The holiest hour I spend each month is where I minister and am ministered to by Catholic lesbian and queer women. One Friday evening a month, we crowd into an upper room in the administrative offices of our church, bringing Fritos and Milano cookies to break bread, coffee or seltzer standing in for drinking wine.
We meet in Manhattan, but hail from Queens, Nebraska, Cuba, the Philippines, Ireland, Hawaii, and many places in between. Some of us are married and some are single, some of us have children or even grandchildren. Some of us are just starting (or restarting) our careers, others are long retired.
We pray together, share one another’s joys and sorrows, and love our God in a way that is entirely our own.
We celebrate our lives and our love as fully Catholic, refusing to be defined by an authoritarian Church that does not recognize our priesthood or its patriarchal culture that views our pronouns as unfit to attach to the name of God.This spiritual community is the foundation of my faith. Jesus said, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. Audre Lorde said, “perhaps I can say this all more simply—the love of women healed me.”
When our monthly meeting concludes and the church locks up for the night, a bunch of us usually go across the street to a diner to snack on grilled cheese sandwiches and continue the laughter and fun. There’s often about twelve of us or so, but the waiters know by now not to try to seat us in groups—at our request, they cobble together one long skinny table and scrape an assortment of chairs across the diner floor.
Without the love of lesbian and queer Catholics I would not fully understand my worth and my power as a woman. Our communion has taught me to take up space, trust my voice, and know that no one and nothing can take that away from me.
- What spaces and communities allow you to feel “fully Catholic,” to understand your worth and power as a person of faith, whatever your faith tradition may be?
- How are you being called to build spaces and communities that allow all people to feel “fully Catholic”—fully loved by God?
Teresa Thompson is a therapist and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She works for racial justice through a faith-based lens at her parish, the Church of St. Francis Xavier, and through her involvement with Call To Action. Originally hailing from the Caribbean and Ireland, Teresa worked in New York City’s public mental health system for six years before transitioning into private practice. She loves being a friend, sister, daughter, wife, and dog mom.