The Pedestal

pedestal

Once I left the convent, I wanted to consider myself normal. I lived in the regular world, had a boyfriend-soon-to-become-husband, a job, and lived a regular house. Everything seemed unremarkable and normal to me. But I was soon to discover I was anything but. My family didn’t want me to be regular. They bristled at the fact that I moved from the convent to a live-in situation with my boyfriend. They were shocked that I’d given up my faith, since my parents and most of my siblings were faithful Catholics. How could I NOT be, when I’d been a nun for so long?

They had put me on a pedestal and then eventually forgotten I was real.

In the meantime, I’d spent too many years breathing the rarified air from the top of a pedestal and found it lonely and uncomfortable. I’d learned to  obey without question and respond immediately to the call of the bell. I became a dutiful nun. A good girl. A saint–a woman worthy of praise.

Having finally rediscovered my humanity, I began listening to my own voice and gradually fell down from the pedestal.

Though I have had to learn to live in its shadow.

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A Good Story

grass valley church

While tooting my own horn, I decided to share a review by my much-respected and dearly beloved writer friend. She posted the following on Amazon about my book, Once Upon a Time: The Memoirs of a Lesbian Nun. . . 

“The soul of this book is what most of us look for in a story—direct talk, honesty, good descriptions, explanations, and an appealing connection to the reader. Every ex-nun story describes overlapping events, but this author’s deeper level of sharing everything adds to the reader’s understanding and experiential reactions–sometimes surprisingly, sometimes with just enough extra depth to make one say, “Oh, that’s why she was concerned–that angle of background wouldn’t have occurred to me.
If you’re looking for a titillating book about young women, you may be confusing it with last night’s television programs. This story begins with why the author went to the convent. 20th century vocations were complicated. Priest, nuns, and others in authority sometimes urged parents to give up their child (it used to be “one from each family for the Church”). Teenage girls who looked for ways to save the world and get to “be somebody” at the same time, had no clue what lay ahead of them in the ubiquitous silence, hours of prayer and physical work, constant permissions and planned humiliations, and lack of autonomous power. They were shocked at how few days a year they would be allowed to speak to their nun teachers/friends. Add the discovery of one’s Lesbianism, and the Candidate was out in the middle of the sea without a guidelines boat. At least until Vatican II.
You may be surprised at turns in this true account, or not. Regardless, you will be touched by the author’s narrative. Once Upon A Convent is a great story and well worth reading.”

My New Home

I believe I may have found my new home.

A friend invited me to attend a Catholic based liturgy Sunday evening with a group of individuals rejected by the official Church. They named themselves Koininia Journey Community.  Upon entering the sanctuary of the ancient-looking Episcopal Church, I encountered the group of Church rejects gathered in front of a three-story high pipe organ. They were practicing songs for the celebration. Others sat scattered in benches surrounding the central altar. When they noticed us, some rushed forward to greet and embrace us. I immediately felt I belonged among among this odd assortment of former Catholics, a few homeless individuals, and other vagabonds.

The abbreviated ritual was based on the essential elements of the Catholic liturgy. Just long enough and not boring. When I closed my eyes, it was easy to image Jesus feeling quite at home among this gathering that of his earliest followers.

Before the formation of a formal priesthood.

Before Takeover of Rules.

The Journey Community shares the duties and responsibilities of priesthood equally among those who wish to serve.  As well as the offer of its collective and unconditionally loving Heart to all.