September 19, 2019
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Women’s Voices Series: Conscience and the Role of Women Religious into the Future | Sr. Teresa Maya


Welcome, welcome, welcome,
on behalf of Boston College and the Church in the
21st Century Center. I know many of you. But for those that don’t know
me, my name is Karen Kiefer. And I’m the associate director
here at the C21 Center. And so happy to be a
part of this night. And a part of the
women’s series. We actually started the women’s
series at the Center back in 2004. And it continued twice
a year for, I think, it was probably up
until about 2011. And then it went on sabbatical. And then when Tom Groom
became director of the Center, he was like, where is
the women’s series? So it was resurrected. And this is actually the
second program this year, which we’re thrilled about. Many of you also
know at the Center that we have a theme that
follows through the year both semesters. This year it’s conscience. So our first
magazine in the fall was called Conscience At Work. And the second magazine is
called Forming Conscience. For those of you that are not on
our mailing list, please join. It’s free. And the magazines are actually
in the back of the room. And they’re truly
wonderful resources. And then of course
our programming usually complements the theme. I also want to make
note that we do have a third magazine
in honor of Sister Maya, it’s The Treasure of
Hispanic Catholicism. And that came out last year. It’s also– I don’t think it was in
honor, but that’s good. So how great that
we can take a night and celebrate the jewels
of the Catholic church, the women religious. I know personally,
aside from my parents, the Sisters of St.
Joseph raised me. And I’m forever grateful. But a big yay to everyone. So anyway, Tom had reached out
and connected with Sister Maya and extended this invitation. And we were hoping,
hoping, praying, praying that she would be able to come. And when she said
yes, we were thrilled. And the fact that she can
speak tonight about conscience in the role of women
religious into the future, is just, again, special. So thank you very much. I now have the great
honor of introducing her. So Sister Teresa Maya, she’s
a member of the congregation of the Sisters of
Charity – I know we have a number of Sisters
of Charity here tonight – in the incarnate word,
from San Antonio since 1994. Her ministry has
been in education. She served as a teacher,
a history professor, and an administrator. She has passion
for the formation of ministers for Hispanic and
Latinos in the United States. And Sister Teresa got her
B.A. at Yale University, Her M.A. at The Graduate
Theological Union at Berkeley, and her PhD from the
College of Mexico. She is currently serving as
the congregational leader for her congregation as the
President-elect of LCWR, which I’ve been told is about
45,000 sisters that are a part of that group. So anyway, we are blessed. And let’s give a warm
welcome to Sister Maya. Uno, dos, tres. Thank you. Well, first of all, I want
to think Tom and the Center for the invitation. I want to tell you
I wore green today even though I’m a Spurs fan. Because I knew I was going
to be here in Boston. And I’m very excited
to be back here. And I’m grateful that Boston
College has this series and that they’re looking
to women religious. So I think it’s
important and significant that we’re all here. And I’m very, very grateful
for the invitation. I had a beautiful tour of Boston
courtesy of the Sisters of St. Joseph as well. So double thanks to them. When Tom called me
about this series– and then he said I have
to talk about conscience. I thought, well, that’s
an interesting thing to talk about. So I had this question,
how is conscious of our current experience of
religious life in the United States a privilege
threshold for the future? How is our experience a
place that will really tell a story about the future,
not just of religious life, but of the Catholic Church. And of the mission of Jesus. And so I’m having
this deep thought when all I could remember
was a story of a visit I had in Chile. And we sponsor a
health care ministry that is now operating the
hospital of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. And so the chancellor
and the cardinal wanted to meet the sisters. So off we go to
Santiago de Chile. And we’re having dinner, and the
chancellor and vice chancellor of the university tell
me, well, religious life is on the way to extinction
in the United States. And that’s the first story
that came into my mind as I was preparing this. And I said, I was
so upset with him. How dare you. We are about to begin a
profound transformation, but not extinction. For sure not extinction. So then I kept trying to think
of what are the images that come into my mind as I think
of religious life in the United States? And then I’m sorry to
say, the second level of consciousness that I entered
into had to do with movies. So I started thinking, OK. So the nun story, maybe not,
maybe we could be Maria. My favorite one is
this one of course. I grew up hoping I
could fly one day, and then when I entered
