Underserved Suffering: A Psychospiritual Autobiography of Post-Colonial Faith from the Puerto Rican Diaspora

Author: Gerardo De Jesus, PhD


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From the Introduction

“This story seeks to nuance moments in my history as the son of diasporic parents. As members of the many who migrated, my parents became an “us” to a “them” in a world where being different felt threatening. They experienced their own undeserved suffering, while holding on to the dream of American Exceptionalism. Puerto Rican-Americans arrived with prayers on their lips, bibles and rosaries in hand, and though it felt like an expulsion from paradise, our colonial faith sustained us. The God we knew over there was also here, in our new hiding place called Spanish Harlem, fondly called, el Barrio. The faith inherited from 5 centuries of colonialism has grown into our collective identity, and though its sacred stories speak to our realities, its legacy has also contributed to colonial aims.”

“I draw from the life of one of colonial Christianity’s greatest saints, St. Francis of Assisi, who emulates the life of Jesus in the 13th century. Francis faced the falseness of religious clericalism, the plight of the poor in a shame / honor culture, and a dualistic consciousness that still prevails and which refuses to embrace otherness. How might his life speak to Puerto Ricans in diaspora? How might we re-imagine the colonial faith inherited?”

Gerardo de Jesús, PhD is a contemplative-activist pastoral counselor in private practice. Drawing from his training in Jungian analysis and contemplative spirituality, he weaves spiritual direction and clinical observation in the care of souls. He has taught on the faculties of San Francisco Theological Seminary, Eastern University, and Temple University, and served as pastor to urban congregations on both coasts. Born and raised in Spanish Harlem, his faith and activism emerged from within the struggle for Puerto Rican civil rights. He is married, and lives in Orlando, Florida.

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Features & Details

Black & White

Pages: 386 | Trim Size: 6x9

Genre: Biography

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