Maria de la Cruz Aymes
By Francis J. Buckley, S.J.
Sister Maria De La Cruz Aymes of the Society of Helpers (1919-2009): Author of several Roman Catholic religious education programs for children: On Our Way, On Our Way Vatican II, New Life, Lord of Life, God with Us, and for Hispanic adults: Familia de Dios. Her books have been translated into more than twenty foreign languages. More people have studied her books than have read the Documents of the Second Vatican Council or the papal Encyclicals of the twentieth century.
Maria Margarita Valentina Aymes-Coucke was born on July 14, 1919, in Mexico City. Nicknamed Maguy, she was the third child, after brothers Andres and Juan, of a prominent industrial family with a French-Dutch background.
Maguy's paternal grandfather, Adolfo Aymes, born in France, had traveled to Mexico in 1879, during the prosperous presidency of Porfirio Diaz. Seeing the vast opportunities offered by the New World, he settled there with his wife, Louise Veyan. He bought extensive property in the north of Mexico, and successfully promoted cultivation of cotton, hemp, and production of textiles. He became a co-founder of the city of Torreon (present population over 500,000) in the State of Coahuila, Mexico.
Her father, Adolfo Aymes Veyan, born in Mexico, inherited the possessions and businesses of his father. Known for his generosity, he risked the loss of large property holdings and personal freedom by harboring and supporting priests and religious being hunted by the police during the religious persecutions in Mexico, at the time of Presidents Plutarco Calles and Lazaro Cardenas.
Maguy's maternal grandfather, Ferdinand Coucke, was born in Holland. After his marriage to Emile Robert, he settled in Nice, France, where his three daughters were born. Aside from his successful textile industries, he founded the Yacht Club in Nice and the Aquatic Races in Marseilles, France.
Maguy's mother, Valentine Coucke, was born and educated in France and England. During one of Adolfo Aymes' visits to Nice, he met her, and they were soon engaged. They married in Mexico City. There they settled and raised their three children.
Maguy grew up in a home where French and Spanish were habitually spoken and trips to France were not rare. Thus she was bilingual and bi-cultural.
During the years 1926-1932 a cruel persecution of Catholics throughout Mexico was unleashed by President Plutarco Elias Calles. All churches, seminaries, convents and Catholic schools were closed. All religious instruction and outward signs of religion were outlawed under penalty of prison, exile, or death.
Maguy was still a young child when she began hearing about Catholic people being sought out, captured, and killed. One day, when traveling from Mexico City to her family's hacienda near Torreon, she saw countless laymen strung up on telephone poles along the railroad lines a sight she would never forget. Known as the Cristeros [those loyal to Christ], they had protested against the government's anti-Catholic laws. Those captured were imprisoned, tortured, and put to death without any trial. [On September 25, 1988, Father Miguel Pro, S.J., along with many other Mexican priests, religious, and laity, was beatified, declared a model Christian, by Pope John Paul II.]
About that time, Maguy noticed that her parents opened their large home to hide priests and religious. Among them was the Apostolic Delegate [representative of the Pope] to Mexico, Archbishop Leopoldo Ruiz y Flores. While he was in hiding, he taught Maguy Christian doctrine, then gave her First Communion and Confirmation. [When he was exiled from Mexico and went to live in San Antonio, Texas, she and her mother visited him at least twice a year, between l932-l937.]
These different experiences - the Government's hatred of the Catholic Church, the plight of persecuted priests, nuns, and laity on one side, and on the other the teachings of Archbishop Ruiz y Flores and the witness of the generosity of her parents - led Maguy to conclude, "Teaching about Christ and going to Church must be very important if people are ready to die for it." This conviction became the foundation of her desire to be a catechist and, eventually, a religious.
Maguy did not wait until she grew up to teach others about God. With her parents' permission, she rounded up the street children and organized for them her own "catechism classes". Gathering her pupils in a hidden corner of the vast garden of her home, she taught them what she had learned about God, adding stories, songs, and prayers. Then she gave them candy. The classes became popular, and attendance increased every Saturday.
