From left: Cindy Baker, Patricia Almazan, Joe Almazan, and son-in-law Nick Baker.
By Patricia Ann Almazan
LAOG Member since 1989
You took me in when I was out,
Downhearted, lonely and blue
You showed me the way, the path to follow,
And who I must look up to.
For years you cradled me in your loving arms;
My precious soul and being;
Guiding them so carefully through
Life’s toils and in-betweens.
You taught me love for God and man
You made me see the light;
You gave me so much happiness,
You made my future bright.
Many years have passed since I left my home, Maryvale;
I want you to know if I left you with doubts
Don’t fear for you did not fail…
From the depths of my heart, I thank you
For it’s plain to see
All my wonderful life thus far is beholden
To God and to thee.
When Patricia Almazan counts her blessings, she usually begins with Maryvale.“Everything I enjoy today – my beautiful family, my lovely home life, everything about my life thus far — I attribute to my humble start at Maryvale.”
Almazan explained how she entered Maryvale during the 1950s, coming under the care and tutelage of the many dedicated Sisters of the Daughters of Charity.
“Sister Maria, Sister Frances, Sister Mary Vincent, Sister Elizabeth and Sister Esther were among those who would play an integral role in her life, she said.“But I often tested the patience of these wonderful, glorious Sisters of Charity with my innocent mischief, similar to the Haley Mills character in ‘The Trouble with Angels.’”Almazan recalls the time when she orchestrated a midnight swim in the pool with some fellow co-conspirators, later congratulating herself for her ingenuity in masterminding the clandestine caper.But the sisters were not fooled. “The nuns knew,” she said. “They always knew.”The midnight dip was not the only time Almazan tried the patience of the good sisters. But while she continued to engage in the occasional battle of wills, the sisters responded with something she had often found missing outside Maryvale’s walls – understanding and compassion.“The wonderful nuns always gave their love, time and energy, and left an everlasting value system with the children of Maryvale,” Almazan said.
Another thing that stood out during her time at Maryvale was the support and enrichment supplied by the Los Angeles Orphanage Guild, which continues to be a prime benefactor to Maryvale’s girls.The LAOG provided the girls with a range of activities and experiences that were well beyond anything they could vividly recall one LAOG-sponsored party where I was seated next to then-teenage heartthrob Fabian!”
Of particular significance were the exceptional educational opportunities Maryvale’s girls were offered, as the girls attended high schools in cities from Montebello to Pasadena, and some were able to enroll in Mount St. Mary’s College.In all, the Maryvale experience has provided generations of young girls an opportunity to find continuity and structure in what frequently had been a tumultuous existence. Almazan points to the upscale college-type campus, the comfortable dining halls, the Olympic-size pool and other amenities as evidence of “how beautiful and extraordinary Maryvale was then and continues to be today.”