MY TEACHING EXPERIENCE
The wonderful experience I lived as teacher in Santa Rosa school in Puno, south of Peru at 3,824 meters above sea level is a milestone in my professional, missionary and personal life. Paraphrasing Mother Ascension Nicol “I have never felt so close to God as in those sixteen months in the mountain.” From that place I embraced the educational project “To educate from life for life” as a consolidation of my missionary and professional vocation, serving people in need in the altiplano, where the church and my country needed me. The project has a humanistic liberating tendency rooted in helping the poor and forming women, taking as a reference the potentiality that poor people and women are able to develop. In fact, during the historical events that took place in Puno, women were protagonists in the South Andes church and civil society.
The educational project embodied a shared vision of educating and forming women strengthening the capacities and abilities that appeared from their feminine essence as recognition of their dignity, not from their Christian conception but from the conquest of their rights and empowerment from different spheres of society. To start from women’s potentiality in their condition of poor and marginalized was and still is an invitation for betting for life and not any life that fits society’s status quo and the selfish national and international interests that insist on considering these women as second category citizen. Our educational and evangelical proposal from teaching vocation has been an option for life, because Jesus helps us to remember that we are called for life, because himself has come for us to have life and for having it in abundance (John 10.10).
From the educational sphere, Santa Rosa’s project is encouraged by Beatus Asencion Nicol Goni “It is not enough to act good, but to do it good as well.” This is a practice in our professional life required by the standard of a high-quality education, as reference to reach integral and solid formation of women under the best conditions. We embark and insist on contributing “to make people happy who in mutual joining have to live with me…” and “to see happy to those who I love…” In conclusion, to educate and form women is the gestation of a new family project with new gender relationship in equity and shared responsibility. We propose a project of a fair and democratic society that will be expressed in a coexistence of “mutual union” that is necessary to dignify the human being. Monsignor Ramon Zubieta and Mother Ascension Nicol had a vision of women role starting on educating them since they were “the base of family and society.”
This has been a prophetic intuition, women education on abandoned zones must be without “shrunk in front of difficulties that are faced in our way, because that is the typical posture of emaciated souls.” Our Mother and our sisters, who lived their discipleship in crucial contexts with mystic and passion in the educative action and social pastoral under constant danger because of Sendero Luminoso and the repressive politics from governments, gave their lives without truce or rest and without excuses or rewards because “here is needed (sisters) brave spirits and who love sacrifice, because who does not have this qualities is not helping our work.” The sisters know that this is necessary for living with joy and unconditional dedication, since they must be all-proof, in our educative space in our Santa Rosa school as well as in the mission and pastoral activity of the South Andes church that accompanies Puno’s people.
To be honest, the educative work is not limited to cloisters of the educative institution, but to the request of putting into practice what has been learned with clear compromises serving brothers and sisters in need, as it is in the current context. The sociopolitical circumstances demanded before and even now liberating and transforming education from the formal and informal sphere with wide horizons from which is possible the unfolding of women’s essence, starting by their potentialities and denying the vulnerable condition of marginalized and discriminated woman. This perspective established institutional educative politics of Santa Rosa, taking Dominican spirituality characteristics to provide essential vitality, emphasizing ethic and pedagogical formation’s permanent improvement of teachers where public expenditure was minimum, even before those formation politics proposed nowadays by the government. Work team and joint responsibilities in the work of teachers from administrative pedagogical work in classrooms with transformational leadership from lay people who marked their personal and professional aspirations to educate “for being happy” to the people. The teachers’ charisma is reflected in the dedication and service of the formation, integral development of women and the progress of our society.
I feel that during this time of staying at Santa Rosa, in addition to the efforts that teachers are doing, I’m just the bearer of Mother Ascension Nicol’s aspirations made true by the educative community and for the generations of women who today make history in the verge of new times. There is nothing more meaningful as Mother Ascension said that “the generosity’s measure of a person (…) is at the same time the measure of happiness”, which I lived passionately because God’s spirit transcends beyond the presence of the congregation and the continuity of secular men and women who validate for today and for the future the option of the woman from a liberating and transforming education.