By Kate Dugan

Next month marks three years since Jen and I moved From the Pews in the Back from an idea we bounced around in any spare moment we had together to a public project.  We put out the call for submissions by young women about being Catholic at the end of next month.  I remember really clearly those first few moments.  We were in the basement computer lab of Harvard Divinity School; we had our own gmail address and a blogspot blog and a flyer.  When we pushed send on the first couple emails, we took deep breaths and sort of looked at each other: here we go!

We had no idea if we’d get enough essays to make a whole book.  To our amazement, we received just over 100 essays by the middle of April.

What has also been amazing, in these years since those first days, has been realizing that this book has created a loosely-knit community of women talking about being Catholic.  This week, I gave a presentation about the book at Loyola University Chicago with two other contributors and co-facilitated a conversation about young women’s Catholic identity with Beth Knobbe at Northwestern University’s Sheil Catholic Center.

Both events really reminded me that there is still an eagerness to talk about how young women are able to function in the contemporary US and be Catholic.

Kate Dugan is a co-editor of From the Pews in the Back and a PhD student at Northwestern University.


4 Responses

  1. Three YEARS, eh? Happy early anniversary to you both! : ) I agree about the surprising sense of community that has come from participating in this. I was struck by it at both of the readings we did last fall, at St. Ben’s and St. Scholastica. It’s a very cool ripple effect of this project. Kudos, and thank you for the opportunity to be a part of it.

  2. Great to meet you yesterday, Kate. I hope we can connect again some time soon.

  3. Kate – Thanks for a great conversation on Tuesday! What a wonderful group of women, and it is amazing how many connections were made over lunch. I’m so glad that our paths have crossed. It is so good to find kindred spirits on the journey of faith. I wish you and Jen continued success. Happy book-birthing anniversary!

  4. @ Kate: I know, right? 3 years! And that doesn’t include the many months of scheming and planning between Jen & I. I was definitely thinking of your MN reflections when I wrote this little post…thanks for sharing.

    @ Claire: So great to meet you, too! Thanks for making the trip.

    @ Beth: Thanks to you, too, for making it happen. It was a wonderful opportunity. I appreciate knowing that you are doing such good work at Sheil!

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