I am 100 years old this year. 100 years… Can you believe I’ve remained intact through this brutal history? Can you believe they still come to live inside of me? I know what I look like on the outside. I look like I used to. I look like I always have. And that’s what so many of them remember me for.
But that’s not who I am…
A building called Calle del Sol in Bogotá’s Candelaria neighborhood was constructed in 1914 and destined to be a convent. But after being abandoned by the nuns that built it, and later seized by a Colombian Dictator’s regime, the building changed from a place of good to a place of evil. Nowadays, its residents say there are ghosts. Continue reading on Beacon…
Colombian journalist and novelist Gabriel García Márquez was 87 years old when he died on April 17th, on the Thursday of Holy Week in 2014. Gabriel García Márquez wrote in One Hundred Years of Solitude, “What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”
Her name is Maria Luisa Piraquive, a Colombian Neo-Pentecostal leader.
Who Maria Luisa Piraquive really is, is a question with more than one answer though. She is Maria, the brave heir to a church started by her and her husband after he succumbed to a heart attack in 1996. She is also Sister Maria Luisa, the charismatic leader of more than 750 congregations where believers of the evangelical Christian faith she preaches have cropped up across Colombia, Spain, and the US. But she is also Big Mama Piraquive, the head of a family that has ascended from modest beginnings to a wealthy, upper class status, with houses sprinkled around Colombia and Miami. And she is a singer, too.
In response to the release of the footage, which Piraquive’s followers say is private and was never allowed to slip into the hands of Colombian journalists and news agencies, members of Piraquive’s church are protesting what they say is unfair play by the country’s media machines.
They protesters are a minority voice, but theirs is a voice that’s growing louder and louder in Colombia. Neo-Pentecostal Christianity, like other forms of evangelical Protestantism, take scripture seriously, almost literally at times, and preach a direct relationship between worshiper and Holy Spirit through baptism.
As her members defend her, citing constitutional rights to freedom of religious expression in Colombia, Piraquive’s harsh critics in the media keep up the attack, equating her metaphorically (in one instance) to a disease. At this rate, it doesn’t seem like the noisy theater swelling around Ms. Maria Luisa Piraquive is due to die down any time soon.