We’re indebted to Becky Fullan for the format of this post.
by Kate Dugan & Jennifer Owens
2006. It’s a hot summer in Boston and Kate’s managing her neighborhood farmers’ market and Jen’s taking a class at Boston College with Gustavo Gutierrez and Jim Nickoloff. We meet for Indian food, talk about what a collection of memoirs by young women about being Catholic would look like and decide that “young” means between 18-35.
2000. Frustrated by our complacency in U.S. atrocities in Central & South America, we both attend the annual School of Americas Watch protest. Not knowing our lives will soon mingle together, we both file through the Catholic funeral procession filled with hope by gathering with thousands of other faith-that-does-justice Catholics.
2002. Boston Archdiocese admits to sex scandal. Again, the question pushes itself forward–how to be Catholic with this sort of institution?
2005. Harvard Divinity School (HDS) accepts both of us. We are both Catholics from the West moving to a prominent East Coast, formerly Protestant seminary. Amid our mutual discomfort, we meet in a class and Jen invites Kate for burritos in Harvard Square. The new friendship creates a comfortable space.
2007. In the midst of Kate’s final year at HDS and Jen’s switch from MTS to MDiv, we take the plunge and send out the call for memoirs to all of our Catholic networks and the Catholic networks of anyone we know. Stunningly, within six weeks, we receive over 100 submissions and begin the arduous process of deciding which we will include in the collection.
2000. Continuum Books publishes the 30th anniversary edition of Paulo Frieire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Friere’s liberative education techniques enthrall both our imaginations and we find ways in work toward our own conscientization. Soon after, Jen begins teaching Catholic high school, and Kate starts working in community organizing.
2008. Though negotiating a three-hour time difference in what we have both come to call “the book,” we work with authors living all over the country to revise their memoirs and we submit proposals to several publishing houses. When Liturgical Press accepts our proposal for From the Pews in the Back: Young Women & Catholicism and suggests a Summer 2009 release, we can hardly believe this idea will be a book.
1995 & 1996. Bishops visit to celebrate confirmation in our home parishes—St. Ireneaus in Cypress, California, and Immaculate Conception in Watertown, South Dakota. We both signal our formal adulthood in Catholicism and claim responsibilities (we are, indeed, response-able in our Catholic identities) as members of this tradition.
2009. Our Genesis story of From the Pews in the Back moves to the seventh day: Release of the book today, July 1! Conversations and discussions are starting to pop up around the country. Many authors continue to articulate facets of their Catholic identity on our blog. Interest in young women’s Catholic identity continues to bubble and we are eager to engage it. Dialogue, not rest, is our 7th day. Join us!
Kate Dugan & Jennifer Owens are co-editors of From the Pews in the Back: Young Women & Catholicism, released today–July 1, 2009–by Liturgical Press.