Isabel defines herself with four key words: a woman, Guatemalan, a mother and a peacebuilder. Each one of these words contains a universe. To say “woman” in Guatemala is to say gender violence is present in all the fields of life.
She is a mother of two youths, proud and clear of how that has allowed her to work with other young people closely and profoundly. Peacebuilder because since she was a young girl, the struggle for justice was part of everyday life. She grew up in a home in which her parents were committed to that search and with the Catholic Church's mandate of love. Isabel suffered her mother's exile, the fear and the migration. That is why she knows, very closely, the journey of those who suffer violence and has dedicated her life to the struggle for peace.
“Peace is born in the human heart.”
And that is the foundation of her work in topics about emergencies, migration or youth. Seeking peace, but not from a romantic and symbolic idea, but peace as a form of dignified life for everyone. The search for a society with social justice that will allow that all persons develop their full potential. That nobody remains behind.
She has the privilege of doing what she loves while she makes an effort to leave a legacy in her country, which went through 36 years of armed confrontation, and where injustice continues to be present. In a way, Isabel provides continuity to the work begun by her parents. That is why when five years ago she arrived at CRS and understood the root of the organization she thought that being a part of it was a plan of her father from heaven. At CRS she confirmed that, with solidarity, we can change the world. And little by little she has been confirming that yes, it can be done.
“One has to live the faith he professes. Faith goes farther, beyond prayers or masses.”
And with this, Isabel poses the challenge of being coherent, of living one's faith and job, based on a commitment, because as she points out, peace has to do with everyday relations, the relations among social groups, of institutions and of churches. To the extent that we learn to deal with conflict, that we learn to manage fair and equitable relations, then we are building peace.
“I believe that the only thing that gives meaning to your life is the love for yourself and the love for everyone else. And that cannot be something abstract. What happens to others, stirs one up. The word stirs in Spanish [conmueve] is beautiful because it is related to the verb to move.”
... and the pain of others does in fact move the causes that Isabel supports. Her search for peace and her work at CRS continues to be in motion.
This month we celebrate our Hispanic heritage. Celebrate with CRS!