Bernarda “Conchita” Concepcion Berard, aged 84, died surrounded by her loving family on October 9, 2019 in Manhattan, NY. The daughter of Maria Herminia Perez and Gerardo (“Yayo”) Perez, Bernarda was born in Regla, Habana, Cuba on August 20, 1935. She studied pharmacology at the University of Havana, until the onset of the Cuban revolution. On August 25th, 1956 she married Aristides Berard at La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Regla. In the aftermath of the revolution, Conchita emigrated to New York in 1960. Soon after, she was stricken with the severest crippling form of rheumatoid arthritis, which she endured for the rest of her life.
Despite her tremendous physical limitations, she ran her own business, “Moby Dick,” a gift shop on 86th Street in Brooklyn. A source of great personal and spiritual satisfaction for her were the twenty-five years of pastoral care she provided at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, where she herself had received fourteen operations for her RA. She was cherished and officially recognized by the hospital for her unwavering commitment to charitable work, an honor she did not want. Equally significant was her deep, long-time involvement in the Catholic Charismatic Ministry, “Cristo Te Ama”, of St. Agatha’s Church in Brooklyn.
Conchita was concerned only about others, never herself. Her extraordinary courage, her ever-present sweetness and kindness, her unbounded love and charity, and her great faith and evangelization continue to serve as an inspiration to the countless people whose lives she has touched and transformed.
She is survived by her son, Jesus Manuel Berard, daughter-in-law Maureen McDonough Berard, her granddaughter, Julia Marie Berard and Ari, her husband of sixty-three years. She also leaves behind an enormous community of spiritual brothers and sisters and friends.
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works?” James 2:14