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Taking action: Talitha cumi

Taking her by the hand Jesus said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” - Mark 5:41

Rev. Margaret Suiter, a Lutheran pastor and refugee advocate, dedicated her life to the service of Latin communities in the United States and El Salvador. When she passed away from cancer at the age of 44, her mother Louise created The Margaret Neusom Suiter Memorial Fund at in her daughter’s memory.

Louise tasked us with a mission: to support women in Lutheran ministry who are involved with Spanish-speaking populations or engaged with outreach within the Spanish-speaking community. To do so, we partnered with the Latino Ministries of the ELCA and Talitha Cumi, a network of Lutheran and Episcopal Latina Women dedicated to empowering Latina women in both their vocations and daily lives.

Woman, I say to you, arise
Rev. Suiter’s legacy is alive and thriving in the Latina leaders touched by Talitha Cumi. With support from The Margaret Neusom Suiter Memorial Fund, the organization continues to host leadership retreats for Latina Lutherans across the United States in order to identify and address challenges facing Latino women. The workshops also provide attendees with the opportunity to network with other ELCA Latino leaders and deepen their leadership in the wider church.

Aura Suárez, ELCA Deacon, described the Talitha Cumi retreat she attended in Florida as “a total success with a beautiful spirit of joy and camaraderie. The women played, sang, prayed, worshiped, made crafts and had fun together. We all left inspired, empowered and motivated to continue our work in our different mission fields.”

At the end of each retreat, participants are asked to name one thing they will do to strengthen themselves as leaders in their community. 2018 participants went on to pursue a variety of personal goals, including applying for citizenship, running for their church board, attending the ELCA Latino association annual meeting and getting involved in their churches’ Women of the ELCA groups.