by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D. Profiles in Catholicism
Dr. Knight: Tell us about the founder of your order.
Sisters: Jose Antonio Plancarte and Labastida was a Mexican diocesan priest who became abbot of the Shrine of Guadalupe in Mexico City. He founded our religious order (Daughters of Mary Immaculate of Guadalupe) on February 2, 1878. He was acknowledged by our Pope Francis as venerable on January 24, 2020
Dr. Knight: Tell us about the mission of your congregation.
Sisters: The Daughters of Mary Immaculate of Guadalupe are a religious Mexican order that has as its mission the education of children and youth, care of the sick, and Missions that evangelize others through education and hospitals.
Dr. Knight: What led you to come to the United States, Southside of Chicago?
Sisters: Through the invitation of Father Michael Enright priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, who at the time happened to be the pastor of Immaculate Conception Church. He had the dream to transform the neighborhood which was filled with crime, gangs, and violence. He was in sync with the Charism and ideals which led our Founding Father to begin our religious order…To offer excellent catholic education, making it accessible to the poorest and most needed, through the missionary work of our religious order.
Dr. Knight: How do you follow the mission of your congregation here?
Sisters: Through offering education at the school that we staff at Immaculate Conception we follow the mission.
Dr. Knight: Tell us about the process of becoming a Sister.
Sisters: The formation lasts 9 years. 1 year of being an Aspirant, 1 year of being a Postulant, 2 years of Novitiate, and finally 5 years of Temporary Vows at the Mother House, where time is invested to discern vocation and the study of their own Charism. Each year of formation the sisters have assigned a sister who coordinates and accompanies the process of discernment.
Dr. Knight: Tell us your missionary journey in the United States.
Sisters: It has been a difficult process. The main reason is because there is a formal commitment to acquire the language of the US: English. In addition, the assumption of the enculturation process, because our commitment is to serve all the people from any culture.
Dr. Knight: How does teaching fulfill the missionary journey of your order?
Sisters: Teaching is the Charismatic intuition that our Founder received from the Holy Spirit, so our teaching is totally fulfilling our missionary journey. Through the action of sharing with others of what we have received and learned we share our own faith and love and passion for the Lord.
Dr. Knight: What is your prayer life to sustain your mission?
Sisters: Through the daily encounter with Jesus in the Holy Sacrament at the prayer time (45 minutes of daily meditation) The Holy Eucharist, through the reception of the Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and the Rosary.
Dr. Knight: The Lord has filled us with joy, what kinds of things is part of that joy?
Sisters: We believe that our Consecration to the Lord and our daily service to our brothers and sisters are a fundamental part of the joy that we have in our hearts.
Dr. Knight: What do you like best about teaching in the school?
Sisters: What we like best about teaching in school is the great relationship that we establish with the families that we serve. In addition, the possibility of sharing our time, talents, and treasure with the families of the students of the school and the families of the parishioners. We feel as they are our own family.
We are so grateful for the possibility of helping our children and youth to learn and grow in the love of Jesus and our blessed Mother of Guadalupe.
It is so wonderful to have the possibility of helping our children to reach a better future in life through the gift of education.
Dr. Knight: What do you find difficult about teaching in the school?
Sisters: The greatest difficulties that we find in the service we offer are the very complex situations that our students face at home in spite of their young age.
Dr. Knight: How can the people of Chicago assist you in your vocation?
Sisters: People of Chicago can support us in our vocation, especially with their prayers, support, and any donation they would like to make in favor of the most needed whom we serve. That donation would be used for our children in most need as the Gospel stories indicate.
Dr. Knight: How has the pandemic strengthened your love of your community?
Sisters: Through the solidarity with the Sisters, the parents, the pastor, and the priest. Our community received support from various programs, so we were able to distribute food to feed our most needed brothers and sisters throughout the entire Spring and Summer.
We had been praying unceasingly for all the needs that had been presented to us. Especially we live streamed the Rosary daily through the school Facebook page, from our Convent’s chapel. There, we invited people to join us in prayer. That sense of connection through prayers is very valuable and important to us.
Dr. Knight: How can you continue the work of your founder in the USA?
Sisters: We continue with the education of children and youth through the service we give in our school Immaculate Conception in spite of the difficulties forming the future. We continue this beautiful mission.
As our Founding Father, Jose Antonio Plancarte and Labastida once stated:
“A thousand years of life, would not suffice for all that I wish, but you will suffice, then, they will rather live as your successors”