Sister Castro is a nun at St. Rita’s Catholic Church and a member of Sisters for Christian Group. She lives in Southeast San Diego.
Once I was first requested to contribute to the San Diego Latino Legacy venture, I assumed I didn’t assume I had a lot to supply. And that’s what I advised the Latino Legacy Basis.
Then, after I started reflecting on my life, I spotted that I grew up in a time interval that wasn’t very welcoming to Latinos like myself.
I’m proud to share with you these tales of what life was like for me again within the Forties and Nineteen Fifties.
Once I was somewhat lady, our neighbors in Outdated City have been Mexican Individuals, Chinese language Individuals and African Individuals, and it appeared like everyone obtained alongside. My dad and mom, James and Lydia Anna Castro, had purchased our small dwelling within the Thirties.
It was solely once we have been older that my brother Richard and I discovered from my father that we lived in a segregated neighborhood.
Segregation was all the time a part of our lives. For instance, our father liked to take us to the annual rodeo in Lakeside, however we have been solely allowed to sit down in a sure, separate space.
Once I was about 10, I requested my dad, “How come we all the time have to sit down on this space the place the new solar is all the time in our eyes?”
He advised me to be quiet and “Don’t say something.”
Later he advised me it was “as a result of the White individuals sit on that facet and we sit on the opposite facet.”
In 1951, I used to be bused from Outdated City to Dana Junior Excessive in Level Loma, together with 40 of my schoolmates who have been Mexican Individuals, Chinese language Individuals and African Individuals.
After we first arrived, the police escorted us inside the varsity as White college students and their dad and mom chanted, “Go dwelling.”
We have been taken right into a particular classroom the place we stayed all day lengthy with one trainer, whereas the opposite youngsters modified lessons. And sooner or later day I requested my trainer, “What are we doing in a category the place we don’t do something?”
She advised me that was simply the way in which it was. After just a few weeks glided by, we have been moved into common lecture rooms. However I by no means forgot how we have been handled there.
I additionally do not forget that my dad and mom did our meals buying at a Large Bear market in Southeast San Diego. There was a grocery retailer in Outdated City, however it was way more costly, so we took the bus as soon as per week to Southeast San Diego. My dad and mom advised me that the rationale the meat was cheaper at Large Bear was that the shop accepted packages of unsold, older meat from different shops across the metropolis. In consequence, that’s the place all of the poor individuals went for groceries.
I set out by myself path at 17, serving as a nun with Mom Teresa for greater than 15 years in India, serving to the very poor.
As you may think, Mom Teresa was a really strong-minded individual. She’d stroll into any authorities constructing in Calcutta and inform them, “The individuals want this,” they usually’d say at first, “Oh, no, Mom.”
Then she’d reply: “It’s for the individuals. We now have to have it.”
She had a manner of getting individuals to do issues that improved the lives of poor individuals. Being round her as a lot as I used to be, I discovered that you just needed to be persistent to get highly effective individuals to care in regards to the poor.
Within the early Sixties, I made a decision it was time to return again to San Diego, so I obtained a job at Neighborhood Home in San Diego, and I started combating for poor individuals’s rights another way.
That’s when issues have been starting to occur on this nation relating to civil rights for African Individuals, led by Martin Luther King Jr.
I keep in mind serving to an African American man who had come again from Vietnam, and was dwelling in a tiny condo. He had most cancers in his backbone, and was in plenty of ache. He was advised he couldn’t get assist on the veterans’ hospital in La Jolla, and requested me if I may assist.
The subsequent day, I drove him to the veterans hospital and demanded that its employees handle him. As a result of I made such a fuss, they lastly did admit him. Later, we obtained someone to return to his home, to take care of him and for a time, he obtained higher.
I used the methods that Mom Teresa had taught me, saying, “You’re going to do it,” they usually did it. I discovered plenty of issues from her — not simply prayer, however the energy of prayer and motion, as she used to say. She taught me resilience and compassion to raised serve others much less lucky than myself. That was her best present to me.
And telling my story for the San Diego Latino Legacy was probably the most fulfilling issues I’ve accomplished in a very long time in addition to being a very good nun.