Left to right: Mother General M. Maria Cibrian, MC-M, M. Alberta Piedad Gonzalez Cerritos, M. Carmen Martinez Adame, M. Dania Velazquez Cano, M. Oralia Arzola.
We were founded by Mother Carmen Serrano y Rugama, a woman of deep prayer, with a simple heart and attentive to the needs of others, who received inspiration in 1913 and Fr. Julián Collell y Guix CMF, a man with great missionary zeal, tireless catechist and propagator of the good press a faithful Son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The Foundation was authorized by the Rescript of the Pontificate of Benedict XV, on July 6, 1920, and canonically founded on March 19, 1921 in Mexico City by decree of the Lord Archbishop Don José Mora y del Río. Soon after, in 1926, when religious persecution broke out, he emigrated to the United States of America. While in this country, several fields of mission are opened, in which they carry out the evangelizing task with great and ardent apostolic zeal. In 1938, The Congregation was growing both in numbers and in vision. A group returned to re-establish the congregation in Mexico.
Since that time, the Cordi Marian Sisters have actively labored in service to the poor through teaching, Evangelization, social work and prayer. In the early 1930’s, the Cordi Marian Mother House was established at 2910 Morales Street, San Antonio, Texas. The sisters first concentrated their work along with the Claretian fathers in what was first St. Geronimo church and soon after became Christ the King Church. They helped build a Parochial school and staffed it from 1944 to its closing in mid 1980’s. Along with the school the sisters also directed many parish Religious programs in the archdiocese and in several surrounding towns in Texas and in other states. The Sisters also helped Father Virgil Elizondo open and staff the MACC bookstore for many of its early years.
In 1957, with the help of Bishop Stephen A. Leven, auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio, the Cordi-Marian Sisters acquired La Villa Cordimariana, a farm of 85 acres northwest of San Antonio. It was exactly 15 miles from the convent on Morales Street where the Sisters had lived since 1932.
When the Bishop made the canonical visit to the Morales Street convent in the fall of 1956, he recommended that since this was the Formation House, a less distracting ambience be considered. A few weeks later, Bishop Leven told the Sisters about a property that was for sale on FM 471. In addition to the 85 acres of land, there was a stone Mediterranean “castle”, a separate servants’ quarters building with a 4-car garage, a huge barn and some farm equipment. After visiting the property, Mother Mary Quevedo and her Council contacted the Superior General, Mother Alicia Treviño, to get the permission to purchase the property.
With the help of Archbishop Stephen E. Leven, in 1957, the Sisters acquired 85 acres of property just outside the city limits of San Antonio. At this property, known as the Villa, they built a new mother house, established their novitiate, and worked a small farm. In 1967, a 5,000 square foot limestone chapel was built for the sisters’ private prayer and public religious celebrations.
In 1987 the number of young women in formation had dwindled, but we still had a building available for ministry. There had been an increasing number of requests for a place for retreats, but the dorm did not fit to new need. So, a renovation project began which converted the dorms into individual rooms suitable for double occupancy. When this project was completed, the “retreat house” was available for service. The retreatants ate in the Sisters dining room for all their meals.
There is a capacity of 44 beds in this building on two floors. The “gang” showers and toilets that served the Sisters so well in the 70’s were now used by the retreatants every weekend. The Cordi-Marian Villa was on its way to becoming a well-known retreat Center.