News & Events


Weaving Cultures—Entrelazando Culturas

by Mary Elaine Anderson, IHM

On September 8-10, 2020, Sisters Mary Ellen Higgins, Giovana Fuentes Bendivez, Elvia Mata Ortega and I participated in the fourth and final session of Weaving Cultures—Entrelazando Culturas. The two-year mentorship program was offered by the Mexican American Catholic College (MACC) to seven
international communities of women religious who desire to embrace the call to live interculturally. Usually the residential sessions are held in San Antonio, Texas; however, due to the pandemic, the three-day program took place via Zoom.

The theme of the first two days was “I Can’t Breathe.” In a roundtable panel, persons of color gave their personal testimony and engaged participants in reflection on the impact of the pandemic and critical conversation on “how systemic violence is as silently accepted as the air we breathe.”

On the third day, Sister Mercedes Casas Sanchez, who is the former president of CLAR (Confederation of Latin American Religious) and who currently works in Rome with CICLSAL (Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life), addressed us on the topic of interculturality. Mercedes' presentation was profound and thought-provoking. She invited us to reflect on the following:

  • Multiculturality is a fact; interculturality is a choice.
  • Consecrated life’s mission is interculturality.
  • The Trinity is the foundation for interculturality. Trinitarian love is inclusive.
  • Dialogue is the way to interculturality. Sometimes it implies death and conversion.
  • The culture of each person enriches the charism of the congregation.

As a culmination of our two-year participation in Weaving Cultures / Entrelazando Culturas, Sisters Mary Ellen, Giovana, Elvia and I have proposed this new initiative:

That we as a congregation create an Interculturality Committee to motivate us to grow in appreciation and awareness of the richness inherent in the many areas of diversity among us.

We have come to the realization that living interculturally as a congregation is a long and complex journey but one to which we need to commit ourselves at this moment in time for the common good of the global community. Our world is hungering deeply for justice and meaning regarding issues of race, immigration, and general fear of the “other”. It is our hope that this initiative brings us to live more fully the “radical interdependence,”
of which we speak so eloquently in our IHM Direction Statement 2018-2022.