on-the- Manatee, a house that won awards for energy conservation (the FPL BuildSmart Gold Award) and environmental sensitivity (the Florida Native Plant Society’s Landscaping Award). Her passion for care of the environment caused her to be a very active volunteer in the Florida Master Gardener Program and the Sierra Club in Manatee County. Carol Ann was heavily involved in peace and justice issues her entire life and so she became the Florida State Coordinator of Pax Christi, the national Catholic Peace Movement, and was also instrumental in the creation and establishment of the Diocese of Venice Environmental Justice Commission. Shortly afterwards, she was active in the Earth Charter; South West Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice; Pace e Bene, the movement for a nonviolent culture of peace; as well as a member of Call to Action, a progressive organization in the Catholic tradition. Her interest in such groups involved both church and social reform issues and brought her to the Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community.
Among her proudest achievements was her role on The President’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities and the subsequent federal legislation extending justice to a previously neglected population. In all her activities, her signature quality was her advocacy for social justice for those living on the edges of church and society…with no exceptions.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 4, 4:00 pm, at St. Andrew United Church of Christ, 6908 Beneva Road, Sarasota, FL, 34238. This will be followed by refreshments and storytelling in Stewart Hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to:
- Mary, Mother of Jesus Catholic Community, 6908 Beneva Road, Sarasota, FL 34238
- Pax Christi-USA, 415 Michigan Avenue NE – Suite 240, Washington, DC 20017-4503 (or click here to make a gift in Carol Ann’s name securely online with your credit card)
- Mercy Sisters of the Americas (South Central Community), 101 Mercy Drive, Belmont, NC 28012
6 thoughts on “OBITUARY: Carol Ann Breyer, former state coordinator of Pax Christi Florida – PRESENTE!”
Carol Ann will be missed. She was a dedicated nonviolent activist in the cause of peace with justice. But more than that she was a faithful disciple of the nonviolent Jesus and a compassionate and caring co-worker in the vineyard of the Lord.
When I think of all my good times with Carol Ann, and they were all good, all I can do is smile. She was such a joy to be with. I loved her honesty, her good humor, her dedication to peace and justice, her dedication to Pax Christi; I loved her. I was shocked to hear of her death earlier in the month, but so happy she went so peacefully. I’m honored to have known her and worked with her as a Regional Leader of Pax Christi USA. I will miss her at future gatherings. My heartfelt prayers go out to her and Lee. Presente!
When we heard of Carol Ann’s death our immediate reaction was shock and sadness. But that feeling could not last for long as we recalled her vital presence at the June Pax Christi Regional Meeting in June. It seems like yesterday. She and Lee were made for each other! And It seemed like the DC meeting just continued when we coincidentally met them at a rest stop on Route 81 – each of us on our way home: Lee and Carol Ann to Florida and we to South Central VA. Carol was as active as ever and full of energy as we discussed the meeting and other matters, especially the issue of the Just War Theory which was so much a part of our discussions. We can’t imagine Carol Ann ever stopping her vocation to peace and justice with all that entailed. Heaven will never be the same! Our hearts are with Lee at this time.
So sad to hear of Crol Ann’s passing. I became reacquainted with her and Lee at the 2014 Momentum just this past summer. She was a dedicated, unassuming, understated servant of Pax Christi. I had the pleasure of having dinner with her, Lee and a group of Pax Christi diners at the Bus Boys and Poets restaurant while in DC. Very lovely woman, and I am certain she is looking down from heaven. Thoughts and prayers are with Lee.
I only got to know Carol Ann and Lee for a few years ago when I was a guest at a Pax Christi Florida assembly. I enjoyed that time so much and was happy to see them again in DC at the Momentum event this year. I knew they were an amazing couple, but I was in awe of all that Carol has done as I read the obituary. She will be missed by many, but she certainly accomplished a lot in her life. Condolances to Lee, her faithful companion in the work for peace & justice.
We first met Carol Ann and Lee about ten years ago while vacationing in Florida and immediately felt a connection. In our annual trips there we would always see them at worship services and peace activities. Carol Ann would welcome us like long lost friends. It was such a joy just to be in her company. Our winter vacation won’t be nearly as warm next year.