there was no habit. Then of course are
more realistic films. And you’ve seen this
one, “Dead Man Walking”. And then actually to meet
the real nun in the story is even cooler. But then we have the series in– isn’t that a great series? But then we also
have the new kind of movies that are showing up. This is “The Magdalene Sisters”. And then we have “Philomena”. A very balanced
treatment, but yet, what are the images
that come to mind when we think of religious life? What comes to our consciousness
as we think about it? And as I’ve been
reflecting, this is the image that comes to
mind to a lot of my sisters. Now that only happens to
the west of the Mississippi, certainly not here. And it’s always about
how there’s fewer of us and how things are changing. So my question is how do we
focus on what’s still there? Not what has been, but
what’s still there. And I ran into this quote
in the Spanish magazine the Claretians publish. And it says, “In
religious life, we have been beating
ourselves too much. Many times we have told each
other what we do not have, who we are not, all the
things we cannot do. But the time has come for us to
tell each other over and over again what we are, what
we can, what we know, what we are capable of.” And so I think there is
a biblical story that goes with it. And when I pray with the
multiplication of the loaves and fishes, that’s
what Jesus did. He said, they told
him we only have five loaves and two
fishes, and all he said was bring that to me. Go find what you have,
not what you don’t have. Not who you are no
longer, but what you have. So I tell the sisters, maybe
we don’t recharge to 100%, the battery life in
some of our devices. But it still has a charge. So what is ours to
do at this time? With that charge? With what we have? With the loaves and fishes
that we still have before us? So I’m asking myself,
why are we still using words like aging and
diminishment and completion and transition, instead
of using words like– oh, and this is
interesting for me. I’m 50 this year,
it’s a big deal. So I thought of this image. There I am. Given a normal life
expectancy, maybe I live another 20, 35 years. And I don’t want to be
talking about diminishment and completion for
another 20 years. And the thing is, we’ve been
saying that for more than 10 or 15 years. Ever since I entered the convent
all we talk about is numbers. So how long is it
going to take us? And so instead of
these words, how come we’re not talking about
leaven and potential and transformation? So the next image
that came to mind as I’m reflecting on what
our role is at the present is why are we
driving looking back? We did awesome things. We’re grateful. We’ve got books about it. And we even did a series. But I don’t think that’s
what God is calling us to do. So how do we start
looking ahead? How do we start looking ahead? What is it in our
church, in our life, in all of our communities,
in this life form, which is religious life, that we need
to start doing differently? So I’m going to
share a little clip. My sisters don’t like cartoons,
they’re very formal people. We’re in the east
coast, you probably only read and never watch
television, which is fine. That’s the stereotype we have. However, I showed my
sisters this clip, and it’s from the
movie “Wall-E”. Have you seen “Wall-E”? There’s people that
haven’t seen– well, you have to go see it. That’s for homework. So I’ll tell you a
brief part of the story. So Wall-E is a little robot
that’s left on planet Earth. And planet Earth is
a big pile of trash. And he’s a trash
compacting robot. And all the humans
are floating in space because they couldn’t
stay on planet Earth because it was not
sustainable anymore. But they sent probes to check
if life is possible on Earth. So they sent Eve. It’s a very romantic movie. And Eve has a directive. And Eve’s directive
is to find life. To find life. Note, in the trash,
but to find life. So I want us to watch a little
clip, because some of you may not listen to me and
will not go see the movie. So here it is. That’s Eve. Notice how she is
scanning for life. That’s all the trash
on planet Earth. Can’t find any life. And then later, runs into
Wall-E. So the directive kicks in. Sorry, you can’t watch
the whole thing tonight. We just have limited time. But the lesson for all of us is
where do we find what is alive? What we can do? Where the energy is? Where the life is? And the book of
Deuteronomy is very clear, it calls us to choose life. To choose life. And it’s not the life
of what has been, but like Eve in “Wall-E”, we’re
supposed to notice what is emerging. That is the role of
conscience, to notice, to take heed of what is
happening in the present. And so much is happening
in religious life, that if we keep lamenting
who we are no longer, we could just miss it. We could miss it as a church,
as religious communities, even as the American society. So I really strongly
believe that we need to be horizon seekers. We need to be conscience. In conscience we are required
to scout the horizon. We need to be pioneers
of the future once again. With this little
energy that we have. With these old
