Monday, May 7, 2018


Guadalupe Cruz Díaz of Sumay, then Santa Rita, was a devout Catholic.

Born in 1914, she lived a long life, dying in 2007 a month shy of her 93rd birthday.

She never married but was a loving sister and aunt in the family. She went to Mass daily, and lead prayers and devotions in Chamorro.

In the late 1970s, Santa Rita's pastor, Father Ferdinand Stippich, was moved to Saint Fidelis Friary in Agaña Heights where he could get the attention and help he needed in his old age. He was stationed in Santa Rita from the 1950s till the 1970s, and wanted to leave Santa Rita only in a "wooden box," as he used to say. He was so attached to the village.

Tan Guadalupe made a promesa (promise). Once a week she would be driven by a family member to the Friary and clean Father Ferdinand's room. She would sweep and dust and put a few things in order.

Father Ferdinand

When I first started living in the Friary in the early 1980s, I was surprised to see a little old lady walking down the hallway to the priest's rooms in the middle of the morning, around 9 or 10AM. I think I would see her carrying a broom and dust pan, and maybe some rags. She'd only be there for about an hour, and then I wouldn't see her anymore. Someone then told me that she was an old parishioner of Santa Rita who had made that promise to do something for Father Ferdinand.

Later, in the 1990s, when I was already a priest, I would cover Santa Rita parish, sometimes for 2 months in the summer, while the pastor went home to the mainland to visit his family. There I would see Tan Guadalupe at daily Mass and see her pray and lead prayers, too. Rest in peace, Tan Guadalupe.

Tan Guadalupe's signature on one of the many Chamorro novena books she owned

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