The photo of Martha Serra Mohr, on her knees as Pope Francis blessed her after his Mass at the Plaza de la Revolucion during his visit to Cuba in September, was published around the world.
Despite her advanced pancreatic cancer, Serra Mohr fulfilled her wish to return to her country, 46 years after she left with her family for Spain and later Florida. She returned to Cuba accompanied by her son, Felice Gorordo, 32, and nearly 200 other Catholics who traveled from Miami.
Gorordo founded Roots of Hope/Raíces de Esperanza, a nonpartisan international network of students and professionals working to inspire youths around the world to think about Cuba and how to support and empower youths on the island to build a better future.
Serra Mohr died Nov. 29 at 56, surrounded by her family at her home in Key Largo.
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Born in 1959 in Sancti Spiritus, Serra Mohr worked for 20 years in two Miami schools. Her friends and coworkers remember her for her courage, her smile and her permanent desire to listen to and help others.
She worked most recently at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School in Coconut Grove, which she always considered to be an extension of her family. People at the school remember her for her timely guidance for those who needed it. Earlier, she worked in the admissions department of the Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart.
“I met her there in 1999, and we became friends. I did not yet have all my three children, and I greatly admired her as the mother of Felice, Nicole and Carolina,” said Ana Gloria Rivas Vásquez, regional director of Catholic Relief Services. She was also Serra Mohr's supervisor at Carrollton, and traveled to Cuba for the last papal visit.
“It was like old times, spending time together, listening to her and seeing her faith. The pope blessed her after the Mass,” she said.
Rivas Vásquez also recalled that Serra Mohr always had a smile for everyone. “That's how I am going to remember her, as well as for her counsels, because she really listened and was interested in people,” she said.
Aside from her three children, Serra Mohr also embraced Colleen and Chris Mohr, the children of husband Charles “Chuck” Mohr, and was grandmother to Catalina and David Gorordo and Hailey and Alyssa Gomez. She is survived by her husband and all her children as well as her mother, Telvia Marta Munio Solano, sisters María de Belen Sánchez and Annes Rodríguez and other family members.
Serra Mohr was also known as “Mumu,” and during the most difficult months of her disease, first diagnosed in January 2014, her family paid tribute to her courage by establishing MUMUFund.org (Making Us More Un-afraid), a fund dedicated to disseminating information about and raising funds for investigating pancreatic cancer.
Funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 2750 McFarlane Rd. in Coconut Grove. It will be followed by a celebration of her life in Oak Grove at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School.
The family asks those attending to wear white.
There will be a simultaneous service in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, in the Iglesia Parroquial Mayor del Espíritu Santo.
Serra Mohr wished that instead of flowers, donations be made to MUMUFund.org directly on the page or by sending checks to The Miami Foundation, 40 Northwest 3 St., Suite 305, Miami, FL 33128). Include “The MUMU Fund” in the memo line.