ladies that we have. With who we are, not
with who we are not. And religious life
has a serious task of discernment of the future. So when I was
thinking about horizon and how do we develop
horizon consciousness, I went to look
for some pictures. And the typical thing, you
look for them in the internet. But I realized I had
them on my phone. On my phone. So as I look for
pictures, I began to wonder, wow, look at
all the pictures I’ve taken of the horizon. This is the Texas
sky, for those of you that never get down yonder. This is Lake Titicaca. This is Seattle. Medellin. That’s all I do. I don’t take any
people in the pictures, I just take whatever’s
in the distance. And this is our
Texas Hill country. But we need to start
looking out into what’s a little beyond what we can see. We need to start
imagining what is possible before it becomes possible. So if we took a real
loving look at where we are and what we can,
and then started to turn our mind’s
sight to the future where God is calling
us to go, not in the lamentations of the
past, but to the future, we would really need to
take a conscientious look at the present. What is happening now that
has those seeds of the future that God is calling us to? What is happening now? And last year– and I have
a disclaimer, important disclaimer. I am the
President-elect of LCWR, but I am not here speaking
on behalf of LCWR. However, I will have
some commercials. So last year, Sister Pat
Farrell used this image in her keynote address. She talked about the fog. And it really impacted me. Because have you ever
driven in the fog? Do you get fog in Boston? You do? What happens when you’re
driving in the fog? What happens if you
have a chatter box person with you in the
car, what do you tell them? And how do you hold
onto the steering wheel? Very tight and you
turn the radio down. You’re very focused. You’re very attentive. You’re really there. You can’t drive in the
fog and do multitasking. You’re very intense. So that’s the image
that came into my mind when Pat Farrell said that
we’re having this fog time. And religious life has
spent many years in the fog. Many years. We’ve been numerically obsessed. I can’t tell you how
tired I am of going places and I get asked, well, how many
sisters in your congregation? Or, do you have any novices? Right. Isn’t that like– so if we have
many sisters then we all win or something? What’s the point of numbers? We have been
vocationally challenged. It’s true we didn’t have
large numbers of interns. We couldn’t have sociologically,
but we still worried about it. And then I wondered, why did
the Vatican council renewal that older sisters and
me in religious life were so excited about it? How come it turned into
a dark night of the soul? Why did we go into this fog? But it’s true, that
that’s where we are. And this is what Pat
Farrell said last year, this is our moment. We need to be conscious
of our moment. Otherwise, we’re going
to miss the call. The world around us
teeters on the edge of both peril and promise,
breakdown and breakthrough tussle with each other. And this is what she said
last year, the path forward is hidden in fog. It is your time to lead, and to
do so you must learn to be lead and to listen deeply. Together we will discover
personal communal processes for deep prayer and dialogue. We will be given
what we need to tend the soul of our
communities by nurturing contemplative spaciousness. We are in this fog. But we also have what we need. So we just need to be
aware and conscious of it. So here is the image
of where I think religious life is right now. OK. Notice, we’ve let go
of the past because we didn’t have a choice. Some of us are still
trying to hold on dearly, but we’ve let go. And we still haven’t
grabbed the future. We’re still up in the air. But you can’t do that unless you
have a profound faith that God will catch us. And if we’re not women of
faith, then what are we doing? So this is a time when we really
need to go deeply into faith. Now we cannot ignore the fact
that we’ve had a concerned church. Now that is a letter. The letter up
there is the decree that Rome put out announcing the
apostolic visitation of women religious in the United States. You probably all
read it and remember that there is a
line there that says that the apostolic visitation
was done in order to look into the quality of the life of
women religious in the United States. Now my Mexican sisters
were not surprised. But I don’t think Rome– now that we’ve prayed about
it and shared about it, we see it as a blessing. We’ve all learned that
it was a blessing. We’ve also learned that there
was a genuine concern on behalf of the church because
of our numbers, because we weren’t
getting vocations. I still remember the visitors
that came to San Antonio. We got one of those
special visits for a whole week, when
all the sisters lined up and they had to greet everybody. And we needed to provide a
paper shredder and everything. And there was a list of
things you needed to do. I don’t know if you’re
familiar with it. But the phone, the chairs,
the thing, the list. And one of the
visitors asked us, how come you sponsor a college
