From March 5 to 15, 2013, eight young women from Mexico participated in a life-changing event at the UN when they participated in the 57th Annual Conference of the Commission on the Status of Women. All eight attend a school sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Lyon in Mexico. Here in the US they joined with students from the Mary Louis Academy, sponsored by the Brentwood Sisters of St Joseph in New York, to tell their story, to listen and to learn at many events connected with the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
Sr. Griselda Martinez Morales, the Sisters of St Joseph representative at the UN shared, “We had an extraordinary experience. With more than 30 young women: students, alumnae and teachers of CSJ schools, we took part in the different activities related to this important and very crowded Conference (with 60,000 persons registered!). This year’s Conference theme “Elimination and Prevention of All Kinds of Violence against Women and Girls” had a variety of workshops, conferences, testimonies, art shows, dance, theatre, videos, painting, etc. focusing on the same theme.”
One of the Mexican students, Marie Jose Oliver de la Mora, summarized her experience as “one of the greatest blessings God has sent into my life.” She continued, “Today I can say that I am a different person, that every night I pray differently, and ask God for different things, because I believe more firmly than ever that this will help me have the strength to fight what comes. I can swear that I think differently and above all, I dream differently.”
Their two weeks at the UN led the girls to articulate their desire “to become aware of the reality of our world, become involved with it and work to improve it. We have to stop complaining and begin to act, to be part of something bigger.”
Sr. Griselda noted, “I saw the beginning of their consciousness being raised, and their desire to be involved with and committed to the arduous task of ending all kinds of violence against women and girls.”
The hope is that this and other similar experiences at the UN will have a ripple effect and lead to real change in our society, change which is the reason for the UN.