Hispanic Heritage Month: Sister Norma, a beacon of hope

Local News

SAN JUAN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — When it comes to the Hispanic community in the Rio Grande Valley there are many people who have made a huge impact in the world.

Sister Norma Pimentel, director of the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley is one of them. Sister Norma said the RGV community holds a special place in her heart because it is her home.

“I grew up here in the valley, this is home for me,” she said.

Pimentel grew up and went to school in Brownsville, Texas. She said education was important to her and she graduated from college, she did so with a degree in fine arts.

“My plans were to conquer the world with my great talent that I have with my hands, and my art,” she said.

However, she did not continue following her degree’s passion after graduation. Instead, she joined the Missionaries of Jesus, where she discovered her love for God.

“I wanted to just completely know him and make him part of who I was,” she said.

Through that journey, Pimentel began to get more involved with immigration, a huge topic here in the RGV. 

“I actually came to live with immigrants and refugees in the covenant because they kept bringing them into the Missionaries of Jesus,” she said.

Pimentel said at that time there was no detention facility for mothers and babies. She said the sisters were always on call. 

Although Pimentel felt she was doing the right thing at the time, her transition in becoming sister Norma was not easy for her family.

“The very first time that I said no to my dad and said ‘no señor aquí yo creo que usted se equivocó porque Dios no puede estar equivocado'”, she said. (No sir, I believe you must be mistaken because God can’t be wrong)

According to Pimentel, her family felt there was more of a future with her degree.

“My family was not happy, they thought like ‘no Norma, it’s not the best thing you could do, you know you have so many things going for yourself, you have a great career, you cannot just let it all go’,” she said.

Although Pimentel understood her family’s frustration, following God’s plan brought her closer to the RGV, a community she now calls family.

“Yo soy uno, con mi gente, ( I am one with my people). I connect so well con mi gente, you know they’re my people,” she said.

Pimentel said through God’s plan she has been able to connect and help those who are seeking a better life. 

“It’s a big responsibility that God gives me but at the same time I am honored,” she said.

Pimentel said one of the biggest lessons she has learned and encourages others to follow is to love oneself.

“You don’t need to be like no one else but yourself, it is to discover you and that is who you need to be and be proud of that,” she said.

Pimentel said unity needs to be present in order to make a difference in our world and our community.

Translations were made from Spanish to English where Sister Pimentel spoke.

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