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Three Sisters from Mexico arrive in Twin Falls, serving adolescent children and youth


Mothers Angélica Gutiérrez, back left, María de Lourdes Sedano, back left, and Oneida Martínez are at the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Boise. (ICR Photo/Vero Gutiérrez)


By Veronica Gutiérrez

Staff Writer


TWIN FALLS - Three religious Sisters of the Congregation of the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Conception have arrived in Twin Falls from Mexico to serve as missionaries at St. Edward the Confessor Parish for five years. They are Sisters Lourdes Sedano, Angelica Gutiérrez, and Oneida Martínez.


The Congregation of the Servants of the Immaculate Conception was founded in Mexico City on May 12, 1945. Its main charism is evangelization through educational and parish ministries. The Congregation is composed of 87 Sisters. Their house of formation is located in Tacámbaro, Michoacán. They run 18 Catholic schools in Mexico, with grades from preschool to high school.


The three Sisters came to Twin Falls through the exchange program involving the Diocese of Boise and Catholic Extension, in partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. This program allows women religious from Latin American congregations to serve among Latino immigrant populations in the United States.


These organizations are responsible for providing resources to support the Sisters as they assist in pastoral ministry at St. Edward the Confessor Parish, helping them learn the language and continue their graduate studies.


Mother María de Lourdes Sedano (Madre Lulú)

While it is common in the United States to refer to religious who have completed their formation as “Sisters,” in Mexico they are often called “Mothers” (“Madres” in Spanish).


Mother Sedano is the local superior and was born in Ario de Rosales, Michoacán, Mexico. She is the third of nine children. She grew up in a very Catholic family, and from childhood, was involved in the sacramental formation of children in her parish.


As a high school student in one of the schools of the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Conception, she felt a definite attraction to religious life. This interest began when she was ten years old, but it was not until she was 15 that she entered the community.


“Before I made this decision, I never imagined that I would become a religious, that I would be a teacher in a Catholic school or work in parish ministry, but God’s plans are great,” Mother Sedano said. “I remember being given many warnings about religious life before I entered, and when I was asked, ‘Are you willing to do all this?’ — my answer was always, ‘Yes.’”


She entered the formation house in 1989 and spent a month and a half as an aspirant, two years as a postulant, and two years as a novice. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education. She made her first vows in 1993 and has been a teacher for 17 years in various Catholic schools.


“I like my mission. I like what I do. I love my vocation. I enjoy it, and I try to do it the best I can,” Mother Sedano said.


Prayer at the beginning of the day is a priority in her community life, strengthening her work. In this new community in Twin Falls, the Sisters already have plans to form an essential ministry. Although she is a little anxious about learning a new language, she is sure that she will put all her efforts into learning and being able to offer helpful ministry to the community.


“I come here to Twin Falls with great joy to share my life with the community. I am open to listening to the people. I feel happy with this mission and ready to meet their needs and share the Word of God.


Mother Sedano, who likes to be called Madre Lulú, enjoys watching educational films, walking and dancing.


Mother Angélica Gutiérrez (Madre Angie)

Mother Gutiérrez was born in Villa Madero, Michoacán. She comes from a culturally Catholic family, but not a practicing one. She is the oldest of 13 siblings and said she never imagined she would be a religious Sister, as she wanted to remain single.


“I thought that was for people who are crazy and ugly,” she said, laughing heartily.


She started going to church on

her own when she was 16 years old. She was drawn to participate in the youth retreats. She became involved in catechesis for adults and children and began helping older adults who could not read and write to learn these skills.


When she turned 20, the restlessness for consecrated life was born.


“Within three months, I decided I wanted to be a nun and became interested in learning more about consecrated life. I thought all religious were the same; I didn’t know there were different congregations, and I thought they prayed all the time and never saw their family.”


That same year, on February 9, 1997, she entered the formation house of the Servants of the Immaculate Conception.


‘Thank God I didn’t do a lot of research because if I had known they got up at 5 a.m., I certainly wouldn’t have gone with them!” Mother Gutiérrez said, laughing.


“I have 21 years of religious life, and I have always been happy in the different communities where I have been. I think the vow of obedience does not take away my freedom because we live a better freedom according to what God wants. Fulfilling my vows has made me happy.”


Mother Gutiérrez has a bachelor’s degree and has worked for ten years with young people in parish ministry, and she loves community life.


“I don’t like to be alone, and knowing I’m always with someone makes me happy,” she added. “Here in Idaho, I want to do a lot of good for people, to make my life useful to them.”


As for her favorite hobbies, she likes to take walks with company, talk, eat ice cream and enjoy her breaks. She prefers to be called Madre Angie.


Mother Oneida Martínez (Madre One, pronouned “Oh-nay”)

Mother Martínez was 17 when she entered the Congregation of the Servants of the Immaculate Conception. She was born in Nocupetaro, Michoacán and has four brothers and sisters.


“I come from a Catholic family, but we were not very religious, so my call to consecrated life was a little strange,” said Mother Martínez. “I was very spoiled being the only daughter at home, and I did not participate in church activities. But one day, I decided to attend a vocational retreat organized by the Servants of the Immaculate Conception in my city.


At the retreat, a question was asked that echoed in the ears of Mother Martínez, who was only 17 years old: “What do you want from yourself?”


Mother Martínez explained, “When I returned home later that day, I spent the whole evening with that question going round and round in my head. I realized I needed to spend some time with the nuns in order to answer that question. When I told my parents, they didn’t believe me, until they saw me packing my suitcase.”


My father was sure that on the third day, I would want to come home, and the truth is, I did; on the third day, I wanted to go back home. I decided to stay with the nuns just a few more days because I still had not finished answering the question. I knew that I would not get the answer if I returned home. I called my parents and told them I would stay for eight more days.


Mother Martinez says that her father was right again when, after receiving the call from his daughter, he told his wife, “She is not from here anymore.” He knew she had already chosen a path: Consecrated life.


When the eight days of her vocational experience were over, the young Oneida no longer wanted to return home and requested permission to enter the congregation.

“I wanted to discover what God wanted from me, and I entered as an aspirant on May 13, 2012. I completed my postulancy and two years of novitiate, and on August 17, 2013, I made my temporary vows. On August 19, 2019, I made my perpetual vows.”


Mother Martínez has a degree in preschool education. She has worked in missions with children and the sick as a religion teacher in primary and secondary schools and as an assistant in a boarding school for young university students with limited resources.

She has also ministered in parishes and communities with high crime rates.


“Listening to people enduring these problems prevents them from feeling alone, and it is good for them to know that someone is with them,” said Mother Martínez.

When she was very young, Mother Martinez always wanted to have a sister, and God has blessed her with many sisters in her congregation.


“Having someone close to me as a sister is the most gratifying thing I have ever experienced,” she said.


“In my free time, I always look for something to do, like handicrafts, knitting, reading and getting to know new places.” Mother Oneida Martínez likes to be called Mother One, pronounced “Oh-nay.”


Regarding their work with young people, the three Sisters agreed that sometimes it is difficult to understand them, but they also have lessons for adults. The most important thing is to give them confidence, to listen to them and get to know their reality without judging or isolating them.


Mother Superior Antonia Saucedo, the head of the order, expressed her gratitude to all the people of Idaho for their welcome of the three Sisters who will serve in Idaho.

The Sisters will support Father Julio Vicente, pastor of St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Twin Falls, and other parishes in the deanery.


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Diocesan Pastoral Center

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