Maria Molina: Viviendo para servir (Living to serve)

Like many people in York County, Maria Molina speaks Spanish. It’s the language she spoke when she shared her story with us, so it’s the language we’ll use to share it with you.

Presented by: SpiriTrust Lutheran
Written by: Anthony Machcinski
Maria Molina (Foto de Paul Chaplin para Our York Media)
*** Click here to read this story in English ***

“Who does not live to serve, does not serve to live.” 

It’s not a perfect translation, but to Maria Molina of York, the phrase she lives by — “Quien no vive para servir, no sirve para vivir” — is much more beautiful.  

“When you do things with your heart,” she says through translator Laila Martin, “that’s what makes you really happy.” 

Maria, 59, has lived a life serving others since she was a girl growing up on a farm in San Jose de Salcedo in the Dominican Republic. As the seventh of 13 children, she remembers cooking for the workers over a fire pit near the fields. 

They were a poor family, but she says that was never an obstacle. They had a strong community around them that illustrated the importance of helping others.

“I want people to treat others how they would treat their own children. You have to give without giving something back.”

In 1977, Maria moved to the Bronx. About 20 years later, she visited York and moved to the area. She fell in love with the county’s luscious farmlands that reminded her of home and a strong community that looked out for one another.  

She found her own ways to give back to the community. When she and her husband owned La Familia, a restaurant on Fulton Street, they’d often give away food. More simply, she’d make newcomers feel more comfortable in the area by showing them around.  

One day, a woman was having an issue with her car out in front of Maria’s house. Maria offered the woman food and water while she waited, and the woman told Maria about CASA, an organization that advocates for the Latino community.  

Maria has been volunteering with CASA in York County ever since. Mainly, she’s helped foster a nurturing and family-like community, one with the beliefs that were instilled in her by her family in the Dominican.  

It’s a trait that she’s continued with her husband Jose, her children, Rachel, Josieo and Marcellinus, and her nine grandchildren. 

“It comes from the heart,” Maria says. “I want people to treat others how they would treat their own children. You have to give without giving something back.”  

“Quien no vive para servir, no sirve para vivir”.

Es una frase que define la vida de María Molina de York.

“Hacer las cosas con el corazón”, dice a través de la traductora Laila Martin, “eso es lo que te hace  realmente feliz”.

María, de 59 años, ha vivido sirviendo a otros desde que era una niña y crecía en una granja en San José de Salcedo en la República Dominicana. La séptima de 13 hermanos, recuerda cocinar para los trabajadores en una fogata cerca de los campos.

Eran una familia pobre, pero ella dice que eso nunca fue un obstáculo. Tenían una comunidad fuerte a su alrededor que demostraba la importancia de ayudar a los demás.

``Viene del corazón. Quiero que las personas traten a los demás como tratarían a sus propios hijos. Tienes que dar sin esperar nada a cambio.``

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Maria Molina

En 1977, María se trasladó al Bronx. Unos 20 años después, visitó York y se mudó a la zona. Se enamoró de las exuberantes tierras agrícolas del condado que le recordaban su hogar y donde había una comunidad fuerte que se cuidaba mutuamente.

Encontró su propia forma de retribuir a la comunidad. Cuando ella y su esposo eran dueños de La Familia, un restaurante en Fulton Street, a menudo regalaban comida. De forma más simple, hacía que los recién llegados se sintieran más cómodos dándoles a conocer el área.

Un día, una mujer estaba teniendo un problema con su automóvil frente a la casa de María. María le ofreció comida y agua mientras esperaba, y la mujer le contó a María sobre CASA, una organización que aboga por la comunidad latina.

María ha sido voluntaria con CASA en el condado de York desde entonces. Principalmente, ella ha ayudado a fomentar una comunidad educativa y familiar, con las creencias que le inculcó su familia en la República Dominicana.

Es un rasgo que ella haya continuado con su esposo José, sus hijos, Rachel, Josieo y Marcellinus, y sus nueve nietos.

“Viene del corazón”, dice María. “Quiero que las personas traten a los demás como tratarían a sus propios hijos. Tienes que dar sin esperar nada a cambio”.

*** Click here to read this story in English ***

“Who does not live to serve, does not serve to live.” 

It’s not a perfect translation, but to Maria Molina of York, the phrase she lives by — “Quien no vive para servir, no sirve para vivir” — is much more beautiful.  

“When you do things with your heart,” she says through translator Laila Martin, “that’s what makes you really happy.” 

Maria, 59, has lived a life serving others since she was a girl growing up on a farm in San Jose de Salcedo in the Dominican Republic. As the seventh of 13 children, she remembers cooking for the workers over a fire pit near the fields. 

They were a poor family, but she says that was never an obstacle. They had a strong community around them that illustrated the importance of helping others.

“I want people to treat others how they would treat their own children. You have to give without giving something back.”

In 1977, Maria moved to the Bronx. About 20 years later, she visited York and moved to the area. She fell in love with the county’s luscious farmlands that reminded her of home and a strong community that looked out for one another.  

She found her own ways to give back to the community. When she and her husband owned La Familia, a restaurant on Fulton Street, they’d often give away food. More simply, she’d make newcomers feel more comfortable in the area by showing them around.  

One day, a woman was having an issue with her car out in front of Maria’s house. Maria offered the woman food and water while she waited, and the woman told Maria about CASA, an organization that advocates for the Latino community.  

Maria has been volunteering with CASA in York County ever since. Mainly, she’s helped foster a nurturing and family-like community, one with the beliefs that were instilled in her by her family in the Dominican.  

It’s a trait that she’s continued with her husband Jose, her children, Rachel, Josieo and Marcellinus, and her nine grandchildren. 

“It comes from the heart,” Maria says. “I want people to treat others how they would treat their own children. You have to give without giving something back.”  

Sponsored by

SpiriTrust Lutheran provides exceptional health, human and senior living services by supporting persons in achieving an optimal quality of life.

spiritrustlutheran.org

info@spiritrustlutheran.org
717-854-3971
1050 Pennsylvania Ave. York, PA 17404

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