Friday, January 5, 2018

Christine Santisteban Has Something To Say

 Yes, we most certainly are immigrants too!

Since I can remember, I always identified myself as other. I was always too short, too small, too skinny and then too fat, and not ‘girly’ enough. I was too American for my Latin/Filipino friends and family and too Latin/Filipino among some American acquaintances. Being different, I was definitely ‘picked’ on in school. It has taken me some time to process that ‘inner diversity.’  But I am truly grateful for it because it has helped me to reconcile the past with what it means to be American and the rich immigrant history of both my parents and grandparents. A history that includes escaping the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and safely fleeing a well known political bombing in Plaza Miranda. Sadly in the recent climate we have experienced people telling us ‘You Chinese, go back home’ and ‘You F*@king people go back to your country.’

This is my country too! Part of me wants to lash out and yet another part of me feels drawn to trying to understand those that consider us ‘other.’ I had a chance to experience a small mini Journey into my American heritage thanks to a dear friend who took me on a trip for much needed rest and recuperation. What a better place to be than at Stockbridge Massachusetts at the Home of the Norman Rockwell museum. His were images I came to know in my childhood, perpetually displayed in my Pediatrician’s office.

Here is a sample print I was used to seeing at my Pediatrician’s office.

As you may know, Norman Rockwell is quintessential Americana. The father of the classic Coca Cola Santa and Cover artist of the Saturday Evening Post. Norman painted idyllic American towns, and romanticized versions of everyday Americans and renowned for portraying images in a positive light. All that changed as Norman lived through a tumultuous period of American history, much like we are experiencing today. A time marked by the civil rights movement, Vietnam war, protests, and the Stonewall Rebellion.  Norman as an artist was transformed by the unrest, racism and injustice right on front of him. He changed from artist portraying idyllic Americana and became more realistic, more connected to all that was happening, portraying a America rapidly changing before his eyes. His works speak for themselves

Norman Rockwell's "The Problem We All Live With"

Norman Rockwell ‘Murder in Mississippi’
Norman Rockwell’s “Golden Rule”

Like Rockwell, I see so much changing before us. The Women’s march, Black Lives matter, #MeToo, a refugee crisis never before seen, and so much more. In my work in East Harlem’s Boriken Neighborhood health center I witness daily the effects of poverty on health inequality. The cries and laments of the poor, begs action from each and everyone of us. Yes it’s overwhelming. Dizzying even. What can we do? What can I do? In the desire to reach out and understand one another, I feel called to help start a movement. We need a call for change and healing. What we could use is a communal liturgy in the tradition of Yom Kippur, a communal atonement and repentance that involves fasting and prayer. Repent for those marginalized and ostracized in the LGBTQ community, Atone for all the offenses against women, atone for the hatred against Muslims, Jews, minorities, immigrants and refugees. And in the spirit of contrition, we need to come together to pray for peace, mercy and compassion. To ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’  What would prayer be without action. I hope as a community  we can follow-up and commit to actions and become prophetic messengers of peace and justice. Without the great immigrant history of our nation, without our diversity, what are we?  If an artist like Norman Rockwell can change, I have hope we each can plant seeds for a better world, and reclaim our nation as the ‘Shining City Upon a Hill.”

Christine Santisteban


Christine Santisteban is native of Queens has been a parishioner since 2014. She helps co-lead the Xavier Young Adults group, and dabbled in the many wonderful ministries at Xavier including the shelter, Xavier Bible Study, It was the women Who Stayed. She is a passionate physician, a lover of all things furry, a clarinetist, honorary Irish woman, pilgrim, and aspiring writer and poet. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Maria Perez Has Something To Say

Happy New Year 2018!  We can begin again through our Lord Jesus Christ, who makes all things possible.  We all hunger for new things, but this requires a sincere change from within if we ever expect to see change around us.  We start to reflect on the past year and contemplate on how to improve ourselves.  New Year’s resolutions are then made, such as pledging that we will eat better, work out more, or stop smoking.  But in reality, how long do these resolutions really last?  Throughout all the excitement and anticipation of New Year’s, we tend to forget that the only way our resolutions can become a reality is if we commit them to God.  The reason that many of our resolutions fail is because we leave God out of the equation.  We cannot do this on our own.  We need Jesus Christ, the only one who can truly make all things new.

