Finding Home

Meet Luisa Bonillas, author of “Finding Home.”

Luisa Bonillas lives in Arizona with her family (pictured here). She received her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and her PhD from Arizona State University. Her focus was twentieth century American History and her dissertation topic was a History of Women of Color at Wellesley College, 1966-2001. Luisa joined The Episcopal Church in 1996 and has worked for a mission, parish, cathedral, diocese, and the wider church.

Q & A with Luisa Bonillas

Q: What are your two favorite hymns:

A: “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation”—the organ sounds amazing! It is what traditional Episcopal worship music sounds like to me. Listening to it for the first time at St Paul’s Cathedral back in 2007 in San Diego brought tears to my eyes. 

“Montaña” by Dr. Sandra Montes- In my eyes this song brings Latino Ministry to the Episcopal Church. Listened to it for the first time at my first General Convention (2006) and I felt such deep pride to be a Latina in the church.

Q: What is your favorite worship service or part of the Book of Common Prayer?

A: My favorite worship service is the Great Vigil. It is the first service of Easter. It begins in darkness before a fire is ignited in the sanctuary. It is held the Saturday before Easter and allows us to welcome the Easter Season after a period of darkness. The service allows us to renew our Baptismal vows. 

Q: The Episcopal Church is in the process of developing a new translation of the Book of Common Prayer 1979 into Spanish. Is there anything you think the translators should keep in mind as they work on this?

A: I think we need to keep in mind that Spanish is varied depending on where your family is from. Ask for lots of opinions. It will not be perfect for anyone and that is okay. 

Q: In your essay, you reflect on the power of hearing familiar words from your childhood and sharing them with your own children. Are there particular hymns or prayers in addition to the Lord’s Prayer that hold a similar significance for you?

A: I have struggled with the reality that we do not currently attend a Spanish service. We made this difficult decision when our daughter was in high school and the amount of homework that she had on the weekends was so much that we really could not justify attending two church services at two different locations (one in English and one in Spanish) every Sunday. I love all of the songs that are sung during a Spanish service. “Alabaré” is very commonly sung in Spanish services and the song holds a special place in my heart. It is something I grew up singing in church services and it helps to bring me back to my childhood. 

Q: Are there any links you would like us to share, such as your Facebook page?

A: My Facebook page is really a tribute to my two amazing children. It is where I highlight all of their many amazing milestones. They are 18 and 22 and they have both been very involved in the Episcopal Church. I have about 2,000 Facebook friends, about half Episcopal Church-related and about half Wellesley College-related.