Then and now

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Of all the Texas Tropical Trail Region outings, Kingsville certainly made a long-lasting impression, mind, heart, and soul when we visited the Missionary Daughters’ Solemn Place of Prayer and learned about Venerable Julia Navarrete, known also as Julia of the Thorns of the Sacred Heart, though more lovingly regarded as “Mother Julia.”

Then: December 21, 2010

Sister Maxie, spokesperson for the Missionary Daughters of the Most Pure Virgin Mary (MDPVM) congregation, was all smiles with stories to tell and a dream to share.

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With the assistance of community activists like Maggie Salinas, Sister Maxie and the Missionary Daughters hoped to restore the original school house where their foundress, Mother Julia, generously invested her gifts and talents, time and love to spiritually nurture South Texas residents in our Catholic faith.

We were inspired!

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Growing curiosity

As years passed, my need to know grew stronger and stronger.  How is the school house restoration progressing?  Did they get the funding they so desperately sought?  Who’s helping them?  So many questions and no one to ask.

Again and again, I kept telling Steven, “I want to go back.  I have to see how they’re doing.”  But, mostly, I wanted to hear more stories from Sister Maxie.

Then, late October 2015, an article in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times really piqued my curiosity.  Mother Julia’s museum was to open to the public in November!

Now: April 2, 2016

Of course, life is funny.  Time passes.  We forget.  We don’t have time.  Then, just like that, everything falls into place just because.

Driving north from Brownsville on Highway 77, we took an unexpected detour, drove up and down streets in search of the restaurant where we’d eaten more than five years ago, and settled on a new place instead for an early afternoon lunch.

“Do you think we can we look for the Missionary Daughters’ Solemn Place of Prayer afterwards?” I asked even before we got off the vehicle.

“Yes.”

And, wouldn’t you know it?  By the time we got back in the vehicle, I’d forgotten.

But Steven hadn’t! 

So off we went with great anticipation.  And, oh, my! 

The Sisters’ dream had indeed come true!

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Prayer from the Friars of the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph (2016: 1061)

Grant us, Lord God, a vision of your world as your love would have it: A world where the weak are protected and none go hungry or poor, a world where the riches of creation are shared and everyone can enjoy them, a world where different races and cultures live in harmony and mutual respect, a world where peace is built with justice and justice is guided by love.  Give us the inspiration and courage to build it through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

April 3, 2016

Act in such a way that all those who come in contact with you will go away joyful.  Sow happiness about you because you have received much from God; give, then, generously to others.  They should take leave of you with their hearts filled with joy, even if they have no more than touched the hem of your garment (St. Maria Faustina Kowalska).

April 4, 2016

Then, overcome by joy, I cried, “Jesus, my love.  At last I have found my vocation.  My vocation is love.  In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love; and then I will be all things” (St. Thérèse de Lisieux).

April 5, 2016

If you truly want to help the soul of your neighbor, you should approach God first with all your heart.  Ask him simply to fill you with charity, the greatest of all virtues; with it you can accomplish what you desire (St. Vincent Ferrer).

April 9, 2016

“If we wish to make any progress in the service of God, we must begin every day of our life with new ardor” (St. Charles Borromeo).

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Mother Julia’s chapel & museum – 408 East Richard Avenue – Kingsville, TX

Links of interest…  Capia de la Madre Julia nuevo lugar para oración (p. 6)…  Community celebrates Mother Julia jubilee…  In memoriam: Sister María Del Carmen Villalpando (obituary)…  Maggie Salinas: For Kingsville woman, helping others “is a gift we should all share” / TX story project…  Missionary Daughters (MDPVM)… Mother Julia’s Good Samaritan Shop (open 1st & 2nd Saturday)…  Museum to honor Kingsville’s Mother Julia (10.26.15)…  Praying to the saints:   Christian practice / gracious advocates / heavenly intercessors / intercessory prayer / litanies / novenas (221) / why pray to the saints…  Sainthood: 87 new causes for sainthood / becoming a saint (five stepshow – models – process – rules – what is – what makes) / John Paul’s beatification…  Sister Maria Elena Casillas (more)…  Sister Maxima Cruz: A life of devotion (Sister Maxi; pp. 22-24)…  South Texas Catholic…  St. Martin of Tours Parish: 100 years as a faith community / diocese parish finder / facebook…  TX Tropical Trail Region (more; Tropical Traveler, p. 1)…  Venerable Julia Navarrete: about (facebook – YouTube) / celebrating 100th anniversary /  “Christmas miracle” planned / decrees of the congregation for sainthood causes / gardener’s miracle / Julia of the Thorns of the Sacred Heart / quote / Tejano Talks No. 13

WP posts…  Holy relics…  Honoring Joselito…  Multicultural Mass…  Sacred Heart Church…  Saturday evening Mass…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Unexpected detours…  Vattmann church…  Vattmann Thanksgiving…  Venerable Julia Navarrete…  Venerable Margaret

Venerable Julia Navarrete

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December 21, 2010, the Texas Tropical Trail Region (TTTR) hosted its monthly meeting in Kingsville— for me, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity— that we wouldn’t have missed for anything, not even the high fever I’d been running since the night before.

Invitation

A real saint from South Texas?

After lunch we will visit the only convent in Kingsville/Kleberg County, the Convent of the Missionary Daughters of the Most Pure Virgin Mary, founded in 1916 by the late Mother Julia Navarrete Guerrero.