As I look back on the past year and face the reality of my sins, I am aware that my New Year’s resolutions may end in failure.  The reality of the human condition is that we are prone to making wrong choices in our daily lives.  I can relate to the Apostle Paul, who described human weakness and the inclination to sin in Romans 7:15-25:

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do.   It is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.  And if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s Law.  But I see another law at work in my body, warring against the law of my mind and holding me captive to the law of sin that dwells within me.  What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!  With my mind I serve the law of God, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”  

As raw and honest as this scripture is in describing the weakness of the human state, this year can still be different if we turn to Jesus.  We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to even comprehend what is needed, if we ever really hope to change.

I am looking forward to the end of 2017, where I had a few bad experiences with people whom I trusted.  Some have tried to take advantage of my vulnerability, loneliness, trust, giving spirit, desire for love and affection, and the ease at which I forgive and forget.  This leads into one of my New Year’s resolutions, which is to not engage in those who get joy out of hurting others.  Instead, I must remember that I am a child of God, and I must pray for those who enjoy gaslighting and insulting others.  We should do what Jesus stated in Reading Two, Colossians 3:12-21:

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Jesus was compassionate and kind, humble and gentle, patient, and forgiving.  He is our great example of how to treat others.  When people try to ruin our spirit, we should also remember what God said in Peter 3:9, to

be like-minded and sympathetic, love as brothers, be tender-hearted and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”  

Truly happy people support one another and do not judge others.  In Matthew 7:1, God tells us:
“Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Hypocrite!  First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Thus, I am happy to say goodbye to 2017, as it was one of the worst years of my life.  I was forced to suddenly flee my home in the middle of the night out of crippling fear.  With absolutely no planning involved, a broken heart, a confused mind, a weak body, and nobody to talk to out of shame and embarrassment, I felt God urging me to be strong, to let go of what once was, to fight for my life, and to move on.  Throughout all of my travels, only one thing remained true and steady, and that was Jesus Christ who never left my side.  His guidance, protection, mercy, and love was all that I ever needed.

God led me to New York City in October, a place filled with an abundance of opportunities and cultural diversity.  Here, I could start over and meet good people and continue my love of serving others.  I quietly celebrated my own New Year two months ago as I went through the daunting tasks of finding an apartment, moving, looking for jobs, internships, and volunteer work.  Although I am glad to be in a new city, I am completely on my own.  I pray that Jesus will surround me with honest, intelligent, ambitious, goal-oriented, socially conscience, selfless, loving people, who are able to look beyond themselves and serve others.  

One of my worst habits that I wish to get rid of in the New Year is to not let negative people control my life.  When I am let down by someone close to me, I just want to give up at times.  But I remember the scripture in Luke 6:27:

 “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you, and lend to them, expect nothing in return.”  

As I bless those who mistreat me, I feel God telling me that I’ve come too far this year and I cannot allow my life to be dictated by a few poor apples.  I must continue His work of serving others, and God has given me another outlet for this by blessing me with my recent acceptance into NYU’s Master’s of Social Work program.  Jesus has answered my prayers as I have been asking Him for discernment on finding more of a vocation than a career, something that will allow me to continue to serve Him through helping the most disenfranchised people in society.  Social work will fulfill my passion of serving the poor, abused children, the sick, elderly, and immigrants.

I try to take inventory of the people and bad habits I should not partake in anymore.  I repent for my many failures in the past year to God and I pledge to learn from them and move towards a better future.  I am a victim of my pride and jealousy.  I have also realized that I have the most trouble with feeding my flesh.  When I am hungry or tired or in pain, I can turn into a different person, who I am not proud of.  I am again reminded by our ever present Lord to not gratify my flesh in Romans 8:9-11:

“The flesh craves what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit is contrary to the flesh. They are opposed to one another, so that you do not do what you want.  The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and sorcery; hatred, discord, jealousy, and rage; rivalries, divisions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, carousing, and the like.  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us walk in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another.”