and you sponsor a high school and you don’t have vocations
in the United States? Those questions burn. They do. We just have to own them. And I think we need to
recognize that there was a genuine concern of the
church for our communities. They expressed it this way. Maybe we’d have chosen
a different one. But in the end, I
think it did happen. They said they wanted to
look into the quality of life to learn more about the varied
and unique ways in which women religious contribute to
the wealth of the church. To assist the church
to strengthen, enhance, and support the growth of the
more than 400 congregations. So, in a way, the
concern was there. It was the same concern we have. It was expressed in the
way that was different. Then of course we
had the experience of the doctrinal assessment. And I just want to
put up a statement. I thought the way we handled
the doctrinal assessment as a conference, is a way
to move into the future. We’ve learned something. We learned something
in this process, and it’s a learning
that we need to share with the rest of the church. And given today’s
reality, we need to share it with this country. There is a way forward
through impasse. And this is the statement
that LCWR put out. The first part, we do
not recognize ourselves in the doctrinal assessment
of the conference, and realize that
despite our attempts to clarify misperceptions,
they have led to deeper misunderstandings. Yet, LCWR was heartened by the
attempt of both CDF and LCWR to find a way through
that honors the integrity and mission of both offices. In the same statement they
said, passion for all the church can be deepens our commitment
to stay at the table and talk through
the differences. We want to be part of a
universal Church rooted in the Gospel, a Church that
hears the cry of the poor. And I have been a member
of LCWR for both events. Not an officer of the
conference, not on the board. And I remember the first time
we were at that assembly in Los Angeles. And of course we
have the sisters that are used to marching
for all kinds of causes, and some of them, that’s what
they wanted to do, go march. And then we had the sisters– all the diversity. And then we were able
to stay at the table and have the conversation. We were able to work through it. And I can tell you
now, I have reason to believe that even
the church universal has benefited from this process. It could have been so different. We could have
experienced the fog. We could have experienced
the questions. And we could have responded
in a way that was not helpful. So what are we learning
about the present? And that resulted in
an incredible moment. Remember St. Louis LCWR
assembly, and some of you know about it. But when we came there were
hundreds, thousands of people outside with signs. It was a powerful
statement to religious life in the United States. When I hear stories about
the number of letters that came in support
of the conference, when I even hear numbers
in terms of donations that came to religious
life, we realized we learned something about
ourselves and about how you deal with conflict. And so it had a happy ending. That’s the picture
of the happy ending. If it ends well, it’s all well. So what did we learn? What did we learn? And these are his words,
these are the cards that the conference
has produced. That’s the commercial,
please get some. As part of the
contemplative process, we’ve learned something
new is beginning to emerge. We’ve learned something. God is doing something with us. And something not just
for our communities, but for the church at large. I have been impressed as I
go through Latin America, and even when I was at
UISG last year in Rome, how much the rest of the
church appreciates the way we handled this process. So what did we learn? This is a contemplative process
we’re currently engaging in. And this is what we say,
LCWR is engaging its members in the contemplative
process designed to create a national
conversation among all women religious about the critical
questions on the horizon for religious life. And then it says, to enable
greater contemplative engagement, to strengthen
and shape the mission, to strengthen the solidarity. So both events made us
realize that we’re together, that there is a higher calling,
that charism of religious life that we should all commit to. Not just our charisms,
our particular charisms, but to the life form itself. And we’ve been saying
it in different ways. The future that is
there for God that we need to be still and
hear the small voice that will bring us to the edge. And I like this particular card. We’re saying, we
are called to act and be as one in moving
toward the emerging future to which God calls us. So I couldn’t help it and I
thought of the Little Prince. As for the future, your
task is not to foresee it, but to enable it. And that is why I believe that
religious life, especially in the United
States, because it’s a very special kind of religious
life in the United States, has a very important mission
to do for the future. At so many levels. So what can religious
life contribute? Briefly, first of course,
