By María M. Mur
They dazzle on social networks and are convinced that it is easier to spread the message of God to rock rhythm: they are Siervas, the group of rock nuns that will make dance thousands of pilgrims during the World Youth Day (WYD), to be held this month in Panama.
"We belong to a congregation in which music has always been very present, but in 2014 we met in this mission several sisters with musical inclinations and we decided to form the group", told to Acan-Efe sister Dayana Cobos, originally from Ecuador and one of the vocalists of the band.
Since then, these nine sisters of the congregation The Servants of God’s Plan, based in Peru, have already recorded some thirty songs, have given concerts all over the continent and have earned the nickname of the "Sister Act Latinas", in reference to the movie that Whoopi Goldberg starred in the 1990s.
Their first viodeclip, "Confía en Dios", accumulated more than 1.7 million views on YouTube and the last one, "Hoy despierto", already exceeds 2 million views.
"We play rock, Latin pop and sometimes ballads. We try to fuse classic and modern instruments. I play the violin, for example, but there is also a sister who plays the drums and another the electric guitar", explains sister Arisa Cárdenas, from Japan.
Their next stop is Panama, where they will offer several concerts and entertain the thousands of young people who will come to the country to meet with Pope Francis between January 22 and 27.
WYD is one of the most important events of the Catholic Church, which is organized every three years and which is celebrated for the first time in Central America, a region that has only received the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1983 and 1996.
"We are very nervous, in addition to the concerts in the different stages, we will also play in a women's prison", says sister Ivonne Fuentes, from Chile, guitarist and author of most of the group's songs.
The songs, the nun points out, speak of the experiences that they have lived in the different social works of the congregation, launch "messages of illusion" and "tell stories of little heroes".
"We do not only address people who believe in God, but today in the world there is a great need for love, hope, joy", adds sister Ivonne.
The religious, who define themselves as "nuns of the 21st century", defend the evangelizing power of music and hope to recover young people who are abandoning the Catholic faith with "modern" rhythms and a very active presence in social networks.
Their songs are available on Spotify, iTunes and YouTube and they update their profiles on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter almost daily, where they accumulate close to 200,000 followers.
"As Pope Francis says, we want to reach all the peripheries, that is, those places away from God, which sometimes cannot be reached only with the word", says Dayana.
"Societies have advanced and we need to respond to those changes", ads Sister Arisa.
They do not charge for their concerts, they only receive from time to time donations that they invest in the social works of the congregation, and they go on stage with the entire religious habit: "We would not be the same without the habit", in the middle of laughs recognizes the guitarist.
The bulk of the group comes from Latin America, a continent that is living the advance of other churches, such as the evangelical, hence the "Siervas" celebrate the interest that is showing Pope Francis in the region.
"God knows who He puts at the head (of the Church) and at what moment, it is very beautiful that He wanted the pope to be Latin American now", the singer concludes.