My bio is a mosaic of moments in all of which I am indebted to others who have given me space for making mistakes. It has been in the moments where my privileged allowed me the opportunity to see how privileged I am, that I was shaped. These moments of exposure, often times through service organizations or semesters abroad, are what help open me up to see the world differently and encounter God in a different way. I grew up in a family with a very strong patriarch who always pushed his daughters towards independence, except when it did not suit him. In many ways this has been my experience of the Church as well, I am good to follow my call as long as it doesn’t ruffle too many feathers. After years of acquiescing and silencing parts of myself, I find this infuriating. I didn’t know how deeply it had hurt me and stunted my capacity to receive God’s gifts until I realized that I did not have to acquiesce and that I was actually being called to share the unique insights that God had given to me.
My journeys have spiraled towards a deeper understanding of human dignity through different lenses, from doing advocacy in college around anti-human trafficking, to learning about the impact of the U.S.’s involvement in Central American politics, to creating spaces for interfaith dialogue and seeking beauty in that diversity, to having my eyes opened about racism in our structures, our Church, and our daily lives, and how I perpetuate it, to the impact of environmental degradation, to patriarchy and capitalism’s break down of communities, families, and support systems.
I find that the issue that I am focused on seems to changes every few years but the core of it remains the same. I am drawn to spaces of healing within our relationships.
The question that has perpetually been accompanying me during this last year and especially during the pandemic is “What if?”
“What if women’s experience was cherished and uplifted in the Church?” What if we could preach at mass and be deacons?”
“What if the natural rhythm of society was slower and more attentive to the earth’s rhythms?”
“What if society focused on supporting people, communities and relationship rather than excessive production and consumption?”
I am going into my 3rd year in a divinity program and contemplating the next steps. I just spent the last day on a farm my sister-in-law inherited. We began talking about what it would look like to restore the land to prairie, wetland, and forest and have community live on it. What would it look like to increase food access to those who don’t have it? How can we invite people into healing relationship with the land, their food, and the world?
Along with those questions are that of the role of art and gardening for dealing with grief, loss, and trauma.
Since both of us hold some views that significantly challenge the Church, the question of what our relationship to the Church in our ministry and call is always an ongoing discernment. How do we do all of that while being a space for bridgebuilding and deep faith?
This is all with the backdrop of feeling that although I am in training for ministry and deeply love the Church, I find that many of the ministry jobs I encounter, do not seem to respond to the call I have. They feel flat or they are interesting but it isn’t where I feel God moving. I often feel foreign in the Church and I know that I have plenty of privilege in the Church, given my race and education access. I know there are many people who do not feel that they have a home in the Church or that the Church does not accept all of who they are.
I want to explore making a home for those who feel they have no place in the Church.
Here is a beautiful painting by Mary Southard: Listening to the Earth’s Heartbeat. It seems to capture how I understand this work, as listening to Our Mother’s heart that pulses through all creation, sharing intimate wisdom through our lives.