Armed with her deep Catholic faith and her mother’s wise proverbs, Sara Hernandez believes that every challenge is an opportunity to grow closer to God.
— Originally from Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico, she and her husband Francisco moved to Milwaukee 25 years ago.
— They are the parents of two sons and two daughters.
— A St. Hyacinth parishioner, she is the former liturgical coordinator for the parish. She is active in lay ecclesial groups and is currently helping to organize fundraising efforts for a new church roof.
— She and Francisco are deeply involved in volunteering at Hispanic Ministry events throughout the archdiocese.
CATHOLIC HERALD STAFF
You’re from a large family where faith is very important, aren’t you?
Yes, and it’s because of my mother, who had such strong faith. Even though she lost several children before they were born, we always felt that God was with us during those times. There were a lot of us and we lived in a difficult economic time, but my mom always believed God would provide. There were phrases that she used to share with us, proverbs that showed us her belief in God.
Can you share some of those with us?
Her little proverbs were always referring to God being a part of our decision-making — like, “In all your plans, talk to God in everything,” and “May God multiply your blessings and your money.”
Did your mom come with you to Milwaukee when you and Francisco moved?
No, my mom and my entire family stayed back home. Being here without them, there were some very difficult moments. I was pregnant with my first child. In those times, I relied more than ever on prayer. It brought me closer to the Church and to my parish, and my faith grew as a result. I believe that when there are challenges, your faith can grow more.
What is an important lesson you have learned in life?
After I had been here in the United States for a few years, one of my brothers, Angel, came to live with us. He was only about 15, and he lived with us until he passed away in 1999. My faith helped me get through that, too — it taught me to value life even more. His death also taught me to be a lot more expressive with my family and others. Because there were so many of us when we were kids, we didn’t always tell each other we loved each other. And the boys always got special treatment because there were fewer girls. I loved him so much, and when he died, I realized I hadn’t told him that much.
Do you have any special devotions to saints?
I have a great devotion to the Virgin Mary. Every day we pray the Hail Mary, my daughter and I. The Virgin Mary understands the feelings that women have — she’s the one who understands us the most. I also love St. Anthony and St. Jude.
Who is someone in your life you look up to?
My mom. She died four years ago, but she was always a courageous woman. She always trusted in the providence of God. I also admire my friend Grace, a 90-year-old woman at my parish, because she’s very humble and she shows deep faith. I see her at daily Mass; she’s also very devoted to the Virgin and she’s always willing to help other people.
You and Francisco are very involved in volunteering with the Archdiocesan Hispanic Ministry, and you have been a part of the Good Friday Via Crucis procession for many years. Why is that ministry important to you?
I believe that God gives all of us talents and gifts, and there is a time in your life that you can really put them to work in service. That time will come when maybe you won’t be able to do it as much, and while I’m able to be of service, then very readily, I want to do it.
Do you and your children enjoy doing things together as a family?
Yes. We’re all very close, and now that it’s winter we are inside more. We play cards a lot.
What is your favorite place to pray?
In the car, or in the kitchen. I also love Eucharistic Adoration.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
I haven’t worked outside the home before now, because I didn’t have a work permit, but now I have one — so I’m thinking about all my options and I’m in a time of discernment regarding my life. I want to work, but I don’t want to stop all the volunteering I do, especially with the elderly — they have so much wisdom.