ABOUT CHRISTINA

 

Christina brings over 10 years of experience offering spiritual programs and guidance to diverse audiences. From weekend retreats to spiritual direction, nature-based experiences to meditation classes, her passion is to create opportunities to facilitate people's spiritual growth and integration while highlighting the seamlessness between personal and social transformation; contemplation and action.

Christina's work is grounded in her Catholic contemplative background, her Buddhist studies and practice of 18 years, training as a mindfulness teacher, and lifelong commitment to ecological and social justice.  She holds a BA from Yale University and an MA from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.

 

HER STORY

 

Christina’s interest in the intersection of spirituality and social justice began over 20 years ago as an undergraduate at Yale University. While fully engaged in homeless and ecological issues, she co-founded the Social Justice Network and the organization Salt of the Earth, which held events to explore the role of spirituality in past and modern-day social justice leaders.

 

After college she served as a faith-based volunteer in the Philippines for 2 years with a local environmental justice movement. During language studies, Christina was introduced to Zen meditation in the Sanbo-Zen tradition. This was a life changing experience of being introduced into the discipline and gift of silence. While at first skeptical of whether she could practice Zen while remaining Catholic, her first Zen retreat was facilitated by Assumption Sisters and ended with the Catholic mass, assuring her that the two spiritualities could be complementary.

 

Back in the United States in 2000, Christina served as the first national director of the Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solutions. In 2001, she felt the call for deeper spiritual formation and moved to California to pursue graduate work at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. In the San Francisco Bay Area she continued her Buddhist practice in a Christian setting with Fr. Thomas Hand at Mercy Center, while also deepening in the Christian contemplative tradition at Hesed Community, an urban Benedictine community rooted in the teachings of the World Community of Christian Meditation. She began working with Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, offering retreats and workshops on the spirituality of non-violence. This offered her new language that connected personal, interpersonal, and systemic transformation. She also created the Malaya Project to explore the intersection of faith, spirituality, and social justice in the San Francisco Filipino American community through workshops and public gatherings.

 

After attaining her masters degree in systematic theology, in 2005, she began an intensive period of silent retreat practice at retreat centers around the country including Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Insight Meditation Society with teachers such as Jack Kornfield, James Baraz, Howard Cohen, Fr. Robert Kennedy, SJ, and Mary Jo Meadow.

In 2008 she entered Redwoods Monastery, a Trappistine monastery in Northern California discerning a contemplative vocation as a Catholic nun. This was a time of deep immersion in Cistercian/Benedictine spirituality, a life rooted in lectio divina, and the Christian mystical tradition. When she completed her novitiate, she discerned she was called back to a more active ministry and left the monastery in 2011. She moved to South Florida to be closer to family and began working in campus ministry at Barry University offering spiritual programs, teaching mindfulness, and facilitating community engagement.

 

In 2015 Christina began her work with the Global Catholic Climate Movement, an international network of individuals and organizations responding to Pope Francis' call for ecological and social justice. As part of her role, she develops materials and programs connecting Catholic social teaching and spirituality with climate activism. She splits her time with her activism and her retreat and meditation teaching, which she sees as two sides of the same coin of transformation: the contemplative and the active.

Offering Pope Francis prayer ribbons collected at World Youth Day and a Global Catholic Climate Movement gathering, February 1, 2017.

Christina recently served as a colleague at Bethany House of Prayer in Arlington, Massachusetts where she supported their ministry of prayer and hospitality through spiritual direction, retreat work, and contemplative prayer facilitation.

 

Christina is trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction through the University of San Diego Center of Mindfulness and is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders program through Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California. Her training in spiritual direction comes through Still Harbor Center for Discernment and Action. She was chosen as a New Contemplative by Spiritual Directors International in 2014 and also has training in Multicultural Wellness Education through Capacitar International. 

She currently resides in the New York City area with her scholarly partner Steffano and rascally daughter Malaya Clare.

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