Democracy is collapsing, but let’s imagine how the church could change that

I was in another Zoom meeting with my friend, another Catholic sister who is a professor on a college campus. Together we were lamenting the extreme polarities in the church and society. Rubbing our foreheads. Sighing. Praying right out loud: God, help us. Together we were bemoaning how the tensions impact our freedom to loveContinue reading “Democracy is collapsing, but let’s imagine how the church could change that”

Lament and hope go hand in hand

“Say her name!” I yelled, and the crowds roared back: “Breonna Taylor!” After days of protests of the death of George Floyd around the country, I had a gnawing feeling inside that yet again, a Black woman had been relegated to the bottom of the pile in the fight for social justice. So I was excitedContinue reading “Lament and hope go hand in hand”

The body bags of pandemics and wars

Sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic, I’m tucked away into my bedroom, where my time is defined by solitude and screens as I move between projects. Right now, I am working at my desk on various tasks: responding to emails, returning phone calls, setting up meetings. In the background, my radio hums quietly, theContinue reading “The body bags of pandemics and wars”

At a table with other sinners, the Eucharist unites

The first person who taught me eucharistic theology was my Lutheran grandmother. Although I have no memories of her ever uttering the words “eucharistic” or “theology,” she taught me in the way that the best teachers do: by being a living example. Grandma’s house usually smelled like freshly baked bread. Her counter was often dustedContinue reading “At a table with other sinners, the Eucharist unites”

The sacred tension of solitude

My week alone is coming to an end. I’ve been in hermit mode, making a retreat in a cabin in the woods. It’s truly been a grace to be here, to escape from my normal routines and offer some focused energy to a big project. The solitude became a shelter; the quiet like a balmContinue reading “The sacred tension of solitude”

Praying with the power of paradox

I am on the shore of the Mississippi River. I can’t see into the water in this light. I can’t see the bottom of the river, or much more than the movement of the surface and the reflection of sky bright upon the ripples and waves. I know something of this body of water, itsContinue reading “Praying with the power of paradox”

Call for creative communion

  I nearly skipped the liturgy. I almost didn’t head out into the cold night. After two full and exhausting days at the Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I wasn’t sure if I had any energy to interact with another person, especially any of my literary heroes. Yet, I made myContinue reading “Call for creative communion”

Groaning and gratitude

I am wide-awake in a dark hospital room. I survived a gruesome hiking accident that left me bloody and alone in the bottom of a ravine, but I’ve been told that I’ll have reconstructive jaw surgery the next day. My family and Franciscan sisters have gone home to sleep for the rest of the night.Continue reading “Groaning and gratitude”

Made to make God more present

I am in a dim hospital room, standing at the foot of the bed, a small video camera gripped in my hands. I am trying to hold the camera steady and silence my sobs while I watch one of the most incredible, beautiful scenes I have ever observed: the entrance of a new child intoContinue reading “Made to make God more present”

Locked up in different prisons

The heavy metal door bangs behind me, the electric buzz locks the bolt in place. After a pause, another door buzzes and is unlocked, controlled by a police officer sitting near a video monitor in another room. I cross the florescent-lit linoleum and open the next heavy metal door, making my way through this thresholdContinue reading “Locked up in different prisons”