Posts Tagged ‘women who are awesome’

I, like many at WIT, have had a fantastically terrible year. Lots of stress and sadness and shame to go around for various reasons. I think most of this has to do with the pain of human living. Not to say that it’s “redemptive,” just that it’s inevitable for most, if not all, of us.

There’s no point in getting into the details, but, for myself, it’s the kind of year I will look back on and probably just curse a lot about and then be thankful that other years are not this way (fingers crossed). It’s the kind of year where you are going about your business and then all of a sudden you find yourself declaring, “Hey, this year sucks. Like, a lot. Things feel weird and out of control, and also maybe I need to change some of my ways of being in the world, because said ways of being in the world seem to be making me very, very unhappy.”

Might you be having that kind of year? (more…)

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Easter is upon us, and I’ve been thinking about this passage from Romans:

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies (8:22-23).

With Easter, Christians celebrate Christ’s triumph over death. The Son has been murdered, and the Father has responded by giving him new life. And specifically within that, his broken body has been resurrected and glorified (with scars still remaining), which signals a promise to us about the irrevocable goodness and ultimate glorification of our own bodies (also scarred, perhaps), and of creation as a whole. The groaning of our bodies reaches out toward an eschatological promise.

And the Easter implication of all this is that Christians are called to come together, as Christ’s corporate body, witnessing to him and living as a sacrament of divine love for each other and for the world. It is an embodiment that is social, tactile, joyful. Speaking about how we understand all this today, I know many Christians who, in preparation for this occasion, have been partaking of Lenten acts of purification and ascetic seriousness in order to refocus their attention, their bodies, on God and the celebration of the Triduum.

Given that Easter is saturated with various overlapping meanings, I always have difficulty speaking well about it (and this problem has only been compounded by the PhD in theology!). So I’m going to explore its significance and what it calls us to indirectly, by describing something else, and then perhaps we’ll get there.


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“So the people who were sitting in the audience, we were transported to a different time…the time before, when we lived in a normal civil life, civilized well, and hoping and being convinced that the war will soon finish and we will go back home and it will go on. But of course, what we knew later, the Germans knew full well, that we are sentenced to death, and thought…let them play…let them laugh. The laughter will soon vanish from their face…and we were dancing under the gallows.” – Zdenka Fantlova

Though I tend to be a pretty emotional human (I’m a high F on the Myers Briggs!),  my intellectual disposition and many years of education tend to make it rare for a piece of art or literature to truly capture me, to break through my defenses –I’ve been trained to be too critical, perhaps even too elitist… I can appreciate a great deal of art and literature and music, but the things that split me open, that stir my soul, are far and few between: Picasso’s paintings, Andrea Gibson’s poetry, J.A. Nicholls’ collage art, Sigur Ros’ and Florence + the Machine’s music…

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Mary Catherine Hilkert, beloved mentor to many who have worked with this blog and original inspiration for our name “WIT,” was interviewed on All Things Considered last week.  Take a listen!




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Mary Daly famously said that men would have to find their own way through and then out of patriarchy; she herself could not be bothered to tell them what to do. Her focus was on helping women connect with the root of their own fundamental Being in order to conjure up the existential courage to become who they were supposed to be, above and beyonds the delimiting confines of patriarchal conceptions of womanhood. In all likelihood, she had to say this because she was probably asked on a regular basis what her feminist critique would mean for men.


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Icon of Catherine of Siena by Robert Lentz, OFM

(I think she looks a little too wry for someone being crushed by an unimaginable weight, but, hey—who can resist a snarky-looking saint?)


This is a long post—about twice the length of the papers my students recently wrote, in fact. But it’s about what sustains me through the difficulties of being a critical Catholic woman, and I hope it’s helpful to some of you.

Last week, April 29, was the feast of Catherine of Siena, one of the four women included in the list of theologian-saints whom the Catholic Church recognizes as Doctors of the Church. (If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these brief and inspiring words from M. Catherine Hilkert, Professor of Theology at the University Notre Dame). I’ve been thinking recently of her last reported mystical vision. Here’s how Paul VI relayed it in a general audience on April 30, 1969:  (more…)

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…And not like a girl who is unsure of herself and her ideas, as Julia so clearly put it recently.

As I am wont to do, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the academy, the growth from graduate student to scholar proper, and the act of gradually coming to claim one’s authority, especially if one is a woman.


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