There are two persons, who motivate me to begin with this journey. The first one is my spiritual director, a Franciscan Friar, Sean Harris. Three years ago he suggested that I begin a Women’s Ministry. He noted, “There are many women suffering…they are not able to attend therapy sessions because of language barriers…” After praying and listening to God for two years, I decided to embrace this challenge – to evangelize at the periphery as Pope Francis has urged. Thus, Latina Center MARIA opened with a Mothers’ Day celebration on May, 2016 at the office of La Comunidad, Inc in Everett, where many women from different religious, and nationalities get together.
Now, Latina Center Maria is an emotional, and spiritual support group, where women share their stories, and support each other. Each person who has immigrated to the United States has a unique story to tell – a story of challenges and fears, of hope and dreams; a story of how difficult it is to learn a new language, and to integrate into an unfamiliar society and culture. This is a part of my story, and I thank God for giving me energy in difficult times, and for providing opportunities for me to pursue my own education.
The second person is a Latina bilingual professional, who told me that the women of Latina Center, cannot attend the English professional development trainings on her organization because they do not speak the language.The Center now offers, professional development trainings in Spanish, workshops, regarding learning process and multiple intelligence theory, health, employment, housing, college application process, active parenting, as well as Building your Children Self-Esteem to avoid bullying. It is the mothers who pay special attention to the education and behavior of their children…that is why it is super important to offer them the tools they need to do that work with success.
Why the name Maria? Because one day after Mass at the Archdioceses of Boston, where Cardinal Sean O’Malley celebrated the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed. When I was on my knees, I listened the voice of God, saying ‘the group will be outside the church to serve all women, the name will be MARIA: ‘M’ for Mujer o Madre, all of them will be welcome; ‘A’ for Autentica, you are an unique creation; ‘R’ for Restaurada, because I have restored each of you every day; ‘I’ for Inteligente, because I gave all of my kids, the same intelligence; ‘A’ for Amorosa (loving person) because there is not better reference of my love, than the Mother’s love
BIOGRAFIA DE LA FUNDADORA Y DIRECTORA EJECUTIVA DEL CENTRO DE LATINAS MARIA; Magalie Yolanda Torres-Rowe
She was born in Oyotun, a small costall town north of Peru. She is the youngest daughter of Jose V. Torres Becerra, and Yolanda Delgado de Torres. She married Richard Rowe, and has four children: Juan, Deysi, Katie, and Richie.
Her studies: Magalie’s grandparents and parents have told her that the study is the key, which open every single door, and the best tool to empower herself and her neighbors. She was the first one of the five top student on her elementary school, the Valedictorian of her High School class, and obtained her Bachelor Degree as an Agricultural Engineer at National University “Pedro Ruiz Gallo.” In 1987, she got a scholarship for studying her first Master Degree in a Mexican University; Master of Science in Systems of Production. She was Professor at the Iberoamericana University in Torreon, Mexico for ten years, where she studied postgrads on Human Development, Continuous Improvement Process, and Business Administrations. In 1998, she got a full scholarship from the World Bank for studying her Ph.D in Community Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University. Her passion for her culture and language lead Magalie to study her Master in Teaching Spanish at Rivier University, where she got the Highest Distinction. Because she has been volunteering all her life at her parishes, she wanted to study Theology. Finally, last May of 2017, Magalie’s dream came truth, when she received her Master Degree from Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.
Magalie, always said, “I don’t collect university degrees to decorate my walls. I study to better serve my brothers and sisters in Christ because God gave me many talents to share with them.” “Yo no colecciono títulos universitarios para lucirlos en mi pared…estudio mucho para servir mejor a mis hermanos y hermanas en Cristo porque Dios me ha dado muchos talentos para compartirlos con ellos…”
Her employment: Magalie has worked with Jesuits Priests for many years in CIPCA, Piura, and at Catholic Colleges in Peru, Mexico. She is a former Professor at University of New Hampshire, and Boston College. At secondary education, she has taught Honors classes, and AP Spanish Language and Culture at Public High Schools in NH and MA, where their students, members of the Spanish National Honor Society, worked on several Community Service with the Hispanic Community. Now, she teaches at Lynn Public Schools, where she founded the first ever Spanish National Junior Honor Society, where the members are working at the ‘Big Brothers and Big Sisters’ School Service Program, supporting the English Language Learner (ELL) students.
Her volunteering: Magalie has been working within the Catholic Church for more tan twenty years in parishes and dioceses of Peru, Mexico and U.S.A. She said that reflecting on the source of inspiration for her ministries, she has realized that the Sisters of St. Joseph, played a key role in shaping her understanding of service. At the age of twelve, she learned from their example and teaching that the best way to serve God is to serve the dear neighbor. Today, as a CSJ Associate impelled by Sisters of St. Joseph’s charisma and mission, she strives to live this message, remembering always: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…” Col. 3, 23.
Today, her ministries involve working to support, educate, and empower her students, and their families, members of immigrant communities as they strive to learn English, adapt to a new culture, and embrace the challenges of life here in the United States.
Another key ministry is her work with the Latina Center MARIA (Mujer/Madre-Autentica-RestauradaInteligente-Amorosa) She said about her work, “Moving into the future, impelled by God’s inclusive love, I envision an expanding ministry – a ministry of hope: working to empower women through education, and offering tools they need as they guide their children to become the honest, hardworking citizens that society needs.”
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