Random Nun Clips

The deep encounter

Podcast Recorded: February 6, 2023
A person raises his arms as the sun rises

“Encuentro” means much more than you might think. Sister Elizabeth Guerrero explains the spirituality of this deep encounter.

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Show Notes

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Transcript (Click for More)+

Sister Rejane  
This Random Nun Clip is brought to you by A Nun's Life Ministry. I am Sister Rejane of A Nun's Life Ministry, and my guest today is Sister Elizabeth Guerrero, a Sister of the Missionary Catechists of Divine Providence. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, and is the executive director of AHLMA, Asociacion de Hermanas Latinas Misioneras en America. This organization works with Catholic Sisters from Latin American communities who are ministering in the US, and Latina Catholic Sisters born in Latin America and born in the United States, who are members of US Catholic communities. AHLMA's mission is to support, accompany, and empower Latina sisters within the context of their ministries in the US Catholic Church. Can you talk a little bit about AHLMA, for our audience? I know it's a younger organization. But yeah, just tell us a little bit about that.

Sister Elizabeth  
Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, we are a young organization. It was founded in one of the sister's living rooms, as most things are, back in 2007. It's the Asociacion de Hermanas Latinas Misioneras en America -- it's the association for Latin American missionary sisters. It started for sisters who are missioned to the US from Latin American countries. Since then, it's opened the tent, or widened tent, also inviting and including sisters, Latina sisters, who are born here in the US, like me. To have a place to come in and meet each other, to network with each other, to help each other find resources, carry each other's hopes and dreams and burdens. That's what we're here to do.

Sister Rejane  
That's beautiful. And I noticed that part of your mission and vision is rooted in a spirituality of encuentro --  you know, we give a prophetic witness of unity, solidarity, joy and hope. And I love that because it connects with A Nun's Life; we're about joy and the joy of religious life. That's so key. But I love that term encuentro, which means encounter in English, but I feel it's so much richer in Spanish. I don't know if you can talk a little bit about what that means to you?

Sister Elizabeth  
Well, sure. I mean, encuentro, honestly, it can be as wide and as deep and as profound as you want. It is a word that is used a lot in Hispanic Ministry. Previous other organizations use it as well. It's more than a place to just gather, maybe exchanging information. Encuentro -- you meet people, you have that deep encounter, something very spiritual happens in those places. It's a place to walk together, a place to see each other face to face, share each other's burdens, carry each other's burdens, you know, help each other celebrate. There's always celebration, obviously, when we get together. So encounter, encuentro, does have a sense of spirituality always, always attached to it, always obviously very human as well. It's about continuing that journey. Many of my sisters and brothers, we identify very much with the church always on the move. We are a people who move about and migrate. The iglesia en salida -- always on the move -- is part of part of our spirituality. So encuentro is not only a stationary place, but it's continuing to move. So that's probably a lot, but is a very rich word. Hope I did it justice.

Sister Rejane  
Thank you. No, I think you really, really did, because it's about relationship. And if you're in relationship, it never stays static, right? Like it either deepens or you grew apart, or you come back together. And if you're on the move, you may re-encounter someone you knew five years ago, and what a joyous occasion for that reunion. Yeah, there's a lot, thank you. I had never thought of it in terms of being on the move. That's really, really beautiful. The other part I love in your statement is, "We are consecrated women striving to be the maternal face of God, sent to journey, accompany, and encourage the people of God, especially the Hispanic community, the most vulnerable, and the poor." But what a beautiful image of women religious being the maternal face of God.

Sister Elizabeth  
Yeah, that's something obviously that we worked on, we prayed about, with the entire board and some members. You know, it's interesting. In Spanish-speaking communities and countries, they don't call us sisters or hermanas -- sisters, that's more typical to the US. In Latin American countries, it's either Sor, or Madre, which is Mother. So many times, I'll be referred to as Madre or Madrecita --  makes it a little sweeter. Right?

Sister Rejane  
It's a term of endearment. Right?

Sister Elizabeth  
Exactly. Right. Right. So Mother is Madre, Madrecita is mother. So yes, it's a feminine image, right? Maternal relationship. And, again, always looking to see how different folks, different sisters, men and women, will have a different type of relationship with our Creator God -- might be creator, might be father, might be brother. It may be a feminine image, or mother. And obviously, our blessed mother is also very, very central to our spirituality. All that's to say and I might be going off track. -- many times Our Lady of Guadalupe is very central to the Latin American community. But there's obviously many, many different images of Mary-- many different images that are from Latin America and around the world that that we gravitate to.

Sister Rejane  
This Random Nun Clip is brought to you by A Nun's Life Ministry.

This transcript has been lightly edited for readability.

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