The Blessed Virgin Mary encourages us to listen to the words of her Son, who said, “Behold, I am making all things new! (Revelations 21:5)”  She wants us to know that only Jesus can satisfy our desire for change, and we need His help to make our New Year’s resolutions a reality.  We honor the Virgin Mary on January 1st of each year during the Feast of the Solemnity of the Mother of God, and celebrate Her motherhood of Jesus.

Reading 1, Sir 3:2-6, 12-14

God sets a father in honor over his children;
a mother's authority he confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
and preserves himself from them.
When he prays, he is heard;
he stores up riches who reveres his mother.
Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,
and, when he prays, is heard.
Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;
he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.

My son, take care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life;
kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
firmly planted against the debt of your sins
—a house raised in justice to you.

In addition to honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary, we also celebrate the rest of the Holy Family, Jesus of Nazareth, and his foster father, Saint Joseph.  Christians should try to emulate the values of love, patience, and forgiveness the Holy Family.  In Reading One, God shows us that honoring parents is a sign of righteousness and is a means of divine blessing.  The patience required for the care of elderly parents also strengthens one’s character.  Ancient cultures were family-oriented and elderly-centered.  However, our American culture is just the opposite.  What was common necessity then is now considered optional.  Yet, the advice given in Sirach is just as meaningful today as it was over two millennia ago.  Honoring parents creates strong families.  I am grateful to God for blessing me with wonderful, supportive parents, who have been there for me my entire life and support me in everything that I do.  

Gospel, Luke 2:22, 39-40

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
they took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord.
When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

The Holy Family as an example of how to raise children is central to this Gospel reading.  We see that parents’ must nurture their children's physical, mental, and spiritual development, but should also allow them enough independence to develop their own individuality.   We see how Jesus was raised by the Blessed Virgin Mary and his foster father, Joseph, in Nazareth.   Jesus’ spiritual development was due to mostly Joseph teaching the Bible to Jesus.  While most children are weak in their understanding of spiritual matters, Jesus was strong in spirit at an early age.  Parents, very often, focus on making sure their children are growing strong and healthy physically, but they should also be taught the Word of God, both in school and by example.

Happy New Year!  I pray that the Lord will Bless you and your family in the Year of Our Lord, 2018.  I also pray that God will bless our pledges to begin again.

Maria Theresa Perez recently moved to Chelsea and found this amazing church located 1 block away from her home! She immediately began to volunteer for the Xavier mission, where she serves others at the Welcome Table, the All Saints Clothing Room, and the Food Pantry.  She also volunteers with the Honduras Companion Communities Project, the Xavier Peace and Justice Committee, Xavier Young Adults, and with The Women Who Stayed. 

Born and raised in Chicago, Maria graduated from Loyola University Chicago, where she majored in Biology and Psychology, with a minor in Chemistry.  She previously taught Religious Education at her church in Illinois.  Currently, Maria works as a substitute teacher at Notre Dame Academy and interns for two politicians in the city.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Gina Martinez Has Something To Say

In this busy season of parties, reunions, presents, and mostly joyful carols, it is easy to separate the Infant on the feeding trough from the young man in the synagogue who reads the words: “the spirit of the lord is upon me, because he anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden…”  It is easy to separate that stable in Bethlehem from Golgotha and the empty tomb.  Likewise, it is easy to separate the teenaged Jewish peasant of Nazareth, espoused to a man named Joseph, from the mother who stood at the foot of the cross and who was in the upper room at Pentecost. But let there be moments of clarity and grateful attention to what cannot be separated if we are to celebrate not only the gift but also the work of Christmas.

In my philosophy classes we talk about loving a person as actively being with that person in her ‘givens’ (the facts she did not choose) and in her carving out of her yet unfinished self.  It is a nourishing fidelity, a faithful being with that is never blind to her shadows and imperfections and that is always creative of her and committed to her total well-being as body, mind, spirit here and now.   In today’s gospel, the angel Gabriel assured Mary that God—the God who creates, sustains, and renews the universe --has found favor with her, and is with her.  We Christians today understand something more of what her being ‘favored’ meant: that in her womb God’s longing to be with you and me and every other person would, literally, take on flesh. God’s desire to heal, free, and relieve, to patiently and unceasingly mold and shape each one towards true gladness and fullness of humanity would take on a body in Jesus.  Can anyone be with us more than this God who was with us as like us and among us— who lived a human life and died  a human death, who took the risk of walking on our earth and being exposed, like us, to illness, harm, cold indifference, and outright violence?

How can we be Gabriel—bearer of good news—to every other? How can we be Gabriel to every person entrusted to our care in our homes, workplaces, circles of friends and communities?  How can our choices lift and comfort people beyond our immediate communities and beyond our borders, whose suffering reaches us everyday in the news and in social media? How can we say to them through the programs that we support or question: God has walked your path, sees and hears your fears and aspirations, wants it badly for you to have life to the fullest.  How can we turn to the poor, the immigrant, the marginalized, the political and economic refugee, the ‘Dreamer’, the jobless, the physically and mentally challenged and say: Do not be afraid, God is with you, is nearer to you than you think. God has got your back!

How can we be Mary, who from ordinary moment to ordinary moment, amidst domestic chores and through people and events of everyday life, be open and attuned to God’s visits, to God’s voice and calling? How can we have her thinking faith?  "Behold,” Gabriel said “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and…. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.” But Mary also responded with all the resources of her reason; she was “greatly troubled” and “pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” We today, who are also called to give birth again and again to Jesus in our lives, also find ourselves deeply troubled. We ask our own “How can this be?”  How can we heal, and free, and relieve others when we ourselves are wounded and inclined to choose bondage over real freedom, choose the ‘life’ of the world over the life God dreams for everyone. Each of us is only one body, in a particular time and particular place, juggling many roles with very limited time and very limited resources. The enormity of the problems discourage and frustrate us. More than two thousand years after God walked on earth to be with us and show us what being fully human is, the world remains inhuman; deeply rooted systems oppress, exploit, and exclude. Human greed, lust for power, and violence still rules. The treasure-building system that dominates the economic global network is clearly rigged against the poor.  Glad tidings to the poor?

But take comfort! We are not alone. God’s grace bears us. Mary believed in this and stepped with quiet courage into God’s love story.  Her ‘yes’ was not passive subordination but active surrender—to a role or destiny that had to grow on her. We too are called to trust that all our tiny and imperfect efforts to be with every other person—both near and far—do not amount to nothing.   God who longed to be with us is in us and has gone before us in the adventure of being with each other. “The Spirit of the Lord” the angel Gabriel assured Mary, “will overshadow you.” The Spirit of the Lord asks only to be received, to be enabled to work and transform us. On a more personal note, this is a good place to share a prayer I had fallen in love with, that my daughter and I recite when we walk to her school every morning. With Mary of Nazareth, Mary our mother, we say:

Grow Jesus,
Grow in me.
In my spirit,
In my heart,
In my imagination,
In my senses.’
Grow in me
In your gentleness,
your purity,
your humility,
your zeal,
your LOVE.
Grow in me
With your grace,
Your light,
And your peace.
Grow in me for the glorification of your Father,
For the greater honor of God.  (Pierre Olivaint)

(Blessed Christmas to you, to all whom you love, and all who love you!!!!)


Gina Martinez has fallen in love with the Xavier community through the Easter Triduum; she has attended the Triduum for a number of times before she and her family became registered and regular parishioners, six years ago. The Family Faith community and the Women Who Stayed continue to inspire her. She and her husband and daughter enjoy being members of the intergenerational Family Faith Choir. She teaches ‘Introduction to Ethics’ at Berkeley College and “Film and Contemporary Issues in Ethics’ in ‘Sundays at JASA’ (Jewish Association Supporting the Aging).

