In the 1980s, Catholics in rural Martindale, Texas, recalled how their elders had regularly walked to their “second home”: Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. The Claretians erected the first Catholic Church there in 1908, with a school two years later. After fire destroyed the wooden structure in 1916, the Claretians raised the brick and stone church pictured here. For the special Lenten missions held in the evenings “everyone walked to the church, direct from the fields, and were there until 10pm.” During Holy Week , many simply stayed on the church grounds, cooking and sleeping under the open sky.
Parishioners also recalled how their pastor Fr. Inocencio “would walk to Martindale from San Marcos every Friday and would return on Mondays. He kept this up for quite a while until a man who delivered bread to Martindale began to give him a ride.” Fr. Inocencio Martín, CMF, was dubbed by his confreres the “Gran Misionero de los sitios pequeños.” Martindale was certainly one of those small places.
Deborah E. Kanter wrote Chicago Cátolico: Making Catholic Parishes Mexican (University of Illinois Press, 2020). Her current research focuses on the Claretian Missionaries in the US and the creation of a national Latino ministry, 1902-2020.