Cecilia Sánchez Moreno

(1914-2006)

Neighborhood and education activist

Becoming the Beloved Community

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Poder del Pueblo

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Education

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Beatrice Moreno, daughter of Cecilia Sánchez Moreno, shares the following remembrance about her mother:


A devout Catholic, Mom’s connection to St. Agnes parish at 804 Ruiz Street began in 1942 after she married my father, Gonsalo Moreno, and moved to his neighborhood in the Westside of San Antonio — our new home was now at 113 San Martin Street in the Gardendale neighborhood. My Mom's deep faith sustained her throughout her entire life. Whenever uncertainty arose, she always maintained a positive attitude saying “God has a plan, we’ll be fine.” In our family, regular attendance at the church’s weekly Sunday Mass was at the top of what she considered being a responsible church member; but more importantly, her parental duty. As I said... her faith was a given. She led by example. She taught us our basic prayers before we even went to school! We were all five children baptized as infants; made our first Communions and even our Confirmations before becoming adults. Even though not attending Catholic school except for their first year, all the children attended Catechism classes once a week on Wednesdays after school.


Her direct involvement with St. Agnes’ elementary school program began in September 1951, when I was enrolled in first grade. As a member of the parish, she was always ready to help out at the annual Festival in various roles. The Guadalupana’s annual fundraiser during the “Jamaica” was their Mexican plate sale. Mom would always provide enough Mexican rice for those plates. Her cooking sometimes totaled the contents of several large roasters of Mexican rice. Once all was ready to transport, my Dad would then load up the car with her delicious contributions. Arriving there, Mom would join the others already there to make up an assembly line to serve the individual plates.


Mom was an active champion of the underserved. Her “outside the home” commitment was family first, then Church by practicing a very strong faith, and then actively bettering our Community. My siblings and I also led very active extracurricular lives while in school and attended catechism classes once a week after school. I was in the school’s choir, CYO (volleyball and softball), Brownies and Girl Scouts.


One of the neighbors who lived on San Martin did not speak English. The widow had five children. She took in ironing clothes, while her eldest son worked at a small auto repair shop. Not really a picture of grand success; but they had a roof over their heads and clean clothes for the children to go to school.... At the time, the government provided various dried goods, butter and cheese on a monthly basis to assist families to subsidize their groceries. One day my Mom saw the kids playing in their backyard. She thought they were throwing wheat flour from open paper sacks at each other. Mom went over to talk to her neighbor. The lady explained that most of the dry goods products the government provided were useless. There were no directions as to how to prepare and use these foods. 

"She pretty much knew our neighbors either through her connections at both of our schools, at church, and from those who shopped at the various Mom and Pop grocery stores, the two family owned drug stores, etc. Sometimes, she just called the city department heads letting them know what was happening; and that she would appreciate if someone would come by to see her so that the problem would get resolved as soon as possible. This was all while we lived on the Westside."

— Beatrice Moreno, daughter of Cecilia Sánchez Moreno

 

"Mom would walk with petitions to repave some of the streets, rebuild sturdier bridges over the creeks that bordered our two schools, allowing children safer passage back and forth while attending school. Many of the children had to walk through mud and stagnant water left over from flooding caused by seasonal rainfalls when the wooden bridges were swept away by the strong currents."

— Beatrice Moreno, daughter of Cecilia Sánchez Moreno