Sister Mary Juanita of Our Lady of Guadalupe
A Poor Clare nun of the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Roswell, Sister Mary Juanita was born in San Antonio, Texas, on June 5, 1942. She was named Guadalupe after her father, Guadalupe Almanza; he worked as a plumber; her mother, Angelita, was a homemaker.
After graduating from high school, she studied nursing and became a Licensed Vocational Nurse. Then she began to think of religious life. When she read A Right to be Merry, a book about the beginnings of the Roswell Poor Clare Monastery, she knew this was the life she had been seeking. She entered the monastery in January of 1964. She had asked to serve as an extern sister, but later asked Mother Abbess to allow her to become a cloistered nun. She made her solemn vows as a cloistered Poor Clare nun on April 23, 1973.
Sister Juanita served her community in many ways during her years in the monastery, from faithfully making the morning coffee to helping cook the dinners. She loved to crochet hats and scarves for those in need, and probably made enough to keep most of the residents of Roswell warm during the winter! She also had various sewing charges, assisted with craftworks, and helped keep the monastery clean and bright by faithfully sweeping her assigned areas even as her infirmities made this more difficult.
Sister Juanita loved to read, and she read solid works of spirituality. She would write out many quotations in her numerous little notebooks and would often share an inspiring thought with the sisters at recreation. She had a special love of astronomy and was also very interested in the geography of New Mexico and American history.
When she became ill, she patiently bore the sufferings that this brought her, along with the other infirmities of her advancing age. She was uncomplaining, and continued to assist with general work projects and the daily community chores as she could. She was faithfully present at her daily adoration hour and at all other community exercises.
Her illness grew more serious in 2023, and she underwent many treatments for several months. She was deeply grateful for the many friends who took their time to drive her to her appointments and treatments over the past months, along with the doctors and nurses who worked with such skill and love to help her through her illness. The community is deeply grateful to Dr. Khorsand and the oncology staff at Kymera, who cared for Sister Juanita so devotedly and skillfully.
Sister Juanita died on the afternoon of September 22, 2023 at around 4:45 PM. The entire community was around her at prayer as she surrendered her soul to the Lord whom she loved. She was 81 years of age.
A viewing and rosary will take place on Monday, September 25, 2023, at the chapel of the Roswell Poor Clare Monastery from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated by the community’s chaplain, Father Larry Bernard, O.F.M., at 8:00 a.m. The pallbearers will be her beloved brother, Manuel Garza, Mr. John Thomas, Mr. Ernie Ortega, Mr. Peter Kelly, Mr. Adam Hernandez and Dr. Taylor Buessing. Honorary pallbearers will be Dr. Masoud Khorsand-Sahbaie, Dr. Elia Charbel Abboud, Dr. Philip Haney, Mr. Joseph Kelly and Mr. Andrew Ortega.