Noticing the response to Maguy's efforts, Mrs. Aymes decided to extend them. She organized a weekly recreational center for poor children, which she named, " El Recreo del Niño ". For this purpose she used an empty house which belonged to a friend. For years she provided every week to an average of 300 children food and fun (plus religious instruction).
With her remarkable creativity Mrs. Aymes also organized classes in that same house to educate illiterate working women. Then she founded in Mexico the movement called " Les Cadettes du Christ ". Based on the French organization, this movement trained and encouraged young Catholic women of society who had completed their studies to use their time and talents to help the destitute through various services. The Cadettes flourished for over 30 years. Later, at the age of 70, with the persecution over, Mrs Aymes planned and conducted on a commercial channel a weekly TV program called El Público Pregunta , "The People Ask", to discuss ethical issues. The program lasted four years.
During the persecution all Catholic schools in Mexico were closed. Families gathered their children in small groups of about the same age, to be schooled at home. Maguy, with five of her friends, was taught at home by different tutors. As soon as the persecution eased in 1932, religious women began to return incognito to Mexico to open small private schools. Maguy was then enrolled in the academy run by the Religious of the Sacred Heart, where she earned her high school degree. Although state inspectors frequently visited the school to be sure that no religious instruction was being given, in fact the entire atmosphere was religious and students learned about religion as part of history and literature. Later on, Maguy took various college-level courses offered by professors of literature and theology.
As a religious in the United States, Sister Maria de la Cruz followed summer graduate courses in catechetics at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., (1954); liturgy at the University of Notre Dame (1956-7); scripture, theology, and sociology at the University of San Francisco (1960-70).
Religious Vocation and Formation
By 1938 Maguy dreamed of being a Missionary as well as a religious educator. Since as yet there were no novitiates opened in Mexico, the question arose, where could she go to be trained? Correspondence with the Society of Helpers of the Holy Souls, who directed the Cadettes du Christ in Paris, opened the way. Maguy wrote to them, asking for information. She liked the brochures she received, which explained the spirit of the Helpers, who had missions in many parts of the world. Based on the doctrine of the Communion of Saints, their spirituality was to minister to the most needy people in the world as a way of helping those who after their death were still going through their purification in pugatory. A retreat directed by Archbishop Ruiz y Flores confirmed her desire to belong to the Society of Helpers. At the age of 19 she bade farewell to her family and numerous friends (many of whom began to bet she would return home within months), and left for the American Novitiate of the Helpers, located then at Chappaqua, New York.
At the end of three years of preparation for her future ministry, Maguy pronounced her first temporary vows in 1941, and was given the religious name of Sister Maria de la Cruz (Mary of the Cross). Normally, young Helpers were sent after their Novitiate to Paris, to study and continue their formation. The Second World War was going on in Europe, so Sr. Maria was sent to the Helpers' convent in New York City. There she joined an internatiuonal community of Helpers: French, Italian, Dutch, Scottish, Canadian, Chinese, and Americans, plus Maria de la Cruz, a Mexican. The Helper's chapel on East 86th Street had been designated by the Chancery Office as the parish for Black Catholics, who at that time were not allowed to attend white parishes. This was a wonderful experience for Sr. Maria, who had never before been in contact with their race and culture.
In New York Sister Maria also worked in East Harlem, teaching catechism to the Puerto Rican children who swartmed through the dilapidated Church of the Holy Agony. After a year, since war was still raging in Europe, Sr. Maria was sent to San Francisco. During her four-year stay she took an extensive program in nursing at St. Mary's School of Nursing, cared for the sick poor in their homes, and helped in St. Benedict the Moor, the parish for Black Catholics. On weekends she went to Hunter's Point to teach catechism to the numerous children of shipyard workers.