Friday, December 15, 2017

Rosann Bonadia Has Something To Say

Feast of the Immaculate Conception December 8, 2017

Readings tonight seem to talk a lot about relationships, namely how we have been related to God in Christ since the dawn of creation itself.  On this feast day of the Immaculate Conception we hear one of the relatively few stories about the woman we call Mary, the Mother of Jesus, a major player in the mediation of that One Divine  relationship.   She is called many things:  (Miriam) of Nazareth, Our Lady of Many Cities or Virtues, Queen of Heaven, Blessed Virgin, the Immaculate Conception and Mother of God (in the Greek that word is Theotokas – meaning the bearer of God).  

What do all these titles mean – what have we as a church been trying to say.  I confess I was an adult before I learned the IC does not refer to Jesus and the Virgin Birth but is saying something about Mary.   What I hear coming out in the story is that Mary was young, really, young.  Biblical scholars who interpret this story in its many ancient languages say the best description for Mary is that of young girl and they put her age at this point in her life at around 14 years old.

As I reflected on a 14 year old girl – on the threshold of womanhood – dealing with this situation presently confronting her – what was Mary feeling.  I know it is not easy being really young, no longer a child but not quite an adult, and it is not easy being female just then as well.  The tradition that I grew up in doesn’t offer a lot of relevant insights about what life was like for Mary in these years.   In our house and in my Aunt’s homes there were busts of Mary in a prayerful pose with her head tilted to the side or pictures of her where she looks like  she just stepped out of Renaissance Europe.  When my Aunt Vera wanted to bless us kids she would take her tiny bust of Mary and tap it on top of our heads....and I did feel blessed actually. 

When I received this opportunity tonight I asked Mary for help – and didn’t so much ask what I should say but what should I see.

So this week I ended up thinking of the young girl from Pakistan whose name is Malala who was shot by the Taliban when she was 15 years old because she demanded girls in her country receive an adequate education.  She is now a Nobel laureate and an icon of the movement that promotes the education of girls worldwide.  Remember the 234 school girls in Nigeria who were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram while sitting in their classrooms in school – their captors fearing how an education might empower these young people and so sought to break their spirits by abusing their bodies and stealing their freedom.  I think of Michelle Obama coming out of Chicago’s southside with no family resources to support her - advocating for global support for girls of all cultures to receive an education and be the agents of their own lives.  I think in our society we forget what a revolutionary idea this still is.

When I think of Mary of the IC which the church celebrates today – I no longer think of a European Renaissance painting but rather of a young girl of dark complexion, in ancient Palestine, a Jewish peasant  living under an oppressive Government regime, and most likely she was not very well-educated – but her heart was indeed pure because it was filled with the belief in God’s boundless love – God’s unyielding presence in her life and abiding trustworthiness.   Mary knew her baby was from God.

And in her joy she gave us the song called The Magnificat –

“God has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart
and put down the mighty from their thrones,
God has exalted the lowly
and has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty”

Is this not the blueprint for the message that Jesus would later proclaim.  His mother his first teacher.

Of all the titles bestowed on Mary I think less of Virgin or Queen or Lady but of the one we receive from our Greek brothers and sisters -  Theotokas, God-bearer.  

As we travel to the light of Christmas perhaps we can think of ways we can all be God-bearers, and even more importantly – how do we as a church, as a society, as a country, as citizens of the world,  show and teach and tell today’s young girls on the threshold of womanhood – that they too can be Bearers of God. 

Hail Theotokas, full of Grace.  – Hail.

Rosann has been an active parishioner at Xavier for over 30 years. She was a staff member for some of that time working in Spirituality and Social Justice ministries. She has a Masters of Divinity from the Jesuit Theology School at Boston College and a Masters Philosophy in Theology from Fordham. She currently works as a Research Analyst in a New York City law firm. 

Dee Kelly Has Something To Say

Dee’s Canticle 

My soul’s ambition is to magnify the Love my God has shown me. 

How is it possible for me to do anything but rejoice, for my God has done great things for me, leading me through times of such darkness and misery, through grief, through illnesses and fears, up out of isolation and into community. 

