Tuesday, January 3, 2017


María Borja Cruz
"Tan Maria'n Misen"

She's an older lady I remember well from Yoña.

I am from Sinajaña, but I went to Saint Francis School in Yoña for six years and I went to the parish church many times, since its pastors have all been Capuchins like me.

Besides that, my aunt who raised me worked for Urban Renewal and had an office in Yoña for some years. After school, I would go to her office till it was time to go home in Sinajaña and we would often go to Tan Maria's house where her sister Gloria Cruz Mesa ran a bakery. What memories of freshly baked Chamorro bread rolls! But that has to be a post on its own!

Tan Maria was a familiar face in church. In the old days, she would start walking to church at 5AM to tucha or start the public recitation of the rosary and other devotions.

Her family were deeply rooted in Yoña, living there since before the war. Her father, Santiago L.G. Cruz, was from the huge Tanaguan clan. Her mother was the former Josefa Borja. Maria was one of the older of many children, born in 1906.

For whatever reason, she was nicknamed Tan Maria'n Misen. Misen in Chamorro means an abundance of liquid, such as water, tears and milk. But so far no one seems sure about the reason for the nickname.

One theory is that the Cruz family owned a lot of land in an area of Yoña called As Misen. Thus, Tan Maria and her family may have been called the Misen family because they were the Cruzes from As Misen.

Tan Maria never married but stayed at home as the cook and housekeeper. She also raised (poksai) some nieces. Besides the home, Tan Maria could be found next at church, always dressed in a mestisa, never in modern dress.

I remember her as being a quiet, gentle lady leading prayers from her pew. Informants tell me she was indeed patient and gentle. If she was hurt or offended, she'd keep quiet about it.

She passed away in 1995. U såga gi minahgong.

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