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Forgetting Myself... Elmina Paz or the Opeing to the Other

Universitat de Barcelona
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  • Political Science


The cholera epidemic of 1886, in Tucumán (Argentina) brought about gestures, words and actions, that constituted the mystical- political itinerary of Elmina Paz-Gallo and her companions, who gave themselves over to the care of the most vulnerable in society, making of their home a home for all. The political action of these women of the nineteenth century was above all a politics centred upon relationship, which generated something new in society and a free sense of their existences. The giving room to the Other, to others, to children, led them to forget themselves and open themselves to a transcendent dimension in their lives. The path of interiority and search for God in Elmina did not lead her to a self-indulgent introspection. Her inner world is outside her, in the contact between her body and things. She takes on a mystical language that is a social language, committed to its historical moment. They understood that the key to this itineray is the void, making oneself nothing, the death of the self, so that the totally other might take place. A new politics comes into being in Tucumán, the politics of women, who dare to exercise authority, in the sense of making a beginning, making grow. They learn to let themselves by given by God the impulse to act, to open themselves to a different way of being in the world, not out of a forced conquest but rather out of the receptivity of simply being there.

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