The Table

I’ve now been here at WOC for almost three months and I can’t believe how much I have learned and done already!

Hours of translating WOC’s values, mission, and history has proven worthwhile with the latest addition of our WOC en español tab on the website.  If you recall any of your Spanish classes from the past or have any Spanish speaking friends, please go and check it out! There is plenty more to be added soon, but I must say that it is very exciting to physically see one’s work go live.

D.C. supports the LCWR!

It was even more exciting to physically be a part of the Nunjustice Sister Cities event in early August at the rally here in Washington, D.C.  Just shortly after my first blog entry, I joined a large group in front of the St. Matthew’s Cathedral.  Similarly, throughout the country, other vigils were held to show support for and solidarity with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious during their annual meeting in St. Louis.  It was my first event with the movement and it literally gave me chills.  The communal spirit of hope and determination was undeniable.  Whether it was holding a banner or a sign, vying for a honk of recognition and support from a passerby, or joining my voice with the chorus of the group during the prayer service, throughout that vigil I felt something stir and grow within me; hope.  Hope that positive change can and will come to the Catholic Church.

This hope was only reaffirmed two weeks ago when I had the pleasure of meeting Fr. Roy Bourgeois.  Unfortunately I was unable to make it to the screening of Pink Smoke over the Vatican hosted by WOC at George Mason University where Fr. Roy was among the panel of speakers.  I did, however, make it the next night to the School of the Americas (SOA) Watch event in D.C.  As I’d hoped, the topic of women’s ordination was brought up that night as well.  Two things stood out that night.  First was the parallel he drew between the sexist tradition in the Church of excluding women called to the priesthood and the racist tradition of “separate but equal.”  Second was the idea of silence as a sin of omission.  He didn’t exactly say “sin of omission,” but in his book My Journey from Silence to Solidarity, he does say “that silence is the voice of complicity.”  Only by speaking up and fighting for equality did our country finally do away with segregation.  Only by speaking up and (peacefully) fighting for women’s ordination can the Catholic Church finally do away with the sin of sexism.

The path towards the end of segregation was a long and difficult one.  One I am very grateful people embarked upon and fought hard for.  While I am new to the women’s ordination movement, I recognize that it has also been a long and difficult path.  Many of you have been with WOC along the entire ride and many are newer like me.  I had the fortune recently of speaking with some of you.

Two weeks ago, my lovely coworkers were away from the office at a conference for Women’s Ordination Worldwide, a meeting for different pro-women’s ordination groups throughout the world.  While holding down the fort, one of my tasks was to call up lapsed members and ask them if they’d like to keep involved with the movement and renew their membership.  While the majority of the time I was indeed met with a recording, I did have the fortune of chatting with several of our members and each chat was lovely!  Most of the people I spoke with were quick to sign back up and offered words of encouragement to “keep up the good work.”  Some amazing individuals wished to speak longer, to my great pleasure!  I had a near forty-five minute phone chat with the loveliest of ladies.  She in her eighties and me in my twenties, I felt a kinship of like minds and am pretty sure that I proclaimed us to be soul-sisters by the end of that phone call.  It was lovely speaking with someone so impassioned for the cause; she fueled my hope and desire to see the movement progress.

Just as I spoke with many individuals in support of WOC and with hope for the movement, I also had a few conversations with individuals who had grown discouraged.  One man in particular told me that he had given up on the Catholic Church.  While he still supported WOC and even kept his membership going, personally he had moved on to another church that better reflected his beliefs of equality.  I can completely see how one might grow discouraged and tired of fighting “the man,” especially one as stubborn as the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

Maybe it is because I am new, still fresh and full of hope and optimism, but the idea of giving up the fight doesn’t seem like an option to me, anymore.  I’ll admit that I had given up on the Catholic Church a while ago; I no longer saw a Church that reflected the message of open love that I had grown up believing in.  But coming to WOC and learning about this wonderful progressive movement within the Catholic Church and a large community of people who believe in that fundamental message of love has opened my eyes and refueled my hope.  I’m not saying that the fight for equality is going to be easy; I don’t think it ever has been, but we’ve seen people overcome inequality before and I’ve seen the power of individuals involved in this movement and I honestly think this is a fight that can be won.

I won’t ever claim to be sinless, but I will work hard to make sure that my sins are never ones of omission, sins of silence or complicity.

-Jillian

 

Also, if you just remembered that your membership has lapsed, no worries, we’ve got a renewal form here!

 

 

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