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In early 2013, I was re-reading “The Dance of the Dissident Daughter” by Sue Monk Kidd and was engaging my own process of healing and growth as a woman. I was confronting my own experiences of exclusion, trauma and injustice. And I was remembering the dear friends and loved ones who had shared their experiences of exclusion, trauma and injustice with me as well. I felt rage and grief. I desired healing, transformation and justice. And it was the midst of that process that I created this piece.
I was raised Catholic and I had learned about the Works of Mercy from a young age and yet as I grew older I began to contemplate what a more expansive interpretation of those works might include.
In addition to the homeless and hungry among us, I found myself in daily contact with women who needed shelter, inclusion, a listening ear, understanding, empathy, support, and solidarity. I believe we are also called to accompany women who are marginalized and suffering from abuse, sexual assault, discrimination, exclusion and isolation.
For what are the original Works of Mercy but a direct response to the expressed need for support and love from a person who is suffering?
If we open ourselves to hear the expressed needs of our sisters who are suffering, what response would be asked of us? This piece is one response.
“You Stood With Me I” is meant to challenge the status quo within the Catholic Church and society. It is meant to break open and include the stories and lived experiences of women both inside and out of the Catholic Church, those women most marginalized in our communities. My intention is that this piece both offer consolation to those of us who have lived these experiences and also serve as a call to action and solidarity for each one of us, a call for us to draw closer and learn to listen to and respond to the expressed needs of our sisters.