(Traducción al español del contenido del sitio web próximamente/Spanish language translation of website content forthcoming)
This exhibit is a celebration, documentation, and one of the first acknowledgements of the Mexican American Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio) who have served in Texas in what is frequently called 'greater Mexico' - the region North of the natural waterway border that Texans call the Rio Grande, and that Mexicans call the Río Bravo del Norte. Dr. Américo Paredes, a Mexican American folklorist, is credited with the use of the term 'greater Mexico' as a tool to understand the flow of mexicanidad in the US-Mexico borderlands, and also in diaspora areas.
People and commerce in the borderlands territories have a long history of transnational and unrestricted, fluid movement and interaction, of shared language and sociocultural understanding.
We see that fluidity reflected in the Sisters’ assignments to the various Texas missions in the congregation. It was sensible to have at least one ethnic Mexican Sister in our missions that primarily served Mexican Americans, to be a bridge but also to bring an understanding of the local community. The majority of these Sisters were born in Texas, but there have also been Sisters born in Mexico, who came to Texas early in their lives and remained here.
Most importantly, they were women of faith -- and this faith allowed for them to adapt to unpredicatable and challenging circumstances. It provided the spirit, the ánimo, to accompany and support God's people, the parishioners as well as their own community of congregational Sisters, who are the Church, in the joys and events of their lives.
The exhibit includes Sisters that remained in the congregation, so does not have coverage of the Sisters who left the congregation for any reason, at any stage of vows. In addition, at times there is very little information available about particular Sisters, so that their profiles are sparse relative to others. One of the values implicit in the exhibit is that a Sister's own words are used whenever we could locate them in the archives, as an understanding of lived experience is what is seen as most desirable.
It is hoped that this exhibit will not only inform but also serve as a resource to stimulate questions for those who want a deeper understanding of Mexican American women religious in this region.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
This exhibit was created by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word Archives (San Antonio) in December 2022. All items used in the exhibit originate from the Archives. The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word holds the intellectual property rights for the original materials in the collection. Please contact the Archives (or any third party copyright holder) for permission to use materials from this exhibit.