The war ended in 1945. Shortly after, Sr. Maria, with other young Helpers, sailed from New York to France. The House of "Tertianship" [formation before final vows] was located near Paris in the nearly demolished town of Pontoise. She stayed there for a year. Her mission was primarily to care for the sick, elderly poor, who had suffered the most from the ravages of war, and to teach catechism to malnourished and nerve-wracked French children.
Foundation in Mexico
On September 6, 1947, Sr. Maria de la Cruz made her final profession of vows in Versailles, France. The following day the Superior General summoned her and told her she was to sail back to the United States. From there she was to go to Mexico City with two other sisters for the foundation of the first Mexican Convent of Helpers.
Sr. Maria was happy to return to her country and see her family. She was also filled with pity and compassion upon seeing the poverty of the people she was to help. She was responsible for the organization of a free clinic, Dispensario de la Providencia , administered by the Helpers, to care for the needs of poor Indians in the outskirts of Mexico City. Countless families lived near the city dump, picking their daily food from what the garbage trucks had collected. Sickness and malnutrition were rampant among the children and adults who came every day to the clinic. Besides this nursing ministry, Sr. Maria taught catechism to the illiterate children and adults of the area. There was no church nor school in that region, so classes were held in the local cemetery. Not comfortable, but certainly conducive to silence and good behavior!
These contacts with people of different races, cultures, and nationalities enabled Sr. Maria not only to become trilingual, but also to acquire a wide experience in teaching children and adults in challenging situations. This enabled her to discover the essential elements of a good catechesis. These principles shaped her future catechetical ministry:
- Know the students, their culture, and the situation in which they live;
- Teach them in a way that helps them experience the value of faith;
- Lead them to respond with joy to the "Good News of Jesus Christ" both in prayer and action.
Origin of On Our Way
Sr. Maria de la Cruz was called to the United States in 1954, on temporary assignment, to replace a Helper in San Francisco as supervisor of catechetics in the Archdiocesan Department of Education. Her duty was to evaluate the quality of the weekly religion classes offered to Catholic children attending public schools. She began visiting parishes, then listed her observations: too many children of different ages crowded into one class; the catechist was not well prepared; attendance and discipline fluctuated; class often was reduced to the drilling of prayers; no attractive catechetical material suited to the age of the children was available.
Disappointed, Sr. Maria reported to the Director of Catechetics her observations. He listened and asked her, "What positive suggestions and help can you offer the parishes? We do not have books written for these children. We do not have enough trained catechists." Feeling the challenge, Sr. Maria said, "With God's help I'll do something about this." She organized weekly evening classes to train lay catechists and began to develop lesson plans to help them teach weekly classes for children in their parishes. Purple pages flowed off the mimeograph machines, more and more each week, as parish after parish adopted her program. Expenses rose. Finally the Archdiocese told her to find a publisher.
One day a grizzled wisp of a man with a thick Austrian accent came to her office and asked to see what she had written. He took a copy with him, and a couple of weeks later wrote back the simple statement, "So much work, so poorly done."
The fiery Mexican was not amused. Storming into the office of Monsignor James Brown, Superintendent of Schools, she thundered, "Who does that man think he is?"
Monsignor Brown asked her who she thought he was. She did not know. "He's Johannes Hofinger, the most important theoretician in catechetics today. That is what he is teaching at the University of Notre Dame. You might actually learn something from him."
Sr. Maria swallowed her pride and sensed it was important to listen to Fr. Hofinger's advice. This decision was pivotal for her future work, which within a few years took on an international dimension.
At her invitation Fr. Hofinger came to San Francisco and spent a whole week in the Helpers' convent to work with Sr. Maria. As her mentor, he guided her to outline the goals and content of a series of twelve books for children and their teachers, grades 1 though 6. The creation of the On Our Way Series took five full years. During its production, besides Fr. Johannes Hofinger, S.J., who read and critiqued every lesson she wrote, Sr. Maria was enriched by the insights and teachings of prominent theologians. She had the guidance of other Jesuits, like Fr. William Huesman, Dean of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology at Alma College, who checked the theological content of each book, and the personal advice of Fr. Josef Jungmann,S.J., a renowned liturgist and auther of the catechetical text , The Good News of Jesus Christ , which was the basis of the Kerygmatic Approach used in the original On Our Way Series. Other professors also advised her, such as Dr. Joseph Goldbrunner, a leading German theoretician of catechetics, and Rev. Gerard Sloyan, Dean of the Department of Religious Education at the Catholic University of America.