this gift of contemplation. This gift of contemplation. The fact that we now
know that in order to enter into a conversation
you need silence, you need deep listening,
you need to build bridges, you need to be able to
do things in such a way that you want to
move to a resolution, to unity, even in the middle
of difference and diversity. But we’ve also learned that
the mission is God’s job. Like Anthony Gittins says, God’s
job description is mission. And when I going through some
of what Anthony Gittins has to say about mission, I remember
he came to San Antonio one day. And he said that mission
is like God breathing. Breathes out,
exhales and inhales. And I think religious life is
caught in the breath of God. God has exhaled us. And we went to Peru. And we went to the far corners
of the African continent. And we went to Southeast Asia. And right now God
is inhaling us. We are experiencing
this great inhaling. And we need to trust that
God will exhale again. That’s the transformation
we’ve been called to. So this is a time of real faith. Not just being optimistic,
or positive thinking. This is faith, the kind
of faith that trusts that there is life after death. What Ron Rolheiser
says, it’s time for us to also give up our death. Because we believe
in the God of life. So there is a way to die
that brings forth life. So even that is a task for us. I also think we’re
going to be small. We’re not going to become
extinct like that Chancellor said, but we are going
to be a lot smaller. And we need to move
beyond the numbers game. The numbers game
is not ecological. Think of “Laudato Si,”
we need sustainability. Bigger, louder is not
necessarily what is required. We need to believe
we are enough. We are enough. We are what God requires now. In the 1950s and 60s there
was a different need. I entered the convent
after everything happened. I missed everything. Everything. I missed it when we
went on a picnic. And I missed when
there were 40 novices. And I missed when there were
30 sisters at the college. And [INAUDIBLE], you missed it. I even missed something
called Mothers Table. That, I really– I’m sorry. Apparently the sisters
did little gifts for Mother General. Now they don’t even
remember my birthday. But for 22 years I have
been hearing what I missed. And one day I finally said, you
know, there must be a reason. We have to be enough. When do we believe that
who we are now is enough? It’s enough. It’s like, oh, my god,
there’s so few of us. And then I look at
our founding stories. There were just three and two
died, and yet here we are. And you’re thinking
that 100 is too little. We are enough. Even Pope Francis agrees
with me, how about that? Just last week,
that’s the image. I was like, come on, please. [SPANISH] Get out there, stop
whining about what you’re not. Here’s what he told a
group of sisters last week. The majority of our
founding fathers and mothers never thought they’d
be a multitude. And then he used the
image of the pizza. He said, rather, he said, they
were moved by the Holy Spirit to respond to the real
needs of their time, to build the church like
leaven in the dough, like salt and light. Just think, he says, a
dish with too much salt would be inedible. And I’ve never
seen a pizza maker who took half a kilo of
yeast and 100 grams of flour. So Christians must be
concerned with being leaven in society more
than with being a majority. We have to move beyond numbers. And it’s not that number
don’t matter, yes they matter. But we need to be
hospitable to everybody. We need to welcome everyone. I don’t agree with being
a few select people. But I think that we do need to
understand that the numbers are not as important
as our commitment to being salt and leaven. The only thing we can offer at
the present time is networking. One of the gifts of diminishment
is that we need each other. We need each other. It’s beautiful. Finally, the medieval
system is collapsing. The sisters of the
whatever hospital are better than the ones over
there in the high school. And we were so proud
of our charisms, that were so special in particular
and better than the other one, of course. We are in a time when we need
to be network, to partner. We co-sponsor. We create federations. We are creating unions. And this is what Nancy
Sylvester has to say. Facing breakdown
or breakthrough, we people of faith
are challenged to put on the mind of Christ. To transform our
own consciousness so that we can take a long,
loving look at the real and see our
connectedness, our unity, so that we can imagine
new ways of responding to the crises of our time. We can no longer
do it on our own. We need to collaborate. We need to partner
with laypeople. We need to partner with
people of other faiths. We need to create that mission
that God is breathing us out, in, but not the way we
used to in the past. So there is a blessing in
what we are experiencing in terms of number. And so we also need
to honor that we have a net of influence. And this is an
image Barbara Fiand uses using Palmer Parker’s model
of a community of learning. The charism is in the
center, and the rest of us are charism carriers. But that generates a net
