Hola from Mexico! What am I doing in Mexico? I'm studying. I find it interesting that I have heard how religious sisters travel and see the world. I don't recall hearing any comments about sisters studying.
Upon entering my congregation I began what I call basic sister studies: the charism of the order, the history of the congregation, the vows, and scripture. It didn't take much time for me to realize study was integral to religious life. It is both active and a way of life for sisters. As a sister, I know we are called to see and meet the needs of the time. What are the needs and injustices today? A few that immediately come to mind are: immigration, systemic racism, global warming and homelessness. As a sister, I know mission requires our heart, our hands and our voice. We need to be prepared and well informed. Study prepares us to embrace, lift up, bless, heal, feed, shelter, educate, express the love of God in neighbor. Study then is indispensable for our ministry and mission. Though technology and the Internet allow for great acquisition of knowledge, there is still a need for intentional study. I see this of great importance for young sisters as numbers decrease, new needs and ministries arise and younger sisters move into leadership roles.
So what am I studying? I'm studying Spanish in San Miguel de Allende, the state of Guanajuato. Why am I studying Spanish? I have had opportunities to lead prayer, help or volunteer in Spanish speaking situations but because of my lack of Spanish vocabulary, reading, and comprehension skills I have not been able to do this. The Spanish I know is mostly slang and Tex-Mex. In order to pursue a ministry that requires Spanish, I need to be fluent and this requires study.
As the Latino population continues to grow in the United States, the need for Spanish is growing. More of our sisters and
Enjoying a neighborhood procession
brothers from Latin America are entering the U.S. everyday. More ministers who speak Spanish are needed to assist with social services and immigration issues as well as faith matters.
As a Dominican sister, I know knowledge is not to be hoarded; rather it is shared and used for others. Some might see studying Spanish as a sabbatical, I see it as intentional study. This study will prepare me to express of the love of God to others. For the sake of mission, Fr. Samuel, my congregation's founder, immersed himself in the language as well as the culture of the native people and so I do the same.
"Let us set out for any place where the work is great and difficult, but where also with the help of the One who sends us, we shall open the way for the Gospel." - Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP