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Introducing Myself, Briefly.... 

My name is Marnie D. Racaza. I am a Filipino and I come from Cebu, a province in the Philippines. I am a teacher by profession. I have been teaching for 12 years. I taught high school Mathematics for 5 years and Religion for 4 years. I am in my 3rd year of teaching Theology to college students at the Ateneo de Manila University. I am currently doing my coursework in Doctor of Philosophy in Theology with Systematic Theology as the area of concentration in the Loyola School of Theology. My areas of interest are Migration Theology, Missiology, and Indigenous Spirituality.


Marnie Racaza

Why Do I Want to Do This Course or Undertake This Learning Journey?

My first reason for taking this program is its theme on Compassion. Compassion is one of the lessons I discuss with my college students. I teach a Theology course that centers around examining the brokenness of the world, especially experienced by various marginalized sectors in the Philippines, and then responding to the woundedness through discerned, compassionate actions. Checking at the 2nd stage of the journey, compassion is explored in a multidimensional way. I believe this program will expand my horizons, understanding, and concrete living out of the value of compassion. I hope to share and manifest what I will learn and experience here to everyone with whom I will have the opportunity of meeting, interacting, or working.

Last June 2021, right after my 33rd birthday, I decided to do an 8-day silent retreat. One of the insights I’ve gained is that migration, which I would define as openness to be always on the move, is my life’s pattern and paradigm. I found out that any movement, whether external and physical or something internal, is necessary for my growth and transformation as a person and creation of this world. For 16 years, I have been constantly moving, quite literally, from one place to another. These movements have afforded me the opportunity to meet, learn, and develop good relationships with various people: religious missionaries working with vulnerable communities in the country, indigenous peoples who exhibit reverence and companionship with creation, children dwelling in the streets who despite their dire circumstances continue to strive for their dreams, fellow educators and learners who make it their mission to seek for the truth and promote justice, and people whose stories of struggle are wonderful sources of strength and inspiration. This program will give me the opportunity to meet, interact, work with, and build fellowships with people who deeply care for the world. I am greatly looking forward to the wealth of wisdom and experience which I will get to listen to and learn from in the “human library”.

I firmly believe what Socrates said that an unexamined life is a life not worth living. In the same retreat, I also did a lot of introspections. It helped me to understand so many areas of my life. I know in my heart there is so much I have yet to dig into and bring to the light about myself. The first stage of the program, which includes self-exploration and recognition of the other, will be another opportunity for me to unearth and celebrate my truest self and others.

Lastly, I have been undergoing what Daniel Groody referred to as cognitive migration to the point that I feel like I am experiencing an existential crisis, in a good way. I am currently doing my course works at the Loyola School of Theology and I have been undergoing a lot of mental and affective deconstructing and reconstructing. I find these experiences so liberating and life-giving. I believe this program will facilitate more cognitive and affective migration in me.


A Note on My Encounter with the Online 'Tool', UNFOLD NEST

UNFOLD NEST spoke to my heart and soul. For these past years, I have been struggling but now fully accepting and embracing how I see myself: nomad, wanderer, pilgrim, migrant, a woman who is always on the move. Starting with the Wanderer’s Map is such an affirmation because it reflects my life’s journey and pursuits. I was so relieved when it prompted me that it is okay to feel or get lost along the way. But I was so enlivened when it reminded me that my map unfolds many possibilities. This deeply inspires me to keep going, to keep on moving.

The UNFOLD NEST journey is an invitation for CONNECTION. First is an invitation to connect with my own self. It brought me to come face to face with my truest self, to recognize my giftedness and worth, to feel my pains and vulnerabilities, to celebrate my uniqueness, to trust the process of my becoming. The second invitation is to connect with my fellow human beings and with the entire world. Despite being in the confines of my room, I felt their many struggles for emancipation. I also saw their strength to transcend beyond their pain and suffering. I was able to get to know more profoundly so many inspiring people and movements across the world. While I continue to witness brokenness in the world, hope is not really lost because there are so many people and communities participating and contributing to the realization of shalom or wholeness, of the fullness of life. I, too, hope to take part in this mission.

Note: UNFOLD NEST is an online 'tool" for self exploration created by a group of young people from Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Image by Anisur Rahman
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