Maria Reina Diaz, “Reina” “Mamita” 83, of Perth Amboy, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 29, 2022 at John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey.
She was born on January 2, 1939, in Sector La Llanada, La Vega, Dominican Republic on the day of the Epiphany of the Lord.
She was predeceased by her parents Jose Dolores Nuñez and Josefina Hernandez de Nuñez, her husband, the late, Manuel Maria Diaz; her two children, Manuel Ramon and Luis Maria. her four brothers; Ramón Antonio, Fermin Alcadio, Gumercindo Esperanza, and Daniel.
She is survived by three daughters; Ramona Eva and her husband Sergio Diaz, Maria Celis and her husband German Gonzalez, and Suhary (Sr. M. Mercedes). Maria loved her 9 grandchildren individually and deeply: Anacelis and her husband Anthony Diaz, Michelle, Manny, Raquel, Deacon Matthew, Jazmin Raquel, Luis Manuel, Nicholas German, and Jesely Theresa. Her 5 great-grandchildren were a special joy in her life: Analise, Lucas Anthony, Isaiah Anthony, Eve Marie, and Elizabeth Rose her adopted sister Maria Reyn And her two daughters in law, Maria and Raquel.
Maria Reina was married to her late husband Manuel Maria Diaz for over 50 years.
She was a loving and dedicated wife, mother, godmother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and aunt. Her love of God and firm Catholic faith was the cornerstone of Maria’s life. She led her life with faith, hope, and above all, love. Her joyful and selfless spirit brought endless joy to all who met her.
Beyond being an admirable wife, mother, and grandmother, her life’s purpose was to share the love of God with others. Her love of Mary was instilled in her since childhood. She belonged to a sodality, Hijas de Maria (Daughters of Mary), in which Mary promised that she would die a holy death and would come for her personally. Mary kept her promise. In the last couple of years she also joined the Legion of Mary, to which her oldest daughter is a member.
Education, especially in the faith, was paramount. In the Dominican Republic she trained as a Catechist and continued to teach the faith at Our Lady of Fatima in Perth Amboy, where she lovingly served. She was involved with Cursillo, an apostolic movement whose purpose is “to help Christians grow in faith, knowledge, and personal holiness. Bring Christian values to all environments and people with whom they come into contact.” All of whom she met can say that Maria did just that in her words and actions.
At one point she felt the call to bring Jesus to the sick and trained to be an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister to the Sick. This was a special joy for her because she brought the sick true nourishment for their soul. Yet, in keeping with her character, she would find ways to meet their needs. One great example was when she found out that a bed ridden elderly couple was celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Maria Reina, the party planner par excellence, organized a renewal of vows and a family gathering. She took care of every detail down to what the lucky couple wore. Maria Reina never forgot the joy this brought to the couple and the family.
For three years, Maria Reina served in prison ministry and became the spiritual mother of many inmates. Strict prison regulations, thick iron bars, and judgment from others could not keep her from bringing the love of Christ.
Maria Reina taught her children to never despise the poor, that Jesus calls us to have a preferential love of the poor. She, who herself grew up poor, returned to the Dominican Republic to visit her family and bring a special mission to the impoverished. For example, there was the Baptism Party Mission to teach the children about the importance of Baptism with a reenactment of Sacrament using dolls and children as the priest, parents, and God-parents. At the end there was a party where all the girls kept their dolls and all received school supplies. Another mission included bringing food to inmates, donating clothing and shoes to poor children, and a conviction to spread the message of the Gospel with communities in most need.
Maria Reina was a talented woman when it came to arts and crafts. Sharing these gifts brought her great joy. Everything she did reflected her special creativity and passion. She sewed dresses, curtains, and decorative pillows, designed photo albums, and created beautiful flower arrangements. Music and poetry inspired and filled her soul. She would sing her own songs and expressed her love through poetry for friends and family on special occasions. When others saw every day, mundane items, Maria Reina saw potential and created beauty.
Maria Reina’s love language was cooking. The aroma of plantains, beans, and bustelo coffee permeated her kitchen. Feasts fit for royalty were prepared on the most ordinary of days for family and friends. The leftover food was saved for her neighbors and prepared containers to leave at their doors. Her famous flan was never missed at a birthday, holiday, or family celebration. In fact, she brought her flan for a birthday party at a restaurant.
It is fitting that she died on a Saturday, the day dedicated to Mary, and that her funeral mass will be on the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus - when the light of the world entered the temple. It is also the World Day of Consecrated Life, celebrating those who are dedicated to the service of the Lord. The Gospel for that day says:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word…”
Maria’s legacy will live on in her family, who loved her deeply. They will keep her memory alive and live the many lessons she taught:
Enjoying ice cream with her. She always gave me a scoop of strawberry and vanilla.
Mamita making us a bed to sleep over.
Making me ice pops and sleep overs.
Sleepovers and making beautiful hair designs.
We will miss her pancakes and her cooking.
Showing us how to make scrambled eggs.
Teaching us how to pray.
The importance of praying the family rosary.
The unconditional love of family and the importance/value of keeping an energetic hopefulness.
I shall forever remember and keep close to my heart her creativity, her ability to decorate, and showing love for others by cooking.
Mamita always wanted to make sure I was on the right path to find my future wife, “Con el pelo largo y bello”
Fe y fortaleza. The strength and courage to remain steady through the most burdensome moments; accept them. Hay sol después de aguacero. “Todo pasa”
She taught me how to love others fearlessly, selflessly, and fully.
“Hay que amar y perdonar ” to love and forgive one another, to be a “mujer limpia y pura'' and to spread the pure love of God .
Caring about self-care, looking “put together” and the importance of prayer and family.
Always help those in need, even if there is a cost. Love can accomplish all things. Never forget about the youth.
Siempre pensar en las necesidades de los demás. She always found ways to help me help others, the poor. From a young age she taught me how to suffer well for others, like when she would make us walk barefoot to church during holy week. I realized lately that I have a gift from her- listening to Christian music to bring me peace and comfort.
Su fe fue incomparable, fuerte. Sus detalles de enviar tarjetas para toda clase de ocasiones es inspiradora. Cuando se enfermaba ella estaba pendiente de lo que se necesitaba - todo detalle para el enfermo. Siempre estaba pendiente de los pobres. Y algo que me decía es, “Ayuda a los jóvenes! Siempre ayuda a los jóvenes que es un regalo que tú tienes. Yo te ayudo.” Cuando yo necesitaba consejo, podía contar con su sabiduría.
She showed me the great gift of forgiveness and mercy. I will miss her crazy humor.
Please share your own personal stories with us in the Tribute Wall.
Visitation will be at Ana Maria Zevallos/Skrocki, Home for Funerals, 467 State Street, Perth Amboy, NJ 08861 on Tuesday, February 1, 2022, from 5-9 pm.
Funeral services will begin at 10 am on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 from the funeral home.
A mass will be celebrated at 11:15 am at Our Lady of Fatima Church. Burial to follow at Alpine Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to honor the memory of Maria R. Diaz to Perth Amboy Catholic School, 500 State Street, Perth Amboy, NJ 08861.
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