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Franciscan Missionaries: Devoutly committed to the poor

October 15, 2015
Sister Hilda Sandoval, MFP

Catholic San Francisco is featuring one religious congregation from the archdiocese in each installment of this periodic column marking the Vatican’s Year of Consecrated Life.

In the spirit of St. Francis the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady of Peace have been devoutly committed to serving the poorest of the poor since they were founded. Humility and simplicity of lifestyle have kept these daughters of St. Francis close to the lived experience of the people they so faithfully serve within the church.

Because of few priests and missionaries and the great need for evangelization in Baja California Mexico, Msgr. Felipe Torres Hurtado, MSpS, invited Catarina de Jesus Rodriguez Lujan to found a religious congregation, the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady of Peace, the first female Franciscan religious institute, founded in Baja California in the City of Ensenada on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 20, 1941.

On March 5, 1941, the petition to found a congregation was submitted to the Holy See. The petition was confirmed on June 20 the same year.

The Papal Approval as a Religious Congregation of Diocesan Right, was given in Rome on March 25, 1954 and was confirmed on Aug. 15 of that year by Bishop Alfredo Galindo and Mendoza, first Bishop of Tijuana.

Our Mother Foundress, to ensure participation in the Franciscan Spirituality and Charism, with the approval of the Holy See adopted the Rule and Life of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. Affiliation was given on July 23, 1948, by the minister general of the Franciscan order, Fray Perantoni, OFM. The Rule of Life was approved and promulgated by Pope John Paul II on Dec. 8, 1982.

Father Alfred Boeddeker, OFM, of the Province of Santa Barbara was appointed by Father Allen, OFM, to assist Mother Catarina in formulating the first constitutions for our congregation. From that time, Father Alfred began a strong friendship with our founder Catarina de Jesus that lasted until her death.

In 1988 three of our sisters arrived in San Francisco. They lived on Pine Street in Madonna Residence, a house that was part of St. Anthony Foundation. One of our surprises when we arrived here in San Francisco was being surrounded by people of many different cultures, and hearing many languages other than English. This experience has helped us to be more open to people in our ministries. The sisters had the opportunity to attend school to learn English and had the great gift of being able to work with Father Boeddeker for several years; he was a man full of God’s love and great love for the poor.

In February 1989 our superior sent a letter requesting permission to found a Community in the Archdiocese; it was accepted by Archbishop John R. Quinn and since that time the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady of Peace have been serving in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Our community moved to the Mission District to a house rented by the Jesuit Fathers. During that time the sisters attended the nearby parishes of St. Peter, St. Anthony and St. James; this gave them the opportunity to interact with a diverse community. Our sisters worked for St. Anthony Foundation and St. Anthony School, and in St. James Parish.

Sister Eva Camberos and Sister Hilda Sandoval are currently working as pastoral associates in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish/All Hallows Chapel, St. Paul of the Shipwreck in the Bayview District of San Francisco and in St. Peter Parish, Pacifica. Our Pastoral work includes: Catechesis, confirmation training, RCIA, baptismal preparation, faith formation, counseling, liturgy, youth groups, community-building, music ministry, visiting the sick, clerical work and countless other activities. Working in the Archdioceses of San Francisco has been a blessing for our congregation and for the Sisters that has been part of this community.

We ask God for the grace to always do everything for His greater glory. We thank God for our 75th jubilee which we will celebrate in June 2016.

We ask God’s grace and your prayers for the success of our XIII Ordinary General Chapter that our community will celebrate in January 2016.


Misioneras Franciscanas de Nuestra Senora de la Paz, MFP

(Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady of Peace)

When and where founded: Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, June 20, 1941

First arrived in the Archdiocese of San Francisco: Sept. 12, 1988

Original ministry: To make salvation present by being instruments of peace, with joy and Franciscan simplicity, in unity and mercy above all human suffering.

Current ministries: Evangelization, catechesis, pastoral work

Number of sisters: 64 in congregation; two serve in archdiocese

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