Sister Jacinta Millán was born María Socorro in 1929 in Ventura, California, the fourth of five children. The family of three girls and two boys was closely knit, deeply Catholic and very aware of their Mexican cultural heritage. Her parents, Josefa Pulido and José Millán, were immigrants from Mexico who settled in Ventura.
She began her education at Holy Cross School at Mission San Buenaventura and went on to attend the Academy of Saint Catherine in Ventura. She entered the novitiate in Notre Dame, Indiana, on July 27, 1947 when she was 18. In 1948, she received her habit and her religious name in honor of one of the children to whom Our Lady of Fatima appeared. Sister Jacinta made her first profession of vows in 1950.
Sr. Jacinta attended St. Mary College in Indiana for two years and then became a teacher, serving in several Catholic high schools in California from 1950 to 1974. She felt a strong desire to serve the poor in the Sisters of the Holy Cross’s new mission in Brazil but, at the age of 30, she was misdiagnosed with cancer of the lymph glands, which eliminated the possibility of being called to an overseas assignment. (It would be 15 years before the misdiagnosis would be revealed).
In 1960 she earned a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s College of the Wasatch, Salt Lake City, and in 1965 a master’s degree from Stanford University in California.
During her years in California, Sr. Jacinta was active in the United Farm Worker movement under Cesar Chavez. She was also involved in youth ministry and in Cursillo retreats. She also helped organize the Alviso Project, an afterschool program which offered tutoring, sports cooking and sewing classes to the poverty-stricken community of Alviso. In 1977 she was one of the founders of Centro Pastoral, a pastoral center for Hispanics in San Jose, Calif. This committee provided a support group and a network for those interested in Hispanic ministries.
In 1984, Sr. Jacinta ministered in central Utah after the Most Rev. William K. Weigand, eighth Bishop of Salt Lake City, asked the Holy Cross mother superior for a bilingual sister to go to Richfield. She served there until 1990, when she became part of the formation faculty at Assumption Seminary San Antonio, Texas. From there, she worked in parishes in Monterey and Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
Sr. Jacinta returned to Utah in 1999 and joined Holy Cross Ministries at the invitation of Sr. Suzanne Brennan, CSC. She served in the organization’s parish health program for 10 years.
In 2009, at the age of 80, Sr. Jacinta retired and returned to Saint Catherine by the Sea in Ventura, California. While there she worked in the spirituality center helping out with spiritual direction and visiting the sick. When her health declined, she moved to Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana, where she died the morning of April 15. Sister Jacinta was known for her welcoming attitude toward all and her closeness to her large extended family.
A private service was held April 16 at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana with interment at Our Lady of Peace Cemetery. A memorial Mass will be scheduled when possible. Friends are invited to remember Sr. Jacinta by making a donation in her name to the Sisters of the Holy Cross Ministry with the Poor Fund at www.cscsisters.org.