Published by William H. Sadlier in New York between the years 1957-1962, the On Our Way Series of graded catechisms became a runaway best seller throughout the United States. The books were soon translated into more than twelve world languages, including Spanish, Swahili, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Tagalog, and Ilocano. Millions of English copies were printed in the late 1950's. The Spanish translation became very popular in Latin America. From Argentina all the way up to Mexico, catechists usedit for years as the only authorized religion textbook.
Sr. Maria sensed that the Vatican Council in the early sixties would inevitably bring significant renewal in the Church. This meant there would also be drastic changes in the proclamation of the "Good News of Jesus Christ". The On Our Way books would have to be thoroughly revised so that the series would reflect the teachings of the Council. However, she was aware that alone she would not be able to carry out the task of re-writing the whole program. It would be a monumental project. Unfortunately, Fr. Hofinger was now settled in Manila, and Fr. Huesman had died in 1964. She needed someone familiar with what was going on in Rome and sensitive to the task of catechesis. Who?
Her annual retreat was given by a young Jesuit fresh from Rome with the ink still wet of his doctorate from the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Gregorian University. Sr. Maria asked Father Francis J. Buckley, S.J., to help her revise her program in the light of the Council. He had never read her material, but remembered the Baltimore Catechism he had studied as a child. Surely it needed revision after the Council. He thought it might take a few months to update it; then he could get back to other projects at the University of San Francisco, where he was teaching Theology. Little did he realize the enormity of the project which followed.
Sister Maria set up a team, adding Father Cyr Miller, a diocesan priest she had known since he was a seminarian, and Sister Laetitia Bordes, another Helper in San Francisco. Father Miller and Sister Laetitia were to write texts for 7th and 8th grades. In theory, having a team would make Maria's work easier. In practice, Miller and Buckley never hesitated to argue long and loud about overall structure and tiny details. Occasionally Maria would excuse herself, leave the room, have a good cry, then return to the battle. The rest of the team found out about the crying only many years later.
With Father Buckley Sister Maria produced several series for parish religious education: On Our Way , Vatican II (1966-70); New Life (1972-75); Jesus Nos Dice (1976).
From 1976-1981 Sister Maria and Father Buckley co-authored the Lord of Life series for Catholic Schools and parish religious education programs. From 1982-1985 they worked with Thomas Groome on the God With Us program. All were published by Wm. H. Sadlier. Alone and with others Sister Maria has written a total of over one hundred texts.
Lectures, Workshops and Courses in Catechetics
Sister Maria had risen to some prominence apart from her books. She went to France several times for General Chapters or International meetings of the Society of Helpers. Wonderfully gifted as an entertaining speaker, no matter what size the group, she was in great demand as a lecturer in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America, especially at Religious Education Conventions and in courses to catechists. This gave her the opportunity to travel to and labor in: Manizales (Colombia); Canal Zone (Panama); San Juan and Mayagüez (Puerto Rico); Edinburgh and Glasgow (Scotland); Belfast and Limerick (Ireland); London and Portsmouth (England); Rome (Italy); New Delhi (India); Manila (Philippines); Taipei and Peipu (Taiwan); Kowloon and Hong Kong, (China, NT); Tokyo and Omiya (Japan); Sydney, Ballarat, Adelaide, Brisbane (Australia); and American Samoa.
She traveled practically all over the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska. Her travel agency referred to her as "The Flying Nun", and she was a preferred traveler on several Airlines.
Sr. Maria taught both undergraduate and graduate courses at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.; Mundelein College, Chicago; University of San Francisco, San Francisco; St. Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas; St. Patrick's Major Seminary, Archdiocese of San Francisco, 1982-1991.
