Parishioner of Holy Cross, Austin is a witness of hope, joy
“My faith in God is my anchor” are powerful words from Sileryia Perry, a Louisiana native and parishioner of Holy Cross Parish in Austin. Perry, a cradle Catholic who was raised in New Orleans, said her upbringing is the foundation that initiated her spiritual journey. Over the years, she has developed a strong faith in God and a love for the Catholic Church.
“I love going to Mass and receiving our Lord and Savior in the Eucharist … I love our sacraments!” she said. She praises her parish community for being so welcoming and said the community cultivates a sense of unity among all parishioners.
Perry has been married for 18 years to the love of her life, Ivan. The Perrys, parents of four adopted children, aged 12 to 16, are raising their children in the faith. The Perrys take seriously the call to educate their children in the faith in the joyful hope that the children, like Mary the Mother of Jesus, would love the Lord totally, endeavoring always to say “yes” to God’s will. The family attends Mass together and engages in liturgical ministries and religious education.
Perry’s faith is evident as she serves in her parish, in her work with patients and others and in her family life. “I generally live by example by being a ‘living testimony!’” she said. A member of the parish’s Altar Rosary Society, she also sings alongside her husband and one of her daughters in the parish choir. The other children are altar servers, hospitality ministers or members of the Knights of Peter Claver Junior Division. Collectively, the family participates in Mobile Loaves and Fishes and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Perry said her faith gives her strength, especially during challenging times. “My faith gives me peace, joy and hope.”
A registered nurse for 30 years, Perry currently works as a pre-op nurse in the Surgery Center at St. David’s Hospital in Austin. She previously served more than a decade as a nurse manager. She is passionate about her work as it allows her to care for those seeking medical attention and to provide comfort care, but there was a time when she was not working.
“I love sitting and praying before the Blessed Sacrament and feeling God’s presence in such an amazing way,” she said. Being in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist provides comfort, especially amid demanding situations, Perry said.
During that moment of unemployment when she felt unsure of when, or even what, the next job opportunity would be, she explained how she turned to the Lord for guidance and spent time in prayer, accepting that God would provide for her. Relying on her deep-seated faith in God and the support of her husband and family, Perry never gave up hope. She used the opportunity to focus on spending time with her children and husband and caring for her father. She attended daily Mass and spent more time before the Blessed Sacrament. She strives to be an example for those who are struggling to maintain hope, and she seeks to be available for others, offering them encouragement.
“I pray to be more humble and to share God’s love with all his people,” Perry said.
“We know this [world] is not our home. Heaven, our eternal home, is our ultimate goal,” she said. Perry and her husband prioritize family prayer to keep this objective ever before their family and to keep Christ at the center of their household and their lives.
They pray as a couple and they pray with their children on their daily commute to school. Perry said “each child participates in the family’s communal prayer opportunities.” When her schedule allows, Perry participates in daily Mass and adoration.
“I love sitting and praying before the Blessed Sacrament and feeling God’s presence in such an amazing way,” she said. Being in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist provides comfort, especially amid demanding situations, she said.
As the wife of a diocesan diaconal candidate, Perry feels blessed to accompany her husband on this journey of formation. Growing spiritually as a married couple is integral to diaconal formation. Even as a man may feel called to the diaconate, he can only proceed if he has the consent of his wife. Perry is fully committed to her husband’s formation. She feels them growing closer not only as a couple but also to God. She said they have “experienced various learning sessions to enrich our faith life,” and she is thankful for “being a part of the wonderful wives’ group of diaconal candidates.”
Perry added with a smile, “I have developed some new friends and experienced some wonderful prayer warriors in Christ.”
She truly sees the face of Christ in everyone she encounters. Perry strives to be an example of the joy of the Gospel, and her love for Christ is infectious. She credits her faith with enabling her to work with others so that “they may all be one.” (Jn 17:21) Because of her encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist, Perry endeavors to live out more fully her baptismal call, and she accepts that she is one who is being sent out in mission “for the life of the world.” (Jn 6:51)
Kanobia Russell-Blackmon has been a freelance writer for the Catholic Spirit since 2016. She has more than 20 years of experience in broadcast news. She is the director of development and marketing for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Central Texas. She and her husband are parishioners of Holy Cross Parish in Austin.