From as far back as my mind can go, to the age of four, I have felt a call by God. This call was magnificent with a voice inviting me to delight in the world as a beloved child of God! I understood that all things were possible in this wondrous world that God created. Life knew no bounds and all resources were at my fingertips in the pursuit of heeding the invitation. My life since that time has been a series of pursuits in search of ascertaining what this call means.

Studying Biology in college gave me time to ponder the wonder and complexity of the natural world. I went on to study Theology to address the inner stirrings and many questions I held within me. I soaked up these studies, finding wisdom in balancing the seeming contradictions between science and theology. For me these subjects complemented one another and my excitement grew in ever greater appreciation for God’s creation. I knew I was ready to contribute whatever talents, vision and skills I possessed towards the calling I continued to feel stir within me.

Not long after this, disillusionment set in. Soon after reception of my Master’s Degree, the theology program I had just studied was installed as the official study course for those wishing to become Deacons in my diocese. It became clear that the men in my group could study one more year to become Deacons while the women had this door closed to them, regardless of their sense of call or education.

Despite the injustice of this event, I continued to feel strongly called by God to serve and be involved in the life of the Church. While teaching at a Catholic School, I pursued certification in Spiritual Direction. Upon completion of this two year program, I was informed that my local church was not ready for a lay female Spiritual Director. My frustration grew as I realized that no matter how many Theological or Spiritual programs I studied, I would always be at a deficit in the Catholic Church simply because of my chromosomal make-up. My call seemed to mean nothing to anyone besides me and God.

When a friend introduced me to WIT, I began to understand that I needed a new model for faith expression. Like Joanna, Mary Magdalene and Susanna in Luke 8:3, who contributed to the community’s support from their own resources, I too felt invited to draw upon my internal resources and means to fully absorb and live out God’s invitation.

Being part of WIT gives me the opportunity to flesh out my sense of call by exploring, imagining and questioning the depth and breadth of God’s activity in the world and my world. I realize that if I am to remain faithful to my continued sense of call, I must see Church in a much broader sense. The world, in particular those seeking greater understanding, is also my Church. I deeply desire to give full expression to faith reflections from my own (feminine) perspective, using my own (female) voice.

WIT allows me to fully engage my writing skills for the express purpose of participating in the theological conversation. I feel I, and all women, from all faith expressions, have unique experiences, perspectives and contributions that have gone unvoiced for too long. If indeed theology is faith seeking understanding, then how do all people, men and women understand faith? It is a critical question that cannot be ignored.

I believe ongoing human interpretation is God’s original intent. To this end, all of God’s people, both men and women, have a responsibility to ponder faith questions and seek understanding in their time with their own means. Similar to the Hebrew tradition of Midrash, I believe WIT provides an opportunity for women to add their rightful and needed voice to the pursuit of theological understanding. The word was handed down to Moses but it was also handed down to each of us: what will we do with it? What will I do with it?

Maria McGuire

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