|María Luisa Piraquive|
February 10, 1949 |
Chipatá, Santander, Colombia
|Residence||Weston, Florida, United States|
|Other names||Sister Maria Luisa|
Bachelor of Education with specialization in Linguistics
Diploma in Community Management and Social Management (1998)
Educational Management Graduate (1999)
|Alma mater||University of La Sabana|
|Occupation||Neo-pentecostal leader and benefactor|
|Organization||María Luisa de Moreno
|Home town||Sáchica, Boyacá Department, and Bogotá, Colombia|
|Title||Leader/Ministry of the Church of God Ministry of Jesus Christ International|
|Predecessor||Luis Eduardo Moreno|
|Spouse(s)||Luis Eduardo Moreno (m. 1966–1996)
Humberto Romero Medina (m. 2006)
|Children||César Eduardo, Alexandra, Perla, Iván Darío and Carlos Eduardo|
|Parent(s)||María Corredor and Obdulio Piraquive|
María Luisa Piraquive (born February 10, 1949) is a Colombian singer, educator, philanthropist, writer and neo-Pentecostal leader. She is co-founder and current leader of the Church of God Ministry of Jesus Christ International (CGMJCI), which has more than 930 locations in over 50 countries worldwide.
Piraquive is commonly known by the members of the church as "Sister María Luisa". She produces several Bible study guides that are shown weekly in all locations of the Church of God Ministry of Jesus Christ International. The Bible studies are currently dubbed in English, French, German and Portuguese. Piraquive has released hymnals, choruses and more than a dozen music CDs, which have been translated into several languages. She is also founder and director of the Ministries and Gifts Bible Institute, where the preachers of the Church of God Ministry of Jesus Christ International are educated, and co-founder and president of the Maria Luisa de Moreno International foundation, a social aid NGO that operates in over 12 countries.
María Luisa Piraquive had received several awards in Colombia and Latin-America.
Maria Luisa Piraquive was postulated in 2009 to receive the award The Exemplary Colombian (El Colombiano Ejemplar), in the personal solidarity category by the journal El Colombiano of Medellin. The Neiva´s Municipal Council granted her with the Recognition Award to Finest Personalities (Moción de Reconocimientos a los Ilustres Personajes).
The Colombian Air Force gave Piraquive the award “Alas de Esperanza 2012” (Wings of Hope Award 2012), for the health brigades delivered through the ONG that has his name. On February 2012 the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia decorated her with the Order of Democracy Simón Bolivar (Orden de la Democracia Simón Bolívar); the same day the Caqueta Government gave her the Gold Coreguaje to a Model Citizen (Coreguaje de Oro a una Ciudadana Ejemplar).
Maria Luisa received the Frida award in Argentina, given by Vía Nostrim in 2011. On August 2012 in San Juan (Puerto Rico), during the XIII Iberoamerican Summit of Millennium Leaders for an Education with Love and Value, she received a Master in Educational Administration and an Honorary Doctorate Summa Cum Laude by the Iberoamerican Council in Honor to the Excellence and Education Quality (CIHCE). On August 2013 she received in Mexico, by the YMCA University, a Doctorate Honoris Causa, in recognition of her 40 years teaching with values. A year later the CIHCE and the Puebla Government gave her an Honorific Doctorate in Philosophy of Education and a Master in Educational Sciences in recognition of her work for disabled people with the project “Find the Capacity, One Opportunity”.
Piraquive has been involved in controversies during her career, attributed by the Church to an intense smear campaign. In 2006, her son Iván Moreno Piraquive alleged that he was rejected from the Ministerial Church because of his sexual orientation. Nevertheless, a few years after that he returned to the family. In an interview given by Iván Moreno in 2014, he said that the accusations that he made in 2006 were incited by his cousin Oscar Bedoya, a self-proclaim enemy of the Church.
In January 2014 she appeared in a video claiming that people with physical disabilities cannot preach because their impairments may cause a negative impact on members of the congregation. Her comments caused outrage in social and news media. The Church explained that the video was edited and published illegally and does not show the part in which María Luisa says to a disabled preacher that, while what she thought was the general rule, it is God who decides if someone can be in the pulpit, and for that reason he was able to go on as a preacher.
The vice-Minister of the Ministry of the Interior and Justice of Colombia stated that Piraquive's views do not violate any current Colombian law. Later that month, a municipal judge in Bogota dismissed a discrimination lawsuit against Piraquive filed by Joseph Alexander Hofmann, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
Piraquive has been accused of money laundering and other related offenses, which have extended to the broader church. Piraquive has also been publicly denounced for her and her family’s lavish lifestyle, which includes properties in Florida reportedly worth in excess of US$ 5,000,000. Explanations for this wealth are not given, Piraquive has reportedly stated that ‘since money [donated to the Church] is for God, there are no refunds nor questions asked’ (“como el dinero es para Dios, no tiene ni devolución ni cuestionamientos”).
Luis Eduardo Moreno
Ministry of the Church of God Ministry of Jesus Christ International
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