On January 19, 2011 our dear Sr. Guadalupe Eugenia Lama, more affectionately known to generations of Assumption Sisters, students, alumnae and friends of the Assumption as Lupita, went peacefully to the God whom she had loved so well all her life. She was 95 years old and in her 74th year of profession as a Religious of the Assumption. She died in her native Mexico, in the community of Queretaro where she spent the last years of her life. But her long life journey had taken her to many other peoples and countries as she lived what she professed: "...for love of Jesus Christ and in answer to his call, [ I ] desire to consecrate myself to Him, and to devote my whole life to the extension of his Kingdom." [vow formula of the Religious of the Assumption]
As was the custom at the time, 19 year old Lupita left Mexico in 1934 to begin her novitiate at Val Notre Dame, Belgium. After professing first vows as a Religious of the Assumption she was sent to the Philippines in 1936 where she earned a bachelors degree in 1947 in mathematics from the University of San Agustin and a masters degree in education from the University of Santo Tomas in 1955. She remained in the Philippines until 1957, teaching math, history and literature at Assumption College in Iloilo City and serving as assistant dean. In 1957 she moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she became Provincial of the US Province, director of Religious Formation, dean of Villanova University's Extension Campus at Ravenhill, and superior of the Assumption community at Bay Haven, Miami (Academy of the Assumption). During this time, Sister Lupita met Assumptionists from Worcester, which paved the way for the presence of the Religious of the Assumption at Assumption College in Worcester, MA.
Among her many other assignments, Sister Lupita served as superior and coordinator of Assumption Elementary and High School and director of the Sister Formation Institute in Manila, Philippines and religious superior and principal of the High School and president of the Junior College in Hishoten, Osaka-fu, Japan.
Sister Lupita is perhaps best known as the co-founder of the Religious of the Assumption Mission in San Ildefonso, Mexico in 1979, where she lived and worked among the Otomi Indians.
In 1994 she received an honorary degree, honoris causa, from Assumption College in Worcester. Click here to read the citation read by then President Joseph Hagan on that occasion.
Dates and places say little, however, of the impact this extraordinary woman and Assumption sister had on so many people. Here are some memories of Lupita, shared by those who knew her:
"For me, Lupita brought a breath of fresh air to the Province, the newness of the Vatican Council and the resurgimento of the Congregation. She was my superior in Bay Haven where she instituted the Charismatic meetings, took driving lessons so she could go with Sr. Mercedes to the poor Cuban immigrants. She was lively, ready for any venture when it had to do with the Kingdom. I appreciated her sacrifice to come to the USA which (as she confided to me) at first filled her with trepidation. God rest her soul in peace." Sr.Charlotte, RA (Philadelphia)
"Our friend, Lupita, has gone ahead of us. Everyone's remembrance of her is full of love, and joy. And some sorrow. I've known her most of my life. I could even say I wouldn't be here in Assumption but for her. Some Mexico Mission friends of yesteryear have written some lines after years of silence. The remembrance of her opens up the heart and the beautiful, deep experience of having discovered AMIGOS among ourselves, the Sisters and the people of her beloved Mexico. The world wasn't big enough for her love, truly.
I am blessed to have been able to see her for the last time in Queretaro this summer and to have heard her say my name, in recognition, even if she barely spoke anymore. We have known a saint. Her heart, her life was all for God and others." Sr.Cecilia, RA (Lansdale)
"Lupe was a marvelous woman. It was a grace to live with her through those early years of the 60s. Those years were not at all easy: Guadalupe was Mexican by birth, had lived and worked twenty years in the Philippines, then on to Japan for a shorter period and then arriving in the U.S. as Provincial in 1957. With her missionary heart, she entered whole-heartedly into such a variety of cultures, and temperaments and ways of doing things even in the sameness of Assumption religious life. Her intelligence and even more her generosity helped her to sift the currents of the pre-Vatican II church in America. Her time before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament , her love of Marie Eugenie and of Assumption spirituality helped her plan formation programs for young sisters and guide the Province through turbulent times. She was impetuous -- embracing the charismatic movement in its early days, impulsive -- planning all kinds of tricks for the feast of Holy Innocents and daring -- setting up various parish communities -- yet always ready to obey and change when asked to by her superiors.
Reading through the memories of other sisters brings her back to life and I thank the Lord again for the example and friendship of this wonderful Sister and Friend." Sr.Therese Margaret, RA(Worcester)
May you rest in peace, dear Lupita. Thank you for the privilege of having known you. Your life and witness continue to inspire us.