Today’s Gospel is of Mary going to see her cousin. Is that all the Church wants me to be: Mum/Mom/Mommy?
I remember being about seven years old and loving to be at Mass. When we would return home I would get out every doll I had, get into whatever was in the house that I thought made me look like a priest and just celebrate Mass. My parents would come in and say how cute I looked and I know there must be a picture or two floating around the ether of me as Priest. What my parents didn’t understand was I Want to be priest. I wasn’t playing I was practicing!
As I grew older it hurt me to realize that as a Roman Catholic woman I was never going to be what I felt deep in my heart I was being called to be: Priest. It would not have been a burden but a blessing! As I became a young woman I worked at Catholic Institutions simply because I loved being surrounded by my faith as I am sure young men who are studying for the priesthood felt. I was insulted when someone would say: “Why not be a nun?” A nun, no offense my aunt was a nun all her life and loved it, but that is like asking someone who wants to be a brain surgeon to become a podiatrist: Close but no cigar!
There were times when I felt like saying: Heck with them they don’t want me I don’t want them, I will just leave; but I couldn’t ! How do you leave something you have loved all your life with a passion that is all consuming? You don’t leave, I didn’t leave. I could have become an Episcopal; but it didn’t quite fit. I could have become an internet minister, in fact still think about that, seriously I do! No I wanted, needed, still do need to be a Priest. I would sometimes sit in my room alone and cry about it, the need was that great! In fact when I was involved with a Brethren woman’s group, that had a lot of “Liberal” Catholic women in it, they “ordained me”, a member of the group created vestments for me and I celebrated Mass! It was the BEST day of my life!!!! Still have them too, sometimes take them out and look at them!
It angers me when well intentioned moms say to me, now you are what the church thinks is best for women: being a mom and a wife! I love being a mom, a wife. Can’t think of anyone else I would/could/should have married by my lovely hubby! I still feel what I think married RC priests must feel when they leave the church to marry the woman they love; split into two, love the wife, but still yearn for the church!
So the real calling I have, and many, many Catholic women/moms just like me, you know who you are, have is to try and not feel deep insult, to remain faith-filled and in love with a Church that doesn’t quite have a place for us. That is part of my mission as a spiritual director, (BTW, becoming a spiritual director was the closest I was going to get to being a priest – Officially), to help those moms find their place, their calling and be all God has called them to be in spite of it all.