The 2022 Southern California Alumnae & Friends Annual Reunion
By Pat Diaz (OLLHS ’74), Presentation Associate
The day was overcast as guests arrived at Luminarias Restaurant in Monterey Park, California on Sunday, February 19, 2022 for the 15th annual All Southern California Alumnae and Friends Luncheon in support of the Sisters of the Presentation. By the time all 60 guests were greeted and seated by Luncheon Coordinators, Presentation Associates Rosalie Cabrera and Gerry Fagoaga, the sun shined brightly through the banquet room’s large vista windows.
The last reunion was in February 2020, and it was uncertain if we would even be gathering again this year. But with the virus rates being lower the event was held, much to everyone’s joy. There was a lot of catching up and picture taking going on. The room was full of laughter, hugs, and merriment as friends saw each other once again after the two-year absence – reconnecting in person is not the same as over Zoom or on the phone! Many classmates from Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School, who then went on to Our Lady of Loretto High School (OLLHS) were present and exchanged information on when their respective class reunions would be coming up.
Rosalie (OLLHS ’56) called everyone to their seats and welcomed the guests, sharing how good it was to see everyone once again. For this writer, it was reminiscent of homeroom, when she was trying to get us to “settle down girls.” Gerry (OLLHS ’56) gave a beautiful invocation which asked for blessings on those present and for the hands that prepared our meal. And what a wonderful buffet it was – as always Luminarias provided delicious choices of lunch entrees, salads, and side dishes (seconds were highly encouraged and enjoyed) with a scrumptious New York style cheesecake for dessert.
Before it was served, Gerry explained what a Presentation Associate is and the process for becoming one. She welcomed all to pick up the information pamphlet at the check-in table, and encouraged anyone who was interested, to speak with her or any other Associate if they had further questions. Three Southern Cal Associates (all OLLHS ’74) Pat Diaz, Yolanda Montano Santillan, and Kathey Valenzuela Sias, spoke on why they became Associates and their experience being such. Each highlighted what path of the ministry they volunteer in and how it has enriched their lives serving in Nano Nagle’s charism.
Then it was time for sharing and announcements. A first time attendee, Camille (Chacon) Venegas spoke on reconnecting with her Lourdes Elementary School teacher, Sister Teresa Gormally, and what an impact she made on her life, and encouraged all to visit the Motherhouse and say hello whenever they could. Chris Valero (OLLHS ’65) invited everyone to see a play she was appearing in and guaranteed everyone would have plenty of laughs.
We were happy Sister Katherine Jones was in attendance with her bright smile. Many were glad to greet her and chit chat a bit.
We proceeded with the door prizes raffle – wine, perfume, gift cards, and home décor were but a few of the lovely gifts donated by the Loretto Friends of the Presentation Sisters Committee. It was then time to raffle the beautiful flowering plant centerpieces – and what a commotion it was! Anyone walking into the room would have seen a mini riot, as people were overturning their chairs searching for a colored paper, and winners squealing in delight.
The three hours we shared was soon over and it was time to say goodbye. A very big and special thank you was given from Sister Michele Anne Murphy, President, on behalf of the Presentation Sisters, to those who donated generously towards this event and were not able to attend, or added an extra gift with their RSVP.
As we look forward to our next reunion in February 2023, please tell all your friends, classmates and family to kindly send their names and addresses to Jan Potts, Director of Communications at email@example.com so they can be added to the mailing list.
Enjoy these photos courtesy of Yolanda Santillan.