that keeps spreading. We don’t even know how
much influence we have. We learned it during the
visitation and the mandate. We realized we had
touched more people than we had ever imagined. And so we need to trust
the energy of God’s charism among us. So what are the tasks? I think I heard sister
Mariam Ambrosio from Brazil speak at the UISG last May. And she said, religious
life is the power of a how. The power of a how. And she used the
image of weaving. And this is what she had to say. Let us renew our
awareness that we are not special for what we
do, nor for why we do it. All Christians are
predestined for this answer. Religious life is
the power of a how. Let us emphasize the word how. It is our way of doing. It is the manner we
follow Jesus that gives meaning to our being Women
Religious of Apostolic Life. We are the power of
the how for the Church. And she said, there
is a difference between a weaver, a
hand woven garment, than something produced
in some factory. And she said, the woman with
magic hands using the loom, mixing threads and colors. And I love how it ends. The weaver works with
a smile on her face, or while singing a love song. It is the how. We may only do a little
because we aren’t that many. Or maybe we can only spend
a few hours someplace because we can’t stay all day. But that little that we do needs
to be infused with that song. And then it will
make a difference. Then it will make a difference. The other gift that we have
is that, whether we like to or not, we’re letting go. Some people are
saying that we’re entering the great
deinstitutionalization of religious life. And that may be a gift as well. Because when we
are uninstalled we are going to be free
to do other things. And those ministries and those
sponsored hospitals and schools and soup kitchens,
we have it all. We have amazing laypeople that
love the mission doing them. And they need us
just to be leaven and salt. The next
thing is that we are going to be able to move. Migration is a
sign of our times. And it is time for us to move. To move to other
parts of the city. To move to other
parts of the country. To move. And we have lessons to learn
from nomadic tribes that have always moved. Tribes like the Roma
in Europe, or even the nomads in the
American continent. They don’t need a place. They need a community. That’s their source of identity. We also need to really
lean into our diversity. We need to lean
into our diversity. Jose Cristo Rey Paredes,
he’s a Spanish theologian of religious life. He uses the word, and I hope I
can pronounce it, autopoiesis. Any biologist in the room? That’s good. OK. Anyway, he says
religious institutes are like living systems. Our environment
offers its energy and gives to religious
institutes and revitalizes them. He says, the mutual
pollination and planting facilitates this
autopoiesis, which is this self reproduction. But then he utters a warning. Institutes with
greater biodiversity will have the possibility
of revitalisation. So using the concept of biology
and applying it to society, a lot of people are
saying, well, we know. If we’re not open to
the other, if we’re not welcoming and
hospitable, if we do not learn how to bring diversity
into religious life, we do not have a chance. So religious
institutes that learn to dance with diversity,
that learn to do that, will probably be
the institutes that will bring us to the future. So how do we welcome
the other among us, that diversity is a big chance. So finally, I think religious
life in the United States needs to build bridges. What can it offer? It can offer bridge building. And I want to show
you some pictures. I went to Berkeley in 1989. Any of you remember that
1989 Loma Prieta earthquake? So you’re all back
here in the east coast. You don’t know what’s
going on out there. That’s OK. But there was this big
earthquake in San Francisco. And that’s the Bay
Bridge when I got there. OK. And then in September, one month
into my first year of my M.A., the earthquake
struck the bridge. And we had no bridge. This is 1989. But then the bridge was
impassable, it was shut down. It was very difficult
to move around the city. It was very
difficult to connect. Think about past and future. And then they
started building one. The project started in 1990. And for almost 20 years
there were two bridges. The old one and the
new one being built. I finally went back to the Bay
Area a couple of years ago, and then I saw the
beautiful new bridge. We are at a threshold
at this horizon moment where we need to build a new
bridge more flexible and more capable of bringing the past
and our legacy, our tradition, our heritage, into the future. So I want to conclude
with the idea that there is a
dance to conscience. There’s a dance to conscience. We can only get to the horizon
if we do it with a dance. And this is an image I
like of Pope Francis. I think that’s what he’s
telling the whole church. There’s just one
thing everybody. There’s just one thing. And it has to do with Jesus. So to get to that horizon,
to get to that consciousness, we need to be convinced
from personal experience that it is not the same
