The Mendoza Family Altar


These photographs depict the altar in the home of my grandparents, Thom and Judy West Mendoza. The altar is comprised of a wooden table, covered with a table runner, that holds many religious objects, like statues, prayer cards, and other items of reverence, as well as family pictures. Adherents to the Catholic faith, my grandparents have maintained this altar since 2000 as a way to “center their faith life.” It is used every day in the Mendoza household for morning prayers, evening prayers, prayers as a couple, prayers as individuals, and for consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To them, it symbolizes the continuous love and devotion to Christ present in their families. Judy’s ancestors came to New Orleans by way of Italy and Ireland in the late 1800s, bringing their Catholic faith with them. Judy’s aunt consecrated herself to the Lord as a Catholic nun. Aunt Phil, as she was affectionately called, inspired Judy to follow the Catholic faith, too. Thom’s ancestors from the Philippines first arrived at Ellis Island before making their way to New Orleans in the early 1900s. They continually practiced their faith and passed it down through generations. Upon their marriage in 1968, two Catholic families merged, and the altar is a beautiful reminder of the Catholic faith that their ancestors passed down to them.


Place(s): New Orleans, Louisiana

– Daniel Senentz, Jr.

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more