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Arelis Benítez

A first-generation daughter of Mexican migrant parents, Arelis is well acquainted with survival narratives, loss, and marginalization and turns to theological studies for pastoral care responses to human suffering. Clinically trained as a healthcare chaplain, she integrates over a decade of experiences in pastoral ministry with vocational commitments to social justice that extend beyond the academy and into the public and private spheres. As a Latina pastoral theologian, she anchors her methodological approaches in the works of Gloria Anzaldúa towards the inclusion of Latinx communities and development of Latinx pastoral care responses within and outside the discipline of practical theology. Grounded in her own identities and autohistoria-teoría, Arelis explores parallels of suffering and healing in sexual identity (re)construction and migration narratives within the Latinx LGBTQ+ community. Her work critically analyzes and tends to the spiritual and psychological impact of both experiences. Currently, Arelis serves as a Field Educator at Vanderbilt Divinity School, Consultant to Daring Compassion Movement Chaplaincy project with Faith Matters Network, and as a member of the CPE Professional Advisory Group at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.