thing to have known Jesus as not to have known him. We need to be
convinced about that. And that is something
that religious life can gift the entire church with. And for those of you
that don’t know him, this is Simon Pedro Arnold. He is a Benedictine– a Belgian
Benedictine who’s Peruvian. He lives in Peru. And he just published this book
called “La Era de la Mariposa,” “The Time of the Butterfly.” And he uses the
image of the dance. Of the dance. And he says, life is the most
beautiful and demanding school of dance. There is nothing to hold
onto, nothing to grasp. We will only be saved by
the art of free movement. We need to move our
hips around the living spinal column of the church,
the cross of Jesus Christ. How do we return to a
Christ always in movement? The one who walks on the
dusty roads of Galilee or the raging waters of the and
dances in the wedding at Cana. In a certain way we
must be initiated into a choreographic
discipleship where we are not about imitating or
catching up with Christ in an effort of
will, but we grow into his rhythm and compass. So it is a dance. It’s a dance. And we can dance. I have older sisters
that love to dance. There is a joy in the dance. I even say that this
is the best explanation of missionary
discipleship I have read. This really explains
the idea that Francis has in the term of
missionary discipleship. So we are called to
encuentro, and I’m using the word encuentro in Spanish. Encounter, sounds like the
movie, “Close Encounter of the Third Kind”, it’s like,
you encounter a wall maybe. But encuentro is a get together. When Latin American sisters,
when they get together, they say [SPANISH] encuentro. They never say, tuvimos una
junta, we had a meeting. And religious in the US are
always going to meetings. I wonder if they have
experiences of encuentro, see, of conversation and how are you,
and all these things that you do when you have a gathering. And Francis wants us to
go to that encuentro. We have an appointment
with that encuentro. We’ve been invited
to that party. That’s what he says in
the “Evangelii Gaudium”. Becoming a people
demand something more. It is an ongoing process in
which every new generation must take part. A slow and arduous
effort, calling for a desire for integration
and the willingness to achieve this
through the growth of a peaceful and multi-faceted
culture of encounter. So we’ve been called
to the future, but this future is an encounter. It’s an encounter
with the other who is God, an encounter with others. An encounter with
the other within us. And we can only
get there dancing. And that is why encuentro– to know if you had
a good encuentro, you have to have a fiesta. You have to have a fiesta. And so I think religious
life gets the front row seat in the Church as we go
into this fiesta, which is the reign of God. I believe we have all we need. We have the loaves and
fishes that are required. We just need to take notice. We need to grow in our awareness
and our consciousness of what is there already. And so, I want to
conclude by sharing with you that if there is an
encuentro, there’s a fiesta. So there’s no one that can do
that better than Celia Cruz. So I am going to ask
her to close this talk. Here she goes. [SPEAKING SPANISH] Ladies and gentlemen. [SPEAKING SPANISH] It is a great pleasure to
be here with you tonight. Thank you for coming. Remember that my English
is not very good looking. But I am very glad to say that. Enjoy the show! OK? And this is your homework. This song. [MUSIC – CELIA CRUZ] Do you know the words? [MUSIC CONTINUES] I will translate. [MUSIC CONTINUES] (SINGING IN SPANISH) Anyone who thinks
that life is of evil, you need to know
it’s not that way. Life is beautiful. We need to live it. Anyone who thinks they’re alone. That’s not the way. No one’s ever alone. There’s always someone there. You shouldn’t cry because
life is a part of you, and you need to live singing. That’s Celia Cruz’s message. And with that, I thank
you for the opportunity to share with you this evening. [MUSIC ENDS] [MUSIC PLAYING]

Otis Rodgers

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Marina Reyes Posted on July 28, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you, Sr. Tere Maya! It is good to hear a refreshing voice in the desert, watering tired spirits of modern day disciples doing their best to give flesh to Jesus' presence in our midst.

    Reply
  2. Laura Bregar Posted on August 16, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    I found this inspiring and hopeful while maintaining a healthy realism. Thanks, Tere!! No wonder we elected you president of LCWR!!

    Reply
  3. Lea Consilia Posted on August 28, 2017 at 4:36 am

    2051 views and only 9 likes and 2 comments??? How sad. Very interesting presentation by Sr. Teresa Maya!

    Reply
  4. Sister Sharon Dillon Posted on February 28, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    Wonderfully said Teresa!! Thank you…may we move away from counting and experience the Encounter…with the HOLY through a beautiful dance called LIFE!!

    Reply
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