Sister María Luisa Güereña, CSC
(Sister María Dominga)
September 13, 1928 – July 22, 2020
Word has been received of the death of Sister María Luisa Güereña, CSC, who died at 1:06 a.m. PDT, on July 22, 2020, in Mary Health of the Sick skilled nursing facility, Newbury Park, California. Sister María Luisa entered the Congregation from Los Angeles, California, on June 16, 1946. Her initial profession of vows took place on February 2, 1949.
Amada María Luisa Güereña was born on September 13, 1928, in Los Angeles, California, of parents who had migrated from Mexico. She was the second oldest and first daughter of José María Güereña, a blacksmith, and Magdalena Gómez, a homemaker. As the first girl she must have been “The Beloved,” as her first name in Spanish implies. Her older brother José, younger brother Ignacio, and sister Mercedes (Mercy) all preceded her in death. Surviving siblings are Carmen, Maggie, Vicénte, María Ester and Luís, all of California.
After graduating in 1946 from Catholic Girls’ High School, Los Angeles, where she was called “Mary Louise,” she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross from St. Cecilia’s Parish, Los Angeles. At the end of her postulancy she received the habit and the name Sister María Dominga. Sister later wrote that her religious vocation came first from “our home, which was deeply Mexican in its religiosity and in its customs.” Throughout her life she sought to claim an authentic identity and spirituality rooted in her Mexican values and those of the Congregation, which was culturally Euro-American in 1946. After the Second Vatican Council, Sister returned to her baptismal name in the late 1960s.
Sister María made her initial profession of vows in February 1949. She later earned a Bachelor of Education from the College of Saint Mary of the Wasatch, Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1959. Her schooling prepared her for 28 years as an educator—from the care of orphans at St. Ann Orphanage in Salt Lake City to training teachers in Telêmaco Borba, Brazil.
Over a lifetime, Sister María Luisa spent 59 years in full-time ministries of education and pastoral care, in schools, hospitals, and parishes in California, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Texas, Indiana, and Brazil. After many years serving the Church and the Congregation so generously, Sister retired from active ministry in 2008 to live at Saint Catherine by the Sea Convent, Ventura, California, where she served in a ministry of prayer while volunteering in chaplaincy in local hospitals, particularly in neonatal intensive care units, utilizing both her experience and her bilingual skills. As an artist, she had once worked at Franciscan Communications in filmmaking in Los Angeles. In Ventura, she enjoyed making pottery, painting watercolors, and contemplating the garden she tended from the patio outside her bedroom.
Sister María Luisa wrote in a reflection years ago that transitions were difficult and challenging for her, but they opened new vistas and provided “an ongoing pilgrimage of discovery.” After a long illness, Sister María Luisa completed her pilgrimage of discovery. She died at Mary Health of the Sick, a skilled nursing facility in Newbury Park, California, on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, feast of St. Mary Magdalen, which also was the birthday of Sister’s mother, Magdalena.
We invite you to donate to the Ministry with the Poor Fund in Sister’s name.–Written by Sister M. Joseph Cecile (Voelker), CSC