Nerva Cot Aguilera, Latin America's first woman bishop, dies at 71

July 10, 2010

Retired Suffragan Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Cuba Nerva Cot Aguilera died suddenly on July 10 after a brief battle with severe anemia. She was 71.

Cot became the first female Anglican bishop in Latin America when she was consecrated in Havana’s Holy Trinity Cathedral in June 2007.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said she is “deeply saddened” by Cot’s death.

“She was a friend and colleague, and I know the church in Cuba will miss the gifts she offered, even in retirement,” said Jefferts Schori. “She provided good leadership in the Episcopal Church of Cuba as they began to explore the possibilities of a second diocese. This Episcopal Church holds her, her family, and her colleagues, in our prayers."

Cot was selected as bishop suffragan in February 2007 by the Metropolitan Council that provides oversight to the Cuban church and on which Jefferts Schori serves. As bishop suffragan, Cot was responsible for the churches in western Cuba.

Cot previously worked as a secondary school teacher and was one of the first three Episcopal women priests ordained in Cuba in 1987.

Her daughter, Marianela de la Paz Cot, was ordained in February 2007, and her husband, the Very Rev. Juan Ramon de la Paz Cerezo, is dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Havana. Another son is a priest and another daughter is a church administrator.

The funeral was held July 11 at the cathedral in Havana.