After months of study and preparation, and 14 years working in this country, Sr. Alejandra Perez, M.S.C.Gpe., was sworn in as a new citizen of the United States.
She is the second member of the local community of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady of Guadalupe sisters — who have partnered with the Viatorians for more than 60 years — to become a U.S. citizen this year. Sr. Humberta Hernandez, M.S.C.Gpe., took the oath in September.
Sr. Alejandra was among the nearly 2,000 people from 120 different countries who were sworn in Wednesday during a naturalization ceremony at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. It was the largest citizenship ceremony ever hosted by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
“It was very emotional,” says Sr. Alejandra, who has served in this country with her religious community for 14 years, “but as a citizen I can do more for my community now.”
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was among the state dignitaries to welcome the new citizens. He embraced the diversity they bring to the state, encouraging them not to lose their native languages or their cultures.
“Your stories, as American citizens are just beginning,” Pritzker said. “And your presence here today is shaping our future for the better. Together, we will make this state and this nation stronger by living up to its promise.”
Sr. Alejandra is a native of Guadalajara, Mexico. She made her first profession as a religious in 2002 and she now serves as the local superior of the community based at the Province Center. Sr. Humberta is a native of Chiapas, Mexico. She professed her first vows in 2003 and was based at the Province Center from 2011-2015 and she returned in 2020.