El Salvadoran sisters teach about St. Therese
Friday, Oct. 21, 2016
IC photo/ Laura Vallejo
Sr. Maria Angela Reyes Romero and Sr. Maria Rosa Amaya Mejia, members of the Sisters of Nazareth religious order, are shown with María Cruz Gray, director of the Diocese of Salt Lake City Hispanic Ministry, and Father Jose Barrera, parochial vicar of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish, who invited the sisters to visit Utah.
MIDVALE — As part of the celebrations for Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, Father Jose Barrera Hernandez, parochial vicar of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish in Midvale, welcomed two members of the Sisters of Nazareth from El Salvador.
Sister Maria Angela Reyes Romero and Sister Maria Rosa Amaya Mejia arrived in Utah on Sept. 21 to participate in the novena honoring St. Therese.
“They are part of an order founded by Monsignor Jose Oscar Barahona Castillo, Bishop emeritus of San Vicente El Salvador,” said Father Barrera who is one of the five Salvadorian priests in the Diocese of Salt Lake City who were ordained by Bishop Barahona.
“With the support of Father Joseph Frez (pastor of St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish) we invited the sisters to celebrate the festivities of our patron saint with us,” said Fr. Barrera.
During their visit, the sisters taught the parishioners about Saint Therese’s life after each daily Mass.
“It was a beautiful experience. I was shocked to realize that some of the parishioners didn’t know anything about St. Therese,” said Sr. Maria Angela.
She also saw that the parishioners were thirsty for God.
“It was great to be able to talk to them more about the life and teachings of St. Therese,” she said.
For Sr. Maria Rosa, it was also an unforgettable experience.
“They were hungry for God. Sharing the experience with people of different nationalities was great. … All wanted to learn and get closer to God and that was just breathtaking,” said Sr. Maria Rosa.
Adding that they discovered that people have a need to get to know God better and feel his presence, the sisters said that the learning was mutual.
“This experience has reinforced our commitment of serving the people and of being there to pray with them, to listen to them,” said Sr. Maria Angela.
In addition to ministering at Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish, the sisters visited San Felipe Parish in Wendover, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Salt Lake City, Saint Andrew Parish in Riverton, and Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Orem.
On Oct. 1, they celebrated a one-day retreat with Saint Therese of the Child Jesus parishioners in which they prayed, taught more about Saint Therese and participated in the Mass.
Sr. Maria Angela wants people to remember that they need to love Jesus and his Eucharist, which “with Our Holy Mother, are the pillars of our faith. If they practice the sacraments despite life’s difficulties, and if they pray, this will be their key to feel God’s love,” said Sr. Maria Angela.
“We have to keep holding God’s hand every day of our life, look for God’s love in the sacraments,” added Sr. Maria Rosa.
The Sisters of Nazareth religious order was formed in El Salvador. Their patron saints are St. Therese of the Child Jesus and St. John the Apostle. Their charism is to pray and sacrifice for the priests and for the conversion of sinners. Their apostolate is through hospitals, schools, parishes and nursing homes.