For The Madera Tribune
Siblings Hillary Ybarra and Fr. Carlos Esquivel Jr. show a photograph of their parents, who were longtime members of the Guadalupanos Society of Madera. The society will celebrate its 90th anniversary celebration Saturday at Holy Spouses Hall.
(The Guadalupanos Society of Madera will honor past society members at its 90th anniversary celebration Saturday in Holy Spouses Hall. Children of the Esquivels family shared their memories of their parents’ more than 60-year involvement in the society. For anniversary information or tickets, call society president Leticia Rodriguez, 647-5201.)
We don’t know when our parents became Guadalupanos. An aunt said our mother was a Guadalupano before she met our father, Carlos. They married in 1952 and had Hillary in 1953 and Carlos Jr., who would become a priest, in 1954.
Our father was in charge of the estandarte (banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe) for the Guadalupanos of the Madera Society. He carried it in all the special functions and meetings of the society. That banner has an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe similar to one used in Mexico to lead, even in times of war.
Our mother and father were always there at fundraisers for the church and helping to cook, set up and clean up. On the Dec. 12 feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, they would dress in Mexican attire and meet families of the society at 5 a.m. when mariachis would play at the shrine of the mother of Jesus. The church would be packed when Mass started afterwards. Later they went to Griffin Hall for entertainment and a traditional Mexican breakfast of menudo, champurrado (Mexican chocolate), pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread) and coffee.
Some of Society members would perform a skit or play of the apparition of the Blessed Mother to Juan Diego in Mexico. Children would play the parts of Mary and an angel. Victor Magos, father of society vice president Luis Magos, would portray Juan Diego and our father played a priest along with other society members.
While Guadalupanos met monthly at Griffin Hall, all the kids would to the the Madera Theater down the street. Our parents would give us a dollar and we’d get into the movies for 50 cents then buy popcorn and soda for 50 cents. Later, as Junior Guadalupanos, they’d hold fundraisers such as selling fireworks. They’d also take trips to places like Fish Camp and Mission San Juan Bautista with Guadalupanos as chaperones.
Our mother would pray every morning with a cup of tea at her side. A metal box held her rosary, prayers and Bible. In May and October, she’d lead her family in praying the rosary while kneeling. We used to ask, “Can’t we sit?” Our mother would reply, “If God suffered for us on the cross, we can kneel for 20 minutes.”
We lost our father on Jan. 5, 2007, and our mother, Tillie, joined him on August 10, 2012.
Hillary recalls, “I asked her at her bedside: ‘Mom, who am I?’ She answered ‘Mi hija.’ (My daughter.)
“At her bedside, after I realized she knew who I was, despite her failing memory, I said: ‘You can go now, mom, and be with dad.’
“And she went. It was time for her to join my dad, who was, I am sure, pacing up and down waiting (not patiently) for her to join him. He probably said: ‘It’s about time.’ All of her grandchildren, her sister, and Fr. Carlos and me were there at her bedside. Fr. Carlos said a prayer of final commendation for her as she passed.”