genesis

In the beginning, we were two eager young Catholic women, fumbling our way through div school at Harvard—new to New England, new to each other.

On the first day, we discovered our mutual admiration for and inspiration in Paulo Freire, bell hooks & co. in a class called Education for Liberation. Amid musings on being women with Catholic stories in higher education, we spent hours chatting, until the streetlamp near the corner of Eliot and Park no longer shared its light. We became friends, and it was good.

On the second day, we became a group of five young Catholic women. Unique among our mostly Protestant pals, we traded anecdotes—about our adventures through Catholic girlhood, our attempts to practice social justice, and our love for Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton—over kidney bean curry in the house on Eliot. There were Catholic dinners in Harvard Square, Buddhist meditation in the house on Broadway, the proclamation of The Vagina Monologues in Andover Chapel, lots of laughter, and many cups of tea. We built community, and it was good.

On the third day, we traipsed down the Red Line for a taste of Spirituality in the Pub. Kate whispered that we should invite women of our generation to craft essays about their Catholicism. As we meandered toward the train, we wondered, “What would they say? How would they say it?” We talked excitedly, and it was good.

On the fourth day, we tested the waters. We asked anyone who would listen what they thought about publishing an anthology of memoirs by young women about their experiences in Catholicism and Catholic identity. Stories likes these, indeed, have yet to be published collectively. With a resounding thumbs up, we launched in, and it was good.

On the fifth day, we praised the wonders of email communication and free blogs. From the basement computer lab, we spread the word in 21st-century fashion. Far and wide, apparently, the message has been received. The inbox bopping steadily, we were off, and it was good.

On the sixth day, we’ll start revising, editing, and working with other young Catholic women to hone their pieces. Recognizing the hard work yet to come, we are energized by the positive response to this point. We’re beginning to hear one another into speech, and it’ll be good.

On the seventh day, we do not hope for rest. Our vision of this project is to expand the sounds and types of voices that speak for Catholicism. We acknowledge the Catholic imprint that marks our ways of being in the world, and we claim our place as members of a community that carries our shared tradition. We’re continuing the story, and it’ll be good.

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One Response

  1. […] Our Genesis story of From the Pews in the Back moves to the seventh day: Release of the book today, July 1! […]

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