- Women's Testimonies:Spirituality and Social Justice
feminist theology, social justice, women's spirituality
My name is Carmen Bustos. I was born in a little town in the state of Guerrero. I have lived in Morelos since thirty years ago. I am an architect. A few years ago, I was quite restless. I searched all over for something to calm me, or perhaps to make sense of everything. I knew it was a spiritual search, and since that moment, I had a feeling about what is now quite clear: the manifestation of my spirituality had to do with a search for the well-being and justice of my community, of my surroundings, and of my fellow people. Living in a country as wounded as Mexico hurt me then just as much as it does now. These were times when violence from the war against drug trafficking would burst into our lives. The number of murders chillingly soared, the feminicide that until then was concentrated in Ciudad Juárez expanded to other places, and hundreds of mothers took to the streets to search for their missing children. All of these situations (which unfortunately continue to worsen) posed a question to my conscience and to my faith in Christ, who was brought to the cross for rebuking the injustices committed by the oppressive system of his time.
This search brought together a group of us laywomen who wished to become a part of a national and international group of laypersons belonging to the congregation of Catholic nuns called the Helpers of the Holy Souls. We started the Amigas Auxiliadoras de Cuernavaca in 2011 and began studying feminist theology with Dr. Maria Van Doren. My conscience was expanded through this training, and I realized that there are many types of violence, often less obvious than those that had concerned me up until then but none less painful and harmful: the violence that the patriarchal system exercises against women and that keeps them subjected to, oppressed by, and relegated to a condition of inhumanity, not considered as subjects but rather as objects at the service of men and the patriarchal system. Feminist theology also allowed me to deepen my knowledge of Jesus—or rather it helped me discover another Jesus: a Jesus in solidarity with others, close to and loving toward women in a cruelly sexist and patriarchal society. This liberating message that unfolded before me through feminist biblical hermeneutics excited me so much that together with other laywomen of the congregation, I entered into a process of spreading information and awareness among women.
Thus, in September 2013, with the support of Dr. Marilú Rojas Salazar, we began a series of conferences called "Women in the Bible." That series ended [End Page 117] in October 2015, and in November of the same year, we began the series "The History of the Women in the Church." By studying the lives of women in the Bible, we have found examples of wisdom and courage in finding pathways toward justice in these tumultuous times we are living in. Looking at the stories of the deaconesses, virgins, and widows in the Acts of the Apostles, the beguines and the doctors of the Church such as Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Jesus, Therese of the Child Jesus, and Hildegard von Bingen, teaches us that women are also builders, not only of ecclesial communities but also of the theological thinking and spirituality of the church to which we belong.
In September 2015, thanks to the solidarity of the team of Feminist Women Theologians and Researchers, we organized the first Saturday symposium on Feminist Liberation Theology in Cuernavaca, with twenty-two women participating weekly and the occasional presence of a couple of men. Currently, the work continues moving toward new pathways that are opening up with the inclusion of other women who are not necessarily joining our group but adhering to the consciousness of the love, respect, and worthiness that we women are deserving of and that feminist theology has allowed us to discover. Now I will discuss the work and commitment of some of these women. I owe having met them and our friendships to...