Never one to get stuck in a rut, besides writing textbooks Sister Maria wrote many articles on religious education, multiculturalism, and catechetics. She developed the video basic training course for volunteer catechists, Feed My Lambs , published by Argus Communications, (1985). She wrote Fe y Cultura , a basic training course for Hispanic catechists, Paulist Press, (1985). She wrote the Familia de Dios series for adult education in Spanish [four books and eight videos], Tabor Publishing, (1989-1996); and worked with the Hispanic Telecommunications Network in the production of catechetical videos in Spanish for adults.
International Catechetical Congresses
Occasionally Father Hofinger would fly in on some trip from Manila to Europe or Africa. He was known as the Ecclesiastical Sputnik from his travels around the world. He had already invited Maria de la Cruz to attend as an official delegate an International Catechetical Congress in Eichstätt, Germany, in 1960. He invited her and Fathers Miller and Buckley to attend as official delegates other Catechetical and Liturgical Congresses: Manila, 1967; Medellín, Colombia, 1968; San Antonio, Texas, 1969. Her travels and international contacts gave her great breadth of vision, enabling her to spot trends in the Church and to see the need for inculturation of the gospel all over the world. Eventually she became a citizen of the United States.
Along with Fr. Buckley Sister Maria de la Cruz was one of the delegates from the United States at the International Catechetical Congress organized by the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy in Rome, 1971. The Official General Catechetical Directory, was issued during this Congress. The delegates suggested revisions and also recommended that the Congregation establish an International Council for Catechetics, referred to as COINCAT, composed of expert catechists: men and women of different cultures and races, who could assist in the task of guiding the catechetical mission around the world.
Five years later the Vatican had selected from around the world the 30 members who would compose this Council. Pope Paul VI appointed Sister Maria to COINCAT in 1974, together with Bishop John McDowell of Pittsburgh.
The first COINCAT meeting was held in Rome, in 1975. It gathered the Patriarch of Syria, and prelates and priests from Poland, Yugoslavia, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Australia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Africa, India, and the United States. Among the selected members there was one laywoman, a professor from Manila, one layman, a theologian from Austria, and two religious women, authors of catechetical material, from England and from the United States.
Bylaws required that COINCAT members elect a President to coordinate and facilitate the work of the Council. Sr. Maria was twice elected to that position. Since she was trilingual, (Spanish, French, English) plus having a good grasp of Italian and being already acquainted with several of the COINCAT members, this enabled her to moderate the long discussions and help to translate the reports to be given to the Congregation. She worked in various ways for Cardinal John Wright, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, and with his succesors, until 1994.
Synod in Rome 1977
During her service at the Vatican Sr. Maria de la Cruz was appointed by Pope Paul VI to be one of the experts to assist at the Synod of Bishops on Catechesis, held in Rome in 1977. During that month she worked closely with Cardinal Lorscheider, Special Secretary of the Synod, interrelated with the Cardinals and Bishops in the Spanish language group, and collaborated with Cardinal Joseph Bernardine and Cardinal Timothy Manning from the United States. During the Synod she met several times Pope Paul VI, and his shortlived successor Pope John Paul I. She also became acquainted with the future Pope John Paul II.
Production of Sin Fronteras
At the request of the Bishops of 18 dioceses in the United States and Mexico, from the states of Arizona, California, Baja California, and Sonora, Sister Maria de la Cruz developed their catechetical guidelines to help their catechists in the work of evangelization and religious education for the vast numbers of migrants from Latin America. She organized a committee of bilingual catechists from each one of the dioceses involved. Within three years the guidelines were submitted to the Bishops, and duly approved to be used both in the United States and Mexico. The Spanish edition, Sin Fronteras , was published in 1993. Its translation into English, Without Borders , was published in 1995.
- Religious Education Supervisor for the Archdiocesis of San Francisco, 1956-1966.
- Local Superior of the Society of Helpers in San Francisco, 1964-1970.
