I am the daughter of a Cuban single parent refugee mother.
I am bilingual and bi-cultural.
I am a translator, not by choice but by necessity.
From birth I’ve traveled between the world of mi familia to school, the marketplace, and the church.

I am an ordained Seventh-day Adventist minister with an undergraduate degree from La Sierra University and graduate degrees from Loma Linda University and Fuller Theological Seminary.  I chose CST for its ecumenical and interreligious commitments, because I believe the work of peace-building and justice-making cannot be done in isolation.

At CST, I came to understand my vocational identity as a pastor-scholar-clinician-activist.
At CST, I found a place where I could truly learn to seek to understand before being understood.
At CST, I study hope. I study images of God revealed in, among, and through the lived experiences of exploited indigenous women. These women sew jeans at a transnational corporation in a pueblo in Yucatán, México, and they live a life-giving gospel that defies the greed of a death-producing neoliberal capitalist gospel.

At CST, my research changed me. Every day, I find myself confessing and converting to the gospel these women live daily.

My work bridges the lived theology of the pueblo with academic theology. I went into this thinking I was going to gather data for what I already knew. I wanted to uncover these women’s coping strategies and to learn how they imagine a future they desire for their community. From that, I can make recommendations for spiritual care practices for those who minister to them and for others who work in similar conditions, and I can help the church assess its theology in light of these women’s experience.

At CST, professors like Dr. Kathleen Greider and Dr. Duane Bidwell, as well as clinical supervisors like Dr. Mary Kuhn, patiently nurture my journey to finding and owning my voice. I’m not sure I am done with that process, but even considering the idea that I belong in the academe was a ludicrous notion to me.

I am grateful to these professors, to my classmates, and to the people who support CST financially.

And I am indebted to my community and ancestors for the many privileges I have. I bring the wisdom of my community and my ancestors with me. If I have any success at all here at CST, it will be to use the tone of my voice to speak the truths that arise from the cacophony of voices that shaped me and brought me forward.

When you give to CST, you’re funding an institution that is invested in the formation of scholars who do soulful work with their hearts, hands, and head.

Many thanks,
Marlene Ferreras
Ph.D. Candidate, Practical Theology: Spiritual Care and Counseling