There is nothing more holy than God’s name: Love. 

God’s mercy glimmers like a golden thread throughout all history, shining beautifully in the lives of all the people who made their lives a living testament to Love: Alphonsus Rodriguez (the beloved doorkeeper), Pierre Toussaint, Dorothy Day, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Etty Hillesum, Takashi Nagai (mystic of Nagasaki) and countless others, the humble, quiet and unrecognized, and those who live in awe of God’s magnificent creation, recognizing and embodying God’s tender mercies and healing compassion throughout our world. 

The arrogant are brought down from their judgmental hilltops. 

The powerful have been dethroned, the poor and powerless have been shown The Way. 

Those who hunger have been fed with all good things. 

The rich have been sent away to count their money and never be satisfied. 

The God of Infinite Love has remembered the promise made to God’s people, to care for us with unbounded mercy today and every day, until the end of time. 

Deidre Kelly came to St. Francis Xavier 6 years ago and regrets it was not sooner. It has poured MiracleGro onto her spiritual life. She is especially grateful to the friends who work so hard in ISEL (Ignatian Spirituality in Everyday Life) as well as for the Bible study.  Learning about Ignatian Spirituality has transformed her life and given her a new direction. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Solange Lillian Wall Has Something To Say

"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." John the Baptist was sent by God  to testify to the "light " to share what he had received and witnessed.  In our Baptism and sacramental life we are called to bear witness.

My faith perspective is  a fabric or quilt of many textures and binding threads. A colorful example of showing up in many intriguing, challenging ways.  How do we bear witness and tell the stories ?  What do we believe?  Why do we stay?

Recently, several women and I gathered  in a prayer circle to meet Our Lady of Guadalupe and the ancient Aztec earth goddess Tonanzin, known to the Aztec/Nahua people as" Mother of the One Who makes the sun  and the earth". Her temple was at Tepeyac. Appearing as an indigenous  woman with child  she was recognized and in turn she recognized the need of the people to be understood, respected and embraced . Within the Divine Mystery the eternal presence of the Divine Feminine  The maternal face of God  has been shown to all.

Mary was present to us and with us in our circle as we  shared the ways she is celebrated recognized and honored. She will continue to show up in times of trials and tribulation to remind her people in the world that " trouble doesn't last always , joy comes in the morning"

It has been said that "when you hear a witness you become a witness."  Almost five hundred years ago Juan Diego was chosen by Our Lady of Guadalupe as her witness. Her words were words of love, compassion and protection. As in her Magnificat she shows herself not to the powerful but to the oppressed, " Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child." Our Lady  of Guadalupe, the Mother showed up speaking a language of familiarity and liberation.  Juan Diego the witness, the one to tell was placed in a shift of power from one who was told, and disregarded in the historical imbalance of power of oppression to the one to tell. 

Our space for grace "inspired by the "Blessed  Assurance" of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady the goddess and grandmother Tonanzin has provided many gifts beyond what we know and how we live. The  witness and wisdom shared  that keeps faith  and hope alive has brought  forth  a Canticle of Gratitude, a Memorare for our times and a Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady Tonanzin. 

In these days and times in our world, Our Lady of Guadalupe Patroness of the Americas we need you. Ven con nosotros a caminar. Sancta Maria ven.

In the Divine Mystery, God "makes a way from no way ". 

Solange Lillian Wall is a member of The Women Who Stayed,  participant in Lay Spirits 2012/13 and is the GRAIL ECOSOC  representative on UN Permanent Forum Committee on Indigenous Rights

Christine Ricelle Santisteban holding Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Women's Circle. 

Mother of mercy and compassion, Madonna of Tonantzin, Our Lady of Guadalupe....with your tender hands guide us and help us be ever mindful of any shortcomings and times we failed to love, times we forget ourselves. Guide us towards forgiveness at times we have been hurt. May we be in solidarity with those seeking healing and peace. Madonna of Tonantzin, Our Lady of Guadalupe pray with us. Holy women pray for us