- Regional Director of the Society of Helpers in California, 1970-1979.
- Councilor for the USA Province of the Society of Helpers, 1966-1979.
- Member of the USA Leadership Conference of Women Religious, 1963-1979.
- Member, Board of Directors of the National Catholic Educational Association, 1976-1982.
- Member, International Catechetical Council (COINCAT), 1975-1994.
- President, International Catechetical Council (COINCAT), 1990-1994.
- Member, Board of Directors of St. Patrick's Major Seminary, Archdiocese of San Francisco, 1984-1990.
- Member, Board of Department of Education, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1985-1988.
- Member, Advisory Committees for Catechesis of Hispanics, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1986- .
- Member, Advisory Committees for Adult Religious Education, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Adult Religious Education, 1989- .
- Member, Board of Department of Communications, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1993-1996.
- Doctorate in Sacred Theology, honoris causa , l973, University of San Francisco.
- Doctorate in Humane Letters, honoris causa , 1985, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.
- Joseph Collins Award, 1976, National Center for Christian Doctrine.
- Albert Koob Award, 1979, National Catholic Educational Association.
- Sadlier Dinger Award, 1981.
- Presidential Award, 1982, National Catholic Educational Association.
- Virgilio Elizondo Award, 1990, Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians.
- Catechetical Award, 1992, National Conference of Catechetical Leadership.
- Elizabeth Seton Medal, 1993, National Catholic Educational Association.
- Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Award, 1999, Vatican.
As a significant woman in the Church, Sister Maria de la Cruz got to know Popes Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II; in her work at the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, particularly in her years as President of the International Catechetical Council, she worked with the late Cardinal John Wright and the present Prefect, Cardinal Silvio Oddi, and the Executive Secretary, Archbishop Romero de Lema. She also personally knew and worked with the Patriarch of Syria and Prelates from Poland, Yugoslavia, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Australia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Africa, and India. In the United States Sister Maria worked closely with many bishops during her service as member of the National Catholic Educational Association Board of Directors, and with various Boards and Committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as with the bishops of Arizona, California, and Baja California, Sonora Tijuana and Mexicali in Mexico in the production of guidelines for catechesis. She was personally enriched with their friendship. Furthermore, her long-lasting labor to strengthen the work of evangelization and catechesis in the United States created a bond - not only with the board members of organizations and committees she served, and with the Diocesan Directors of Religious Education who repeatedly invited her to their dioceses, but also with the thousands of catechists who were exposed to her genuine love for the Church, and enthusiasm in proclaiming "the Good News of Jesus Christ". No wonder that in bestowing upon her the C. Albert Koob award in 1979, the National Catholic Educational Association declared, "For 25 years she has been the First Lady of Catechetics in the United States."
In her later years, Maria de la Cruz worked for pluralism and enculturation in the Catholic Church as part of her responsibility as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Adult Religious Education (NACARE). In an article in Today's Parish , April, 1991, she wrote:
"Pluralism became an existential experience in the newborn Church at Pentecost. A multitude of people, coming from very different ethnic and geographical backgrounds, heard the same message about Jesus in "their own tongue" - in a language they could understand. And each one in this crowd found a different and personal way to respond to the call to conversion.
This positive influence of pluralism led to a cultural adaptation of Christianity that began in the early church with the struggle with Judaism. Within twenty years after the death and resurrection of Christ, the church accepted the principle that Christian faith could find expression in cultures other than Jewish.
Today pluralism highlights the catholicity of the church, which embraces people of all races, and is made visible in the diversity of languages and rites, in the abundance of gifts poured out by the Holy Spirit, each contributing in its own way to the common good of the Body of Christ."
For recreation Sister Maria enjoys gardening, travel, drawing, and visiting art museums and cultural centers. As a child and young adult she loved to ride horses and play with her many pets, but she has little leisure for that now.
By her life and work Sister Maria de la Cruz Aymes, S.H., has shown that one woman can make a difference in the history of the Church and the world. To put her contribution into proper perspective, more people have studied her books than have read the Documents of the Second Vatican Council or the papal Encyclicals of the twentieth century.
