Luisa and her husband Luis are originally from Venezuela. With great sadness they had to leave their beloved country eleven years ago. They have found a new home in the United States and are currently living in Harrison, NY, with their four children Luis 17, Estefania 15, Natalia 9 and Nicolas 6. When they first moved to NY, Luisa called her spiritual director in Venezuela and asked to be put in contact with a Legionary priest near her new home. Then through this Legionary father she and her family were introduced to the movement in the NYCT area, Luisa joined a women’s encounter team and friendships were formed.
Luisa met her first Legionary priest when she was 13 years old and had entered high school in Caracas, Venezuela. She spent her high school years doing community service with her school. Luisa shared, “We went once a month to an orphanage and once a month to a nursing home, both situated in the slums in the outskirts of Caracas.” It was this constant contact with the poorest of the poor that kept Luisa so grounded and so open to help anybody in need.
Luisa entered the Regnum Christi movement when she turned 18 years old during her first year at the university. Under the guidance of Consecrated Patricia Soto, she began attending encounters and for her apostolate she was a Challenge team leader of ECYD. (the girls’ formation program) Throughout the years Luisa was a team leader for several teams.
At 21, she married Luis. Luis was also an active member of Regnum Christi. They both started “Juventud Misionera” (Youth missions) and “Familia Misionera” (family missions) in Venezuela. On the weekends they would accompany youth and couples on missions in the slums and little towns close to Caracas. They both developed the formation programs that they then taught to the other couples, and to the poor families. Together they planned the weekend mission activities. “It was an amazing experience to have had the opportunity to help others, to sacrifice for others, and to do it with my husband,” says Luisa. She is so blessed and thankful that she shares her faith with her husband.
For a time the Mendozas moved to the USA and lived in Chicago, New York and Miami. Then they went back to Venezuela, where they thought they were going to build a home, have kids and raise their family but God had other plans for them. Four years later they had to move out of Venezuela and back to the USA because of the political situation.
Once settled in NY, Luis, their son, started going to air soft activities, which was a type of Leadership Training Program for younger boys, with Father Jason Smith, LC, and Estefania went to Challenge with Consecrated Regnum Christi Glory Darbellay and Ally Wheeler. Luis and Estefania have also had the opportunity to help the poor children at “Escuela Mano Amiga” in Venezuela by collecting donations to buy school supplies for the children. They were then able to give the collected items to them personally when they went to Caracas on summer vacations! All these activities were possible thanks to Father Carlos Zancajo, LC, who was previously living in Caracas and helped with the planning. Luis and Estefania went to World Youth Day in summer 2016 with a group of youth from the USA under the guidance of Father Simon Devereux, LC and Father Daniel Brandenburg, LC. Luis and Estefania have also had the opportunity to do the Holy Week Youth Mission in New York City and Luisa has also gone for a day or two to help with her two younger kids, Natalia and Nicolas.
Luisa has spent her recent years attending encounters and helping out the Legionary priests in one way or another. Her main job has been at home attending her kids, since she still has the four of them at home. Once her little one turned 6 years old, she started enjoying a bit of free time so she starting to be active again in apostolate. Luisa is helping this year in the planning of Advent by Candlelight, an evening for women.
And Luisa is very excited to be starting a new apostolate called SoulCore which is a prayer experience that combines the Rosary with core strengthening, stretching and functional movement. SoulCore is an independent apostolate that Luisa learned about a few months ago when she went on a retreat and she really loved it! She is now a certified SoulCore leader and offering classes in Greenwich, CT on Wednesday mornings- all are welcome! More info
When asked what does Regnum Christi mean to you? Luisa shared, “Regnum Christi is a second family for me. I owe a lot of whom I am to the Legionary of Christ priests and Consecrated women of Regnum Christi. They have been an important pillar in my life since I entered the movement in 1990. I have always been surrounded by priests and consecrated who really strive to live a holy life, always giving an excellent example of charity, hard work, sacrifice, love for others and for Christ and our Blessed Mother. And today, they continue to be a great example for my kids. The Legionary priests are always available to guide, help and talk with my teenagers, which has been a great help for us as parents. I am truly thankful for them and I feel blessed to have them here close to my family.”