Cecilia E. Sturla

Professor of Philosophy at the Universidad Católica Argentina and in schools. She was a teacher at the Father J. Kentenich Pedagogical Center, is a lecturer in leadership, education, feminism and philosophy, and a speaker at national and international congresses of philosophy and theology.

She is married to José María Sanguinetti since 1997 and has six children. Both of them joined the Schoenstatt Youth in the early 90’s. Since then they have been working with youth, couples and participating in youth and family missions. They are members of the Schoenstatt Family Institute.

They were leaders of the Family Work and diocesan coordinators in Salta. They were members of the Commission for Family Pastoral of the Diocese of Salta. They have been speakers at conferences and retreats for couples and in the diocesan assemblies of Salta and Jujuy, Argentina.

What experiences have formed you as a woman?

All the experiences I have had have formed my life as a woman. I became aware of the importance of my being a woman when I dealt with the feminisms of the 20th century and studied them from the perspective of Father Kentenich.

At what points in your life have you experienced God?

When I got to know the world of Schoenstatt. There I had my most powerful experience with God. The life of Father Kentenich had an impact on my young soul, and this impact has not been lost yet, but rather it increases with each passing year. God manifested Himself in these moments, in the encounter with Pepe, who has been my husband for 23 years, in my children, in my community of the Family Institute. I experienced God in each of the events that have shaped me. In those that I noticed, but also in those events that, without my even realizing it, led me to unthinkable places.

What challenges do you see for women today?

There are many challenges that I see for women. In Latin American countries, where the role of women in the domestic sphere was very strong, it is very important to portray a woman who can reconcile her profession with her vocation as a mother. There are certain injustices committed by both public and private institutions, which we do not recognize. They confront women with the choice of staying at home or working at the expense of the family. This is due to the widespread opinion that the majority of domestic work should be done by women. I think that this is not the case. Men and women in a community of interests and work perspectives should share housework. This is one of the most difficult issues today. Without lapsing into extremes that lead nowhere.

Promoting the participation of women in public life is a major challenge. Women who have this vocation should be valued and promoted to the maximum, because a policy where the feminine perspective does not exist is a truncated policy, with a distorted view and the view of economic interests to the point of fatigue. The bloody 20th century is an example of male-dominated politics that ended in massacres such as never before in the history of humankind.  We must therefore encourage women to participate in politics in our societies. We have to try to make things a little easier for them and establish more creative and “ad hoc” rules to ensure that women bring their essential gifts to society: more dialogue, a more humane and solidarity-based view of the economy and a home wherever they go, without having to give up their original vocation of motherhood.  The opinions of women should find a specific space and a more open listening. Many will say that women already have this space, and perhaps it is the case in some countries. But in others it is not so. The world is not governed by Western and bourgeois culture.

Please understand correctly that I do not want to force all women into politics in the same way. If I have chosen to be a housewife, then my responsibility as a citizen will be to provide my children with an education based on looking at the whole reality, not just the limited area of the school, the neighborhood and relationships with people I feel comfortable with. The role of women is too important to downplay the role of mothers in society. It is not only about giving love and affection to children, but also about opening their eyes to an unjust world that needs people to make it more just. Faced with a world of disproportionate wealth and poverty. The education of my children “of outstanding quality” is of no use to me if it does not enable them to fight and strive to reform those institutions that cry out to heaven for such unjust reasons. If women are not aware of the social and political role they play in their own homes, the efforts of an entire society to educate others against the individualistic values of the home will be of little consequence.

Another of the great challenges is the role of women in the Church, but this theme is much more than just words!

What do you want to change in this world through your life?

To translate Father Kentenich’s vision of society, of the masculine and feminine, into reality, to put it into practice. To collaborate in this is my life’s task, by opening our gaze to a much deeper reality than what we have before our eyes.