Maria de la Cruz is a genuinely liberated and liberating woman, manifesting in her life the statement of Jesus, "The truth will set you free." As a Mexican educator who brought the Good News of Jesus Christ to the rest of the world, she is a woman of the Church: as woman of love and courage, ready to take the initiative but also to listen, with reverence for tradition but also open to change, sensitive to the Holy Spirit and the feelings of others, a woman of laughter and tears, whose poetry is written in her own life story.
Addendum: Sister Maria de la cruz passed away on April 25 2009 in Chicago. Her personal papers were donated to the archives of the San Francisco Archdiocese, and no public funeral services were held.
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- Aymes, M. S.H. (1969). Presenting Christ. England: St. Paul Publications.
- Aymes, M., S.H., Winstone, H., & Chapman, G. (1971). Young people's mass book. London, England.
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- Aymes, M., S.H., & Buckley, F. J., S.J. (1971-1974). New life. New York: William H. Sadlier.
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- Aymes, M., S.H., Buckley, F. J., S.J., & Groome, T. (1982-1984). God with us. New York: William H. Sadlier. Grades 1-6, Text and Guide.
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- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1981). Teacher training for the Church of the 80's (Casette Recording). St. Mary's University, San Antonio. Ogden, Utah: Christian Media.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1981). The DRE (Director of Religious Education) and Catechesis for Sacraments. St. Mary's University, San Antonio. Ogden, Utah: Christian Media.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1981). The DRE (Director of Religious Education) and the Church of the 80's (Casette Recording). St. Mary's University, San Antonio. Ogden, UT: Christian Media.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1982). El Pueblo Hispano, Peregrino de la historia (Casette Recording). Albuquerque.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1983). Dynamics of reconciliation (Casette Recording). Religious Education Congress, Santa Ana, CA: Tape Data Media.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1983). El dinamismo de la reconciliación (Casette Recording). Religious Education Congress, Santa Ana, CA: Tape Data Media.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1983). Renewal in Christ (Casette Recording). Religious Education Congress, Santa Ana, CA: Tape Data Media.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1984). Afternoon talk (Casette Recording). Saint Nicholas Catholic Charismatic Center. Houston, TX.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1984). Morning talk (Casette Recording). Saint Nicholas Catholic Charismatic Center. Houston, TX.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1984). Understanding the Sacrament of reconciliation (Casette Recording). Religious Education Congress, Santa Ana, CA: Tape Data Media.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1987). Affirming cultural values in elementary religious education (Casette Recording). 15th East Coast Conference on Religious Education, Elkridge, MD: Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1989). Inculturation of Catechesis (Casette Recording). 86th Annual Convention of National Catholic Educational Association, Elkridge, MD: Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1991). Prayer (Casette Recording). 19th East Coast Conference on Religious Education, Elkridge, MD: Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1993). El arte de contar cuentos en Catequesis (Casette Recording). Religious Education Congress, Simi Valley, CA: Convention Seminar Casssettes.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1993). Process, inculturation, community, content, evaluation (Casette Recording). The Gathering Conference, Palm Desert, CA: Convention Cassettes.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1993). Walking hand in gand, A multi-cultural journey (Casette Recording). 21st East Coast Conference on Religious Education, Elkridge, MD: Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1994). Overheard.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1994). Challenge of conflict among different cultures (Casette Recording). Religious Education Congress, Simi Valley, CA: Convention Seminar Casssettes.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1994). Conoçes el nuevo Catecismo? (Casette Recording). Religious Education Congress, Simi Valley, CA: Convention Seminar Casssettes.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1995). Facing the future with Children (Casette Recording). 23rd East Coast Conference on Religious Education, Elkridge, MD: Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1995). Fidelity to God and to the cultures of our people (Casette Recording). 23rd East Coast Conference on Religious Education, Elkridge, MD: Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1995). How the new Catechism can enrich us as persons and teachers (Casette Recording). 92nd Annual Convention of National Catholic Educational Association, Elkridge, MD: Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications.
