In tribute to Sen. Mary Jane Garcia


My dear friend, Mary Jane García, was many things: a New Mexico state Senator, a businesswoman, an anthropologist, a historian, an advocate for human and especially women’s rights, protector of animals great and small and a preservationist. My tribute is mainly about Mary Jane as a woman of faith.

Her Catholic faith was centered around her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, especially under the title of the Sacred Heart. She was devoted to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as Our Lady of Guadalupe. During the senate sessions she would keep a votive candle burning at her desk in the senate chamber. It was her quiet way of praying for a successful session.

Every year she would climb “A” Mountain on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She became a communion minister at her parish in Doña Ana and would take communion to the bedridden in their homes or at a nursing home.

Mary Jane was a prime mover when the old church of Our Lady of Purification was restored, as well as when it was time to build the beautiful new church in Doña Ana.

She was never one to stay on the sidelines and watch things happen. She was a worker, an activist for all things good and noble, a tireless woman who had a passion for making the world a better place. I am glad to say that she was knowledgeable of the social justice and peace teachings of the church, and she applied these in her political agenda. Her faith taught her that the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves, includes compassion, respect, being a voice for the voiceless and help to the helpless.

She and we, the bishops of New Mexico, did not always agree on everything, but on most things we did.

I close with these words to her:

“Mary Jane, in the name of your many friends, including me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you did for so many. God showered you with gifts of love, compassion, wisdom and grace, and these you gave them back to God in your life of service to others. The world is a better place because of you. íGracias, querida amiga!”

Richard Ramirez, CSB is Bishop emeritus of Las Cruces.

Sen. Mary Jane Garcia, anthropologist, Richard Ramirez