My name is Maricruz Trigueros Manzo and I am a religious of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I was very happy to make my final profession seven months ago in Rome, on the 1st of February, along with 12 others in my Probation .
I was born 36 years ago in México City, and am very used to living in a big city. I also like living in the countryside, most likely because my family on my mother’s side came from a small village – although I have never been there. So, how did I come to know the Society of the Sacred Heart? That is an interesting story, and one I would like to share with you.
First and foremost, I recognise that religious formation was very important in my family, particularly as taught to us by my maternal grandmother who lived with us (my parents and my older brother) since I was a little girl. Also, I went to a Catholic school run by the Marist Fathers, and I began to be involved in youth pastoral groups from the age of 16. I really enjoyed going on Missions to rural communities that were fairly near the city. Whenever I went there, in spite of it being a very different context to the one I was used to, I found myself at home, especially sharing with the simple people of the area who know how to live with the bare minimum, trusting fully in the providence of God,
Later, I studied Psychology in a Jesuit University. I was always interested in serving others. I focussed on the social/community field but I was more connected to what I was passionate about, working with rural groups and groups vulnerable in one way or another. I finished my studies but I continued my commitment to mission work and youth groups, in a choir, with a retreat team and the Marist vocations Ministry work.
I began to work in a rehabilitation centre for young people with addictions, at that time under the management of the Marist Fathers, and also in a school. Even so, my work environment didn’t satisfy my heart as it had done when I was involved in pastoral activities with young people, sharing the experience of God Incarnate in our lives… After a year I decided to take a break, as I felt I needed to give myself time to be able to respond to the questions burning inside me. A good friend recommended that I try the Jesuit Volunteers. So, I signed up without a second thought, because the Ignatian volunteering proposal really attracted me.
That was where my life took a definitive turn: I was invited to collaborate for a year in a Popular Education programme run by RSCJ, in a peasant region in the north of the country. This was my first contact with the Society. Through that experience I came to discover my vocation to the religious life. After a year of vocational accompaniment, and back in the city, I was able to discern the call clearly. During that time I was a volunteer in a project run by a Foundation for children who lived on the city’s streets, an experience that was very meaningful for me. When the organisation began to talk about a formal job, my discernment was very important in my deciding to opt for religious life.
I entered as a candidate on 11th September, 2004, in a community in the south of the country with an indigenous population. After 11 years, here I am, confirming every day that this is my place, not only for my own growth and development, but to give life to our Mission of "discovering and making known the love of the Heart of Jesus," and in this way collaborating with others to discover together the fullness of our common humanity.
I have enjoyed each place, each community and ministry that I have had the opportunity to be in. I have journeyed from North to South, to the centre of the country, living on the outskirts of cities as well as in the countryside. They have all been enriching experiences for my personal growth and as an rscj. I truly value what I have learned in each situation, that have given me precious memories to hold in my heart.
Of all the different places, I want to share about one that has been particularly meaningful for me. It was after the Noviceship, when I made my First Vows, that I was sent to a community where, along with two other sisters I was involved in a Community Leadership Project for two years. We visited about twenty rural communities on a rotating basis in the Potosino highlands, with the aim of promoting organisational processes that would improve their living conditions. For me, this daily life Project meant that I was able to make a reality a long held dream when I wanted to be involved for a longer time with simple people, not just for a week or a few days. I revelled in being able to share with the families, especially when we lived with them in their homes and they welcomed us with open arms and we shared their everyday lives. The feastdays were also encounters of deep gratitude to the God of Life.
If we speak of dreams come true, the past year was exactly such a privilege for me, when like Saint Rose Philippine, I was consumed with the idea of being a missionary in far off lands. As part of my International experience prior to my probation, I was in Congo for six months. It was indeed a joy to come to know my sisters in Africa! I was delighted to share with them, to get to know their situation and to recognise the charism inherited from Saint Madeleine Sophie present and inculturated in the Congolese style.
After my final profession, in dialogue with the Provincial of Mexico, I came to the city of Guadalajara in March of this year to work in a community education centre and begin a new community with three other sisters. After some refurbishment, a few weeks ago we officially began to live as the community of “Los Naranjos”. In addition, I am presently involved in the managementof the education centre and I have begun a Master’s in Educational Management.
I am happy in and grateful for this new adventure; trusting that it will be a time of learning, of growth as well as a good opportunity to “offer the gift received” (the name given to our probation by our Superior General Kathleen Conan rscj).