I dream of Spiritual Doulas.

I have many dreams. Like you, I share your vision of a church that allows every one and every body to flourish. I dream of a church so big that the margins aren’t margins at all but pathways to another dimension. I have so many dreams it feels overwhelming. I have so many dreams that I want to lay in a field and let my body become the home for a patch of wildflowers. 

But in this moment, I feel like I am being called to sit at the feet of my mentors whose faces I do not yet see but whose motherly touch I can almost feel. I want to lay my head in the Spirit’s lap and let her brush my hair as she shares her stories. 

I consider myself fairly well connected both in the mainstream Catholic sphere and the progressive Catholic spaces. Over these past couple of weeks, I have been frustrated by my lack of ability to identify BIPOC women identifying spiritual directors. I think of my experiences of spiritual direction with mostly elderly white men and a handful of white women. They have left me lacking. Yet my conversations with BIPOC women activists have been so spiritual and life-affirming. 

In this moment, I dream of finding Spiritual Doulas who call the Spirit out of me, help me birth a new way of being from the energy that is already inside of me. I dream of gathering these women together to share stories and struggles, to learn from them, and, if I am so called, to accompany them women who come after me. I dream of creating a community that is constantly calling the Spirit into being. 

Ultimately, I dream of a world and church without spiritual gatekeepers. I dream of a church where we all hold the keys and we nurture and love each other into unlocking.

8 thoughts on “I dream of Spiritual Doulas.

  1. Do you think you might be called to become a spiritual doula? Or maybe even a spiritual director? You do listen well and speak with depth.

    I LOVE your imagery about sitting at the Spirit’s feet. Maybe you are called to embody these images for others.

  2. Teresa, I echo Sarah’s wondering: might you be called to become a spiritual doula/spiritual director?

    The movement you describe from a church of spiritual gatekeepers and directors who are primarily elderly white men towards a “community constantly calling Spirit into being,” where every body can flourish, and the margins are radically expanded and revisioned…powerful and beautiful. So resonant with the larger uprising for justice and liberation we are seeing now.

    A few questions that I offer as you continue to dream: what words and images stay with you and nourish you from the conversations you spoke of with BIPOC activist women? What is the life in you that has been affirmed in those encounters?

    Praying with you image of the keys (“a church where we all hold the keys”) – engaging imagination, what do the keys look like? How do they feel as you hold them?

    May you dream deeply with your head in Spirit’s lap as she tells you stories!

  3. Wow! This is so beautiful! Laying in the Soirit’s lap while she brushes your hair. Also, this hunger for different spiritual directors and mutual calling forth of the spirit in one another is so beautiful and hopeful. I’ve been thinking about people I know who would appreciate this process and space that we are creating and I’ve been trying to think of people to invite who are not white women or men so that we can live more into the fullness of who we are in Christ as we dream together.

  4. I love your imagery. I think your dream is very realistic: …”I dream of finding Spiritual Doulas who call the Spirit out of me, help me birth a new way of being from the energy that is already inside of me. I dream of gathering these women together to share stories and struggles, to learn from them, and, if I am so called, to accompany them women who come after me. I dream of creating a community that is constantly calling the Spirit into being.”
    Can this group (DDS) be charter members of that community?
    ~~~
    BTW – I was not familiar with the term BIPOC; so I looked it up. I wanted to share this definition:
    BIPOC stands for “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.” It seeks to highlight the Black and Indigenous communities and, as the BIPOC Project explains, the “unique relationship to whiteness that Indigenous and Black (African Americans) people have, which shapes the experiences of and relationship to white supremacy for all people of color within a United States context.”
    It is a noun and includes the word “people,” so, when using the term, you would say “BIPOC,” not “BIPOC people,” which is redundant and incorrect. And while it’s certainly becoming better known than ever now, the New York Times was able to find uses of it in social media as far back as 2013. Is this accurate?
    https://www.aol.com/does-bipoc-stand-why-important-220640673.html

  5. Hi Teresa, as so many have already commented this is a beautiful and necessary dream. I wonder if there are any women you know that you could call forth into this role? I have heard many times that it takes at least three people telling someone they should be a priest for them to truly consider it. So I wonder if perhaps there are BIPOC that we need to call forth, encourage, and affirm in their gifts as spiritual directors. How can we create space to illuminate BIPOC with these spiritual gifts?

  6. thinking a lot about the notion of bi-vocational ministry, and what it means to be a public theologian. I hear resonances of those concepts I’ve heard of and am vaguely familiar with as you wrestle with all these fantastic movement folks who are deeply spiritual and pray with their feet and a marked gap in the directories of so-called spiritual directors. I honor, too, this question as people that are involved in ministering to others. You are seeking a very key need of accompaniment and ensuring your cup is full, that you have a space to be and rest. I applaud you on that. looking forward to talking more about this in the coming weeks.

  7. “I want to lay my head in the Spirit’s lap and let her brush my hair as she shares her stories.”

    YES! I am up for a slumber party with the Spirit any day. When BIPOC women are centered in spiritual space, I think we will be close to the right track. Grateful for your voice in this institution and pray you will continue to speak up and create space.

  8. Thanks for opening my eyes to the need for spiritual guides and mentors to serve a wider array of people in the church. This brave new world where we communicate by Zoom opens all kinds of potential for spiritual guidance and training in spiritual direction beyond those defined by geography. Spiritual Directors International may be a place both to find resources for yourself and others and to begin a dialogue about ways their mission might expand. https://www.sdicompanions.org/ More about this when we meet on Wednesday.

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