Thursday, April 16, 2020
Church of Our Lady of Loretto
Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana
Prayers 9 a.m.
Immediately followed by the Rite of Committal with Final Commendation, Our Lady of Peace Cemetery
A memorial Mass will be scheduled when possible.
Sister M. Jacinta (Millan), CSC
(María Socorro Millán)
May 13, 1929 – April 15, 2020
Word has been received of the death of Sister M. Jacinta (Millan), CSC, who died at 5:15 a.m. on April 15, 2020, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana. Sister Jacinta entered the Congregation from Ventura, California, on July 27, 1947. Her initial profession of vows took place on February 2, 1950. Please join us in prayer for Sister as we renew our faith in the resurrected Jesus and strengthen our hope that all the departed will be raised to eternal life.
Sister Jacinta was gifted by God with a bicultural, bilingual upbringing, which gave direction to her life of ministry as a Sister of the Holy Cross. Her parents, Josefa Pulido and José Millán, were immigrants from Mexico who settled in Ventura, California. She was born in 1929 in Ventura and baptized in honor of Mary of Perpetual Help, María Socorro, the fourth of five children. The family of three girls and two boys was closely knit, deeply Catholic, and very aware of their Mexican cultural heritage. As a child, María had brief experiences living in migrant camps during the walnut-picking season, exposing her to the inequalities suffered by the poor. When she started at Holy Cross School at Mission San Buenaventura, she became known as Mary, while continuing to speak Spanish at home. The Sisters of the Holy Cross later provided Mary a scholarship to attend the Academy of Saint Catherine in Ventura. She recalled her decision to become a Sister of the Holy Cross saying, “The Lord seemed to direct me to a special inward journey during my junior year retreat. He helped me to bring together several concepts: the happiness and joy of the sisters in community, their joy in their ministry of love and care, and their prayer life which seemed to radiate through their selflessness and humanness.” She entered the Congregation in 1947 and, upon reception of the holy habit in 1948, received her religious name in honor of one of the children to whom Our Lady of Fatima appeared. Sister Jacinta made first profession of vows in 1950.
While Sister Jacinta was in the novitiate, she developed a strong desire to serve the poor in the Congregation’s new mission in Brazil. She considered her first 10 years of teaching in the United States, which included inner-city schools, as a preparation for this work, but a diagnosis of cancer eliminated an assignment to the missions abroad. Her symptoms gradually disappeared, and 15 years of advances in medicine determined an original misdiagnosis. Sister was fully active as both an elementary and secondary teacher from 1950-1974 in Catholic schools staffed by Sisters of the Holy Cross in Sacramento, Fresno, Los Angeles, Santa Ana and Mountain View, California.
In 1960 she earned a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s College of the Wasatch, Salt Lake City, Utah, and in 1965 a master’s degree from Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. Subsequent summer activities included missionary experiences in Guatemala and Brazil and a 30-day retreat in Mexico. Sister was also very involved in northern California with Cursillo retreats, the United Farmworkers, and peace movements. The Alviso Project brought afterschool sports, cooking and sewing classes, and a tutoring program to the poverty-stricken community of Alviso, near Mountain View.
Hispanic and home mission work became full-time ministry for Sister Jacinta in 1974, when she helped found Centro Pastoral which later developed into the Diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry of San José, California. She spent nine years in missionary service in Santa Clara County helping to establish this office while working with Spanish-speaking migrants. In addition, she was a founding member of the Holy Cross Hispanic Ministry Committee made up of Holy Cross priests, brothers, and sisters. This committee provided a support group and a network for those interested in Hispanic ministries.
From 1984 Sister Jacinta ministered with immigrant Spanish-speaking communities in Utah in Richfield and Salt Lake City, the latter at Holy Cross Ministries of Utah from 1999 to 2009. She mentored seminarians at Assumption Seminary for the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas, from 1989 to 1993. From there she worked in parishes in Monterrey and Guadalupe, Nuevo León, Mexico.
In 2009 Sister Jacinta retired to Saint Catherine by the Sea Convent, located in her birthplace, Ventura, California, until August 2016. When her health declined, she moved to Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana, where she died the morning of April 15, 2020, the Wednesday of Easter Week. Sister Jacinta was known for her welcoming attitude toward all and her closeness to her large extended family. Those who predeceased her now welcome her con abrazos, along with Sister M. Guadalupe (Cardenas), CSC, a revered distant cousin who died in 2008. We celebrate with Sister Jacinta her Easter joy!
We invite you to donate to the Ministry With the Poor Fund in Sister’s name.—Written by Sister Grace Shonk, CSC