Marisa Manriquez

I am a Chilean American woman, born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and in Santiago, Chile. My upbringing was deeply rooted in a sense of responsibility as part of my community and the land. Having lived in South America as a child, all of my life I have held a deep appreciation for the insight gained when one is immersed in a different sociocultural milieu. After college, I put my passion for social justice to work, serving as an immigrant family and youth advocate, as well as a grass-roots educator in rural Illinois.

In 2009, I entered a new chapter of my life by moving to the Bay Area to pursue a two-year master's degree in Philosophy and Religion, with a concentration in Women's Spirituality at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). I was drawn to CIIS because of its integral approach to education. I understood this to mean the education of the whole person, not just the intellect, but the body and the mind that house the spirit. Integral education is to remember through our awakening, the purpose for which we came into this life, and to move each day towards the fulfillment of this purpose in the service of humanity and the earth.

The Women's Spirituality program at the Institute, its teachers and guides, created the space where I could continue the journey of harmonizing all of the pieces of my self. As a South American woman, I focused on healing from the effects of historical colonization and the oppression of women. This allowed me to get in touch with the many spiritual lineages I hold, not only from my Judeo-Christian and Moorish ancestors, but also awakening to a deep remembrance of my indigenous roots. Through these experiences I have begun to remember who I am as a whole person, so that I may fully embrace the responsibility of authentically honoring these diverse lineages, as I continue on my path as a healer and an artist.

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