A familiar Spanish saying defines the experience and worldview of Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word Teresa Maya: Ni de aquí, ni de allá ("from neither here nor there").
Before becoming president-elect of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in 2016, Maya collaborated with the religious conference in Mexico, an experience that taught her there are "two or three versions of the same story — whether it's because there's another language or cultural perspective or geography — and that's important to keep in mind."
Maya, who is Mexican-American, will transition to president of LCWR on Aug. 11, the final night of its annual assembly, held this year in Orlando. She will lead the conference as the rest of the U.S. church starts to tip from a majority-Anglo to a majority-Hispanic congregation.
"It makes a difference not to see the face [in leadership] of a minority, whether they're Hispanic, black, or whatever ethnicity," said Missionary Catechist of Divine Providence Sr. Esther Guerrero, a friend of Maya's who is also of Mexican descent. "It's like, we're here, too."
Maya's position at the top, however, goes beyond simply representing Latina and minority sisters or the demographic changes of the U.S. Catholic Church. The perspective and attitude she'll bring with her, her friends and colleagues say, are unique to a bicultural upbringing and friendly to the concept of change.