Mother Julia was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 1881, and joined the church at 19.  She left her home at the height of the Mexican Revolution when, in some areas, it was forbidden to celebrate Mass.  At the request of her home diocese, she came to Texas and started her ministry in a one-room house on Richard Avenue that was purchased from King Ranch founder, Richard King.

Her mission was to educate the children and minister to the adults.  Mother Julia died in 1974 at the age of 93.

In 2004, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Mother Julia venerable, the second of four steps on the way to sainthood.  She was nominated for the honor by her holy order, which is based in Mexico, though much of her work was in Kingsville (Nancy Deviney, TTTR Kingsville Partner Event, December 2010).

A worthwhile cause

TTTR122110-11During lunch guest speaker Maggie Salinas, charter member of the Kleberg County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of Kingsville’s Historical Development Board, shared the story behind her lifelong commitment to help the Missionary Daughters of the Most Pure Virgin Mary (MDPVM) preserve the convent founded by the Venerable Mother Julia Navarrete.

So, after lunch, we drove to 408 East Richard Avenue where Sister Maxie shared the history of her religious order and invited us into the newly renovated chapel.

The rest of the story

The best part of the tour for Steven and me was when everyone else departed for the presentation at the King Ranch Museum, and we had Sister Maxie all to ourselves.

I told Sister that, from the time we’d read about the day’s upcoming events, our anticipation had crescendoed at the prospect of not only seeing the chapel, but also learning all we could about a saint in waiting in our own South Texas community.

Sister Maxie spoke glowingly and compassionately about Mother Julia’s numerous accomplishments— founding their Order and establishing more than forty-five convents in Mexico and the United States— and the Venerable Mother’s long, terrible illness, respectively.

Sister Maxie nursed Mother Julia through the ordeal and was greatly inspired by the Venerable Mother’s spirituality and resilience.  The doctors would prescribe all the wrong treatments, seriously compounding her physical suffering; but Mother Julia never complained.  Instead, she bore the pain with patience and resolve until her death.

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Mother Julia’s legacy

TTTR122110-118The number of nuns at the old convent has dwindled due to age and illness, so Sister Maxie lovingly takes care of all of them as she did Mother Julia.  She also juggles a busy schedule that includes driving the Sisters to their doctors’ appointments and managing countless obligations that encompass both the restoration of the original schoolhouse that has been moved across from the chapel and the preservation of the old convent.

Thanks to community supporters like Maggie who have embraced Mother Julia’s legacy, the Missionary Daughters of the Most Pure Virgin Mary can dedicate themselves to more divine aspirations— “the treasure of [Mother Julia’s] spirituality and a profound devotion to the Holy Spirit, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to the most Pure Virgin Mary” (MDPVM, 1983)— while others labor to prepare for the big day ahead.

Saint-in-waiting

Of course, canonization is a lengthy process which can take decades; so everyone familiar with Mother Julia is spreading the word.  If you pray for her intercession, as did the gardener and his wife on behalf of their daughter, please report favors granted to the Missionary Daughters.  (Refer to the prayer card above.)

Treasured relic

In the meantime, Sister Maxie continues to keep Mother Julia close to her heart through a very personal relic.  Sister’s crucifix has a bloodstain from the time that Mother Julia was gravely ill.

Momentous blessing

Being so in awe of holy relics, I felt specially privileged to have been invited to touch— and will always remember— that very personal connection to Mother Julia.  But I was beyond moved to have been encouraged to kiss the crucifix and share in the love of Mother Julia’s congregation.

And I’m doing my part to share the story so that the Venerable Julia Navarrete becomes a saint in my lifetime.

Think of it.  A saint from our culture, our time, our very own South Texas community.

Simply amazing.

         

         

                

         

         

         

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Links of interest…  Capia de la Madre Julia nuevo lugar para oración (p. 6)…  Community celebrates Mother Julia jubilee…  In memoriam: Sister María Del Carmen Villalpando (obituary)…  Maggie Salinas: For Kingsville woman, helping others “is a gift we should all share” / TX story project…  Missionary Daughters (MDPVM)…  Mother Julia’s Good Samaritan Shop (open 1st & 2nd Saturday)…  Museum to honor Kingsville’s Mother Julia (10.26.15)…  Praying to the saints:   Christian practice / gracious advocates / heavenly intercessors / intercessory prayer / litanies / novenas (221) / why pray to the saints…  Sainthood: 87 new causes for sainthood / becoming a saint (five stepshow – models – process – rules – what is – what makes) / John Paul’s beatification…  Sister Maria Elena Casillas (more)…  Sister Maxima Cruz: A life of devotion (Sister Maxi; pp. 22-24)…  South Texas Catholic…  St. Martin of Tours Parish: 100 years as a faith community / diocese parish finder / facebook…  TX Tropical Trail Region (more; Tropical Traveler, p. 1)…  Venerable Julia Navarrete: about (facebook – YouTube) / celebrating 100th anniversary /  “Christmas miracle” planned / decrees of the congregation for sainthood causes / gardener’s miracle / Julia of the Thorns of the Sacred Heart / quoteTejano Talks No. 13

WP posts…  Holy relics…  Honoring Joselito…  Multicultural Mass…  Sacred Heart Church…  Saturday evening Mass…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  Then and now…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Unexpected detours…  Vattmann church…  Vattmann Thanksgiving…  Venerable Margaret