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7/17/2012 9:22:00 AM
She found their home in Monitor
Catholic Sentinel photo by Gerry Lewin
Juanita Constante in front of a display of family photos.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Gerry Lewin
Juanita Constante in front of a display of family photos.
Clarice Keating
Of the Catholic Sentinel

Juanita Constante and her daughter Carmen Espinoza gaze at a photo of their first house in Oregon. There was no bathroom and 10 children, but still the memories are fond ones.

Life Magazine published a photo of that house in a feature on migrant farmers. The article is part of a display at the pioneros reunion, one of many that wrap around the parish hall, showing generations of photos from each family.

When Juanita and her husband Candelario left Texas, they had nothing. Arriving in Oregon in 1967 with the whole family squeezed in a Buick, they set about building a home. With the children working along side their parents in the fields picking strawberries, the family eventually saved enough money to buy a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Monitor where Juanita has lived for more than 40 years.

From 2002 until last year, Juanita worked in the parish office at St. Paul in Silverton. She turns 81 this month, and proudly points out photos of her 34 grandchildren. Her daughter, Dr. Mary Lou Constante, moved from the strawberry fields to the medical field and today works as primary care physician for Providence in Portland.

Related Stories:
• Though rocky at first, life was better in Oregon
• Young German priest part of migrant ministry vanguard
• 'Pioneros' are origin of migrant community in Marion County

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