Encuentro 2021

It has been a few days since the end of the Giving Voice’s 2021 Encuentro, an intentional space to build a community of young members of Religious Life living in the United States. However, my heart is still beating with joy for such a precious and blessed ‘encounter’. Approximately 30 of us, women between the ages of 20-50, made sacred space to share dreams, struggles and hopes as women consecrated to the mission of the God of life. Although each encounter is unique, this year’s gathering was enriched by the history of seeking social justice, the art that transforms, heals and unlocks, and gestures and words full of the Gospel.

For four days, each of us was a sister to the other beyond our charisms and/or ministries. Our ground was prepared with previous reflections emanating from three virtual workshops on (1) common language, (2) the power and the prophetic, and (3) our place in history. Thus, we were ready to open ourselves to explore paths of Liberation, Justice and Healing accompanied by AnaYelsi Velasco-Sánchez, an educator at the intersection of justice and spirituality. AnaYelsi invited us to review the ways by which we approach equity and justice, to identify the systems that determine how race and equity operate in our society, and to nurture personal and communal space for self-care, healing, and contemplation. As she said, “healing work is justice work”.

We were praying with the justice-seeking history of the most vulnerable communities in the United States. We were listening to our stories and our experience of accompanying God’s people. Our conversations were full of concrete faces and places! We shared the beauty and challenges of our congregational communities, and we began to dream with creative ways to cultivate a global sisterhood! The community we dream of has mystique, prophecy, diversity, inclusion, and joy as its main components. 

There are so many moments that are engraved in my heart, but of all of them, one I cannot afford not to share with you through these lines is the times when I listened to my sisters sharing their reflections on the Word of God. The faith of my sisters in Giving Voice is enormous. How blessed we are! These were momentous of grace and filled my heart with so much hope. I am so grateful for so much good received through words and gestures during the Eucharistic celebrations, prayers, the celebrations of life, the common spaces. Thank you sisters! Your faith nourishes my passion for the world that God loves so much. Also, thank you to all our sisters who support us in many different ways by encouraging us to participate in this amazing community called Giving Voice! See you soon!

By Katty Huanuco CCVI

Incarnate Word Sister – San Antonio