By: Sister Carmelina, O.C.D.

“Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down” (Simon and Garfunkel)

Through our adult years, the peaks and valleys of life become more pronounced and often we can feel ‘adrift’ and helpless much like our Mother Luisita, whose adult life spanned a period of severe political unrest in Mexico. In 1926, it escalated into religious persecution and many priests, religious, and lay persons became martyrs for the faith. Mother Luisita and our sisters continued their work, but their lives were at risk and they were dispersed to hide in private homes.

Once soldiers came to the house where they were hiding. Mother Luisita told the sisters, “Let us place ourselves in the hands of God and make an act of contrition. If they find us they will certainly kill us. Let us offer our lives. We belong to God.” Fortunately, they were not discovered but, Mother, feeling keenly the need of protecting her daughters, discerned that God was leading her to seek refuge in the United States. On June 20, 1927, the eve of her sixty-first birthday, dressed in secular clothing, Mother Luisita and two companions left their beloved homeland as persecuted refugees seeking asylum in the United States. They arrived in Los Angeles on June 24. It was the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

When the persecution had subsided somewhat in 1929, Mother returned Atotonilco to continue the work she had begun. She spent the remainder of her life in hiding, living in extreme poverty and forced to move from place to place. Her Beloved Jesus was always her faithful ‘bridge over troubled water’ and He wants to be yours as well. Though we might not experience the outward danger and violence that Mother Luisita and our sisters experienced, we certainly have struggles in life that call for greater faith. May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be our refuge and our strength!