- Aymes, M. (Speaker). (1995). Understanding the cultural reality, Ways and means to link faith and life (Casette Recording). Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, O'Hara Continuous Tape.
- Aymes, M. (1991). Affirming diversity in nurturing community (Video Recording).19th East Coast Conference on Religious Education, Elkridge, MD: Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications.
- Aymes, M. (1993). Major address (Video Recording). 21st East Coast Conference on Religious Education, Elkridge, MD: Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications.
- Aymes, M. (1995). Jesus nos enseña a responder a su llamado (Video Recording). Así Vivimos porque Creemos: Doctrina Católica Elemental sobre el Credo para Hispanos Adultos y sus Familias. San Antonio, TX: Hispanic Telecommunications Network.
- Aymes, M. (1995). Ordenes sagrados, Elegidos para servir (Video Recording). Por Los Frutos Nos Conoceran: Doctrina Elemental sobre Los Sacramentos para Hispanos Adultos y sus Familias. San Antonio, TX: Hispanic Telecommunications Network.
- Aymes, M. (1995). La unción, sacramento que genera salud y fortaleza (Video Recording). Por Los Frutos Nos Conoceran: Doctrina Elemental sobre Los Sacramentos para Hispanos Adultos y sus Familias. San Antonio, TX: Hispanic Telecommunications Network.
- Aymes, M. (1996). Amar es decir y vivir en la verdad (Video Recording). Los Mandamientos: Doctrina Elemental sobre la Ley para Hispanos Adultos y sus Familias. San Antonio, TX: Hispanic Telecommunications Network.
Excerpts from Publications
In her later years, Maria de la Cruz worked for pluralism and enculturation in the Catholic Church as part of her responsibility as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Adult Religious Education (NACARE). In an article in Today's Parish , April, 1991, she wrote:
"Pluralism became an existential experience in the newborn Church at Pentecost. A multitude of people, coming from very different ethnic and geographical backgrounds, heard the same message about Jesus in "their own tongue" - in a language they could understand. And each one in this crowd found a different and personal way to respond to the call to conversion.This positive influence of pluralism led to a cultural adaptation of Christianity that began in the early church with the struggle with Judaism. Within twenty years after the death and resurrection of Christ, the church accepted the principle that Christian faith could find expression in cultures other than Jewish.Today pluralism highlights the catholicity of the church, which embraces people of all races, and is made visible in the diversity of languages and rites, in the abundance of gifts poured out by the Holy Spirit, each contributing in its own way to the common good of the Body of Christ."
Aymes, M., S.H. (1987). Towards the fulfillment of a dream, faith and culture . Department of Education, United States Catholic Conference.
General statement of her approach to spreading the Christian message.
Goldbrunner, J. (1966). Realization: Anthropology of pastoral care . Notre Dame.
A leader in catechetical renewal for integrating psychology and theology.
Hofinger, J., S.J., & Buckley, F. J., S.J. (1968). The Good News and Its Proclamation . Notre Dame.
The basic theology of evangelization and catechesis of two Jesuits who worked closely with Maria de la Cruz for many years.
Lubienska de Lenval, H. (1961). The whole man at worship: the actions of man before God . Desclee.
Teaching techniques blended with liturgical prayer.
Schreiter, R, C.PP.S. (1985). Constructing Local Theologies . Orbis.
Acculturation, enculturation, and inculturation as forms of integrating sociology and religion.
Francis J. Buckley, S.J.
Rev. Francis J. Buckley, S.J., received a doctorate in systematic theology from the Gregorian University in 1964. He taught at the University of San Francisco, 1960-61, 1963-2004. A past president of the College Theology Society, he was advisor to the US bishops at the 1977 Synod of Bishops on Catechetics in Rome. His most recent books areGrowing in the Church: from Birth to Death, andThe Church in Dialogue: Culture and Tradition, University Press of America, 2000.