“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Maria Griego was born in Pecos, New Mexico, on September 2, 1941, the middle child of six in a Catholic family. Her family had great love of and a deep faith in God. They were also committed to Catholic education.
During the first years in primary grades, Maria’s education began in public school in Pecos. From fourth to eighth grade the children were blessed when the Sisters of the Presentation first came to Pecos and started St. Anthony School. Sister Maria remarked, “Fond memories still exist of our principal, Sister Mary James, who is now in her nineties and is still living. Her dedication and love of teaching was a model of the teaching profession. Attending school at St. Anthony’s was positive, which gave me a good foundation for life, for faith, and for education.”Throughout elementary and high school education, Religious life came through the influence of dedicated Sisters who taught and nurtured Maria’s desire to pursue the teaching profession. She didn’t enter the convent until later in life. Maria said, “I was influenced by my aunt, who was a Sister of Divine Providence. The Lord kept pursuing me, and eventually I knew that I wanted to enter the convent.” Her entrance to the Sisters of the Presentation was September 1,1965. Her first vows took place at Saint Mary’s in Los Gatos in 1968.
Sister Maria’s first ministry assignment was in Pecos. Her teaching ministry began by working with Sister Rachel, PBVM, teaching public school students in the CCD Release Program in which the students from the public school came to the parish for religion classes. The students were picked up in their classes and taken back after the religion lessons. It was a good learning experience and good exercise walking back to the public school.Teaching pre-school at St. Anthony’s was her second assignment, where she learned how to teach primary grades. Maria said, “The teaching ministry appealed to me, because of my love for teaching children.” The teaching ministry brought her to East Los Angeles, at Our Lady of Lourdes school, teaching first and second grade. At Saint Benedict’s in Montebello, she taught second grade and then to San Jose at St. Patrick’s, teaching second grade. “My favorite place to work at was at St. John Vianney’s, teaching Kindergarten, first grade and second grade.” After teaching in primary grades, Sister Maria transitioned to religion coordinator for faculty and staff, which involved preparing faculty prayers and liturgies. After 33 years working at St. John Vianney, the time finally came for her to retire from teaching.
Teaching for 45 plus years has been a gift and has brought great joy and fulfillment in her life. She is retired and currently engaged in volunteer work. Her residence is at St. Christopher’s convent in San Jose, CA., very close to St. Christopher’s Parish.
Celebrating her 50th Jubilee at Presentation Center in Los Gatos in 2015 was very special. Another highlight of her religious life was when 33 of the Sisters had the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to Ireland. Sister Maria explained, “Indeed, it was an enriching and spiritual experience. It was great to see the places where our foundress, Nano Nagle, ministered and walked the streets of Cork with her lantern to serve the poor and needy.”
Sister Maria continued, “I have deep gratitude for the of gift of family, relatives, and friends who continue to inspire me with love and support me as a religious and teacher.”