Week 5 reflection and gratitude

The surprise for me of Week 5 is how much the Holy Spirit is guiding me to reconnect with my love of writing. During our Monday meditation, I had an experience of a vivid, imaginative, contemplative scene and felt like writing down this story was what was mine to do for my Week 5 Prompt. The responses I received reminded me that whatever graces we are given are meant to be shared – including storytelling.

There are many stories taking up residence in my heart from my 12+ years of ministry at Dolores Mission. The grace of this week has been to listen to the sound of the genuine in me by taking seriously the stories that swirl around in my mind and heart. They deserve to live outside of me. I am starting to imagine reflecting on the graces of my years at Dolores Mission and writing down the stories, particularly the stories of the incredibly courageous and prophetic Mexican and Salvadoran mothers and grandmothers of the parish. Working with the Jesuits and organizing allies, they transformed a neighborhood suffering from tremendous gang violence and witnessed to God’s profound love, mercy, compassion, and the creation of Homeboy Industries. Their impact on the restorative justice movement continues to ripple out nationally and internationally.

Oftentimes it is hard for me to remember that the details of women’s lives and women’s stories matter. This is one of the ways in which sexism and internalized sexism diminishes me. I am grateful for how this workshop countered this by focusing on the Gospel stories of the women Jesus encountered. These are stories that have lived on for centuries, and I am reminded that the faith stories of women are sacred. Our experiences and our glimpses of how God works in and through our lives deserve to be told and remembered.

Looking back on these five weeks of our Called to Conspire group, I am thankful for the commitment each of us made to meet together, pray, read, listen, reflect, write, repeat. My heartfelt thanks to Casey and Luke for modeling collaborative leadership. Thank you for your vision, for creating this workshop, for the invitation to participate, for trying things with poder, for taking chances, for your openness to meet with us, and for trusting the Holy Spirit moving through this group.

The Church’s conversation about the diaconate has been interesting to me, but I hadn’t fully grasped the importance of Catholic women getting involved with this. Casey, you’ve helped me to understand more fully the historical moment we are living in and how the Church needs to see Catholic women in ministry more fully and hear our voices. It means we have to be willing to step out and be seen and heard in this conversation about the diaconate. I want to contribute to this effort.

In this important time of making sure Black Lives Matter, I am interested in the intersection of women’s liberation and black liberation in the context of the Catholic Church. As a Cuban American woman, I want to intentionally commit to following the writings and preaching of Black Catholics who are striving to lead and challenge Catholics to move forward in this prophetic time. Some people that come to mind are Sr. Jamie Phelps, Diana Hayes, Bryan Massingale, Bishop Wilton Gregory and Kayla August who is planning to pursue a doctorate in preaching. If you have others to recommend, please let me know.

I am thankful for my Royal Palm group, Brigitta, Kayla, Lisa, and Maggie for our deep listening of one another. What a gift to be with each of you as we discern new directions and affirm God entrusting us with faith work.

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to read and comment on my writing. Thank you for your encouragement and thoughtful questions. Thank you Jenny for our exchanges about our commitment to healing, empowerment, and walking with Latina women. Many thanks to all of you for the gift of your writing. Your honesty, vulnerability, and faith insights have been wonderful to read. I have been blessed to be part of this circle of power that seeks to empower others. Mil gracias!

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