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Sophia "Workshop"

Sophia "Workshop"

Cherrylanne Menezes, India

 

Mumbai: Capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra, known to us as Bombay, today is the commercial and entertainment capital of India, generating 5% of the country’s GDP and  70% of all capital transactions.  With a population of more than 13 million inhabitants, it is the most populated city on the Indian sub-continent.  The majority is Hindu, but present are also Muslims and Buddhists, with Christians making up 2%.  Cherrylanne Menezes comes from this part of India to be with us at Sophia, having already acquired a degree in Business and Commerce and some years of professional experience in administration and management,.

 

 

How did you come to the IUS? 

 

It was quite unexpected, to say the truth.  I knew about the IUS and admired the ‘idea’ from which it was born, but I didn’t think there would have been time to return to the books in this phase of my life … And yet, when the idea to come here for two years was proposed to me, I immediately felt it came as a gift.
I met with the spirituality of the Movement during my years in university which were very important years of my life… Maybe, also because of this, to be studying at Sophia today, seems to me a marvelous opportunity I wish to take advantage of to the utmost.  


How was the first impact? 

 

I felt joy, but also a certain apprehension: it wouldn’t be easy to go back to studying after some years.  At the same time, I felt thrilled!
I have been trying to live according to the spirit of unity for some time now and I have experienced the fruits of it.  But here at Sophia I would like to know better the cultural elaboration this kind of life is producing.  I registered in order to specialize in Trinitarian Ontology and it seems that each day is a step forward in the comprehension of the ‘law’ that is instilled in each one of us, as in the story of our people.
It is too early yet to give a more complete opinion since I just enrolled, but I think these next few months will be, above all, an ‘interior’ journey, made together.

 

In some parts of India, living together with people of different faiths, is becoming difficult.  What has been your experience? 
 

Personally, as a Christian, I have never felt excluded at school, or at work.  My family is a very open one in this sense and I grew up in this atmosphere.  I know well that in other parts of India this is not so, that one is far from living in harmony.  But this is one more reason for me to do my part!
I think that globalization, online networks, the remixing of our peoples...are roads already open, but the great transformations need to be sustained by great ideas, by a culture which can welcome and compose diversities.  The academic experience we are living is a privileged space to help us grow in the culture of dialogue and of peace. 


What of the risk of going away from your country, from your people’s problems? 
 

I really don’t think it is.  More than the risk of distancing myself, I see here an opportunity to open myself to the life of others.  I could have studied philosophy or theology in universities in my own country, but the interdisciplinary and intercultural journey offered by the IUS is something more.  Sometimes I ask myself as well: we are all from such different countries, what urges us to come here?  Why go through the struggle of living this together?  There is someone here from Egypt, another from Syria... And there are students from Europe, Africa, Latin-America... Listening to their stories, participating in the personal events of each one, is another thing altogether than listening to some reportage on television, this is a live exchange between our worlds.
I would say that Sophia is made for the world:  we started from Loppiano, but this workshop must multiply, and we are only at the beginning…

 

Text edited by: Patricia Lima Da Silva

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