Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Sister Miriam Mendoza brings guidance, light to Hispanic community 

By NATALIA DURON, Staff Writer | Published March 12, 2024  | En Español

ATLANTA—Sister Miriam Mendoza has joined the Archdiocese of Atlanta to work in the Hispanic and Latino Ministry and with the Office of Vocations.  

A native of Guadalajara, Mexico, and belonging to the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Refuge, Sister Miriam has learned what true service and guidance means for the Hispanic and Latino community and women throughout Atlanta.  

Sister Miriam Mendoza, RFR, joined the staff of the Archdiocese of Atlanta to work in Hispanic and Latino Ministry and with the Office of Vocations. She worked for several years to strengthen religious education programs at Divine Mercy Mission. Photo by Nichole Golden

Before joining the archdiocese, Sister Miriam worked in the Cathedral of Christ the King with the Divine Mercy Mission in Brookhaven. This Hispanic mission sought to support children and adults through religious education. Though the program was small when she first started, it eventually expanded into a large network of support.  

Sister Miriam had been working in the Divine Mercy Mission for about six years. For many sisters, they transition to a new mission every three years, Sister Miriam said. This year, she decided it was time for a change.  

Father Rey Pineda, director of the Office of Vocations, said that in her role for the archdiocese, Sister Miriam supports Hispanic communities, and additionally guides discernment for women. Sister Miriam observes the community and gauges vocational support and reports to Father Pineda about these needs.  

Sister Miriam and two fellow Franciscan sisters provide services to Hispanics throughout the Atlanta area. They help the community find direction in a new world, as well as assist women in finding religious purpose.  

“Franciscans have this spirit of service, and so there’s a lot of ways that different orders will be formed to provide for a need,” Father Pineda said. “Her order arose from that same sense of being present in parish life and being a motherly presence. Their charism is really an accompaniment in that way. They cover a lot of ground; they teach, they administrate.”  

Sister Miriam emphasized the importance of Hispanic guidance in Atlanta for women, saying that for Hispanics, when they come to the United States, they can feel disconnected and discriminated against. 

During times like these, the Hispanic community wants to feel welcomed, she said.  

“We could always just embrace the Hispanic community, and that’d be it,” Sister Miriam said. “But it is necessary to give them more. We know that we are not only body, but also spirit. And there are many associations that provide support for health and psychological needs, but then spiritual needs are left out. And that is where we can enter.”  

Having Sister Miriam is a sign of the growth of the Hispanic community, and there is a need to see themselves represented in the leadership of the church, Father Pineda said.  

“Having a religious sister on board is a gift and privilege,” he said.