Sr. Joan Chittister on Dr. Mary Daly

14 Jan
January 14, 2010


For Mary Daly: in memory of courage walking
by Joan Chittister on Jan. 13, 2010 From Where I Stand
I did not know Mary Daly personally. I never met her professionally. I never heard even one of her public speeches. My concern for women’s issues did not come from Daly. I got that from my mother.

My sense of Daly’s impact on history comes from every discussion of women’s issues in which I ever participated. The impact Daly’s ideas and courage was having on other women was palpable. In those living situations, then, I learned a lot from Daly. Most of all, I learned how to look newly at things I’d looked at for so long that I was no longer really seeing any of them.

Recently I heard a commentator remark on her role in the development of thought in our time that “when the theological history of the period is written, Mary Daly will, at most, be only a small footnote in the study.” That depends, I would argue, on who is doing the history. Women, I think, will have a great deal more to say about Daly than any amount of footnotes can possibly hold.

Remote as my own associations had been, for instance, when the word of her death came I realized instantly that women in general, whether they knew it or not, had a great deal for which to thank her.

Women need to thank Daly for raising two of the most important theological questions of our time: one, whether the question of a male God was consistent with the teaching that God was pure spirit, and two, whether a church that is more patriarchal system than authentic church could possibly survive in its present form. These two questions have yet to be resolved and are yet rankling both thinkers and institutions.

Women need to thank Daly for bearing the rejection that too often comes to those who say a new insight first and say it consistently and say it in the face of the very system in which they themselves have been raised.

For example, in later years, Daly refused to accept men in some of her classes, forcing men to experience the exclusion that women had endured for centuries. As a result, she lost her tenured position at a Catholic college for allegedly failing to offer equal service to all students, both men and women. But at the same time, no one else in Catholic colleges — or elsewhere — lost their jobs for excluding women from access to theology degrees or various medical specialties, among others, on the grounds that women, as women, were unfit for such programs.

Nor did anyone — now that men had finally experienced what it felt like to be made invisible in the public arena — officially apologize to women for having kept them out of schools, offices, work, leadership positions, discussions and decision-making in both church and state for two millennia. However much theology claimed we were all equal.

Women need to thank Daly for modeling the adulthood, the psychological maturity, the strength it takes to accept the social isolation and loneliness that comes with refusing to agree that just because we have never questioned a thing that it is, therefore, unquestionable. Thanks to her relentless questioning of women’s social circumstances and theological exclusions everywhere, the woman’s question became a major and profound theological question. It is thanks to Daly and the myriad of women theologians after her that “Because we say so” is no longer either a logical or an acceptable explanation for the exclusion of women anywhere.

Women need to thank Daly for exposing to us a whole new way of being alive. She freshened thought about the role and place of women by using language to show us what we could not see. She dug into history to trace the original meanings of words like hag and witch — once terms of reverence for the spiritual qualities and feminine wisdom of women, but now used to reduce them to the level of the malevolent.

She forced us to think newly, to think creatively. She called on women to Re-member themselves, to put themselves together differently than they had been taught was right for a woman. She talked about Gyn/nocide to make us understand that the infamous centuries of witch burnings were really the genocide of women practiced long before this century’s Holocaust and under the guise of holiness.

Indeed, Daly’s work is an icon to women. She was a groundbreaking thinker, a threat to any patriarchal institution, a creator of an entire new way of seeing life, of being alive, of celebrating life. She touched a culture deeply. Indeed, we owe her thanks.

From where I stand, a person’s influence is measured, not so much by virtue of their effect on the institutions that bred them, but by their influence on those who never knew them at all. It is the women who never knew Daly but now know the things she knew that are the real evidence of her legacy, her impact, her meaning not only to this generation but to generations to come. As in “all generations shall call her blessed.”

Joan Chittister’s blog

NCR article Mary Daly, radical feminist theologian, dead at 81

07 Jan
January 7, 2010


Mary Daly, radical feminist theologian, dead at 81
She helped reshape Christian thought through decades
Jan. 04, 2010
By Thomas C. Fox– http://ncronline.org/news/women/mary-daly-radical-feminist-theologian-dead-81

Daly in 1987 (Photo by Gail Bryan)

Mary Daly, radical feminist theologian and a mother of modern feminist theology, died Jan. 3 at the age of 81. She was one of the most influential voices of the radical feminist movement through the later 20th century.
Daly taught courses in theology, feminist ethics and patriarchy at Boston College for 33 years. Her first book, “The Church and the Second Sex,” published in 1968, got her fired, briefly, from her teaching position there, but as a result of support from the (then all-male) student body and the general public, she was ultimately granted tenure.
According to a 2000 Cross Currents profile, “Much of her work since that time has consisted in blowing exuberant raspberries at the Vatican, Boston College, and the keepers of the patriarchal flame generally — who may have expected no better outcome from educating a woman, and must feel betrayed and vindicated by turns.”
Mary E. Hunt, co-founder and co-director of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), announced the death Jan. 3 online in “The Feminist Studies in Religion” bulletin:
“With a heavy heart, yet grateful beyond words for her life and work, I report that Mary Daly died this morning, January 3, 2010 in Massachusetts. She had been in poor health for the last two years.
Her contributions to feminist theology, philosophy, and theory were many, unique, and if I may say so, world-changing. She created intellectual space; she set the bar high. Even those who disagreed with her are in her debt for the challenges she offered. … She always advised women to throw our lives as far as they would go. I can say without fear of exaggeration that she lived that way herself.”
Daly once wrote: “There are and will be those who think I have gone overboard. Let them rest assured that this assessment is correct, probably beyond their wildest imagination, and that I will continue to do so.”
She was an exuberant participant in and shaper of the feminist movement of the 1970s, and 1980s.
The only child of working-class, Irish-Catholic parents in upstate New York, she grew up with a strong sense of her ethnic and religious heritage. As a young woman, she developed a desire to become a philosopher and a theologian. Encouraged by her parents, and especially by her mother, Daly pursued her intellectual dream, eventually becoming a victor over a Catholic educational system that prevented women from earning graduate degrees in philosophy by studying at the University of Freiburg where she earned graduate degrees in philosophy and theology.
Daly was influenced by thinkers ranging from Thomas Aquinas to French feminist Simone de Beauvoir to Virginia Woolf, according to Who2.com.
In fact, Daly, the feminist, developed a kind of perverse fondness for Aquinas, whom she called “the fat old monk.” She learned to “decode” the thinking of a man who, she cheerfully admitted, conceived of women as “misbegotten males.”
Eventually, in her life and scholarship she developed a sweeping analysis of “patriarchy” as the root of women’s oppression and of all social ills in which people are treated as objects.
After “The Church and the Second Sex,” she said she moved from “Christian reformist” to “radical, post-Christian” feminist.
Studying archetypal forms and prepatriarchal religion convinced Daly that church doctrine consisted of a series of significant “reversals.” She explained these to NCR writer Jeanette Batz in 1996:
• the Trinity, from the triple goddess once celebrated worldwide;
• the virgin birth, from the parthenogenesis that once begat divine daughters;
• Adam giving birth to Eve.
Women operating on patriarchy’s boundaries, she once wrote, can spiral into freedom by renaming and reclaiming an ancient woman-centered reality that was stolen and eradicated by patriarchy.
She took great delight in castigating the “eight deadly sins of the fathers”: processions, professions, possession, aggression, obsession, assimilation, elimination and fragmentation. “Laugh out loud,” she urged, “at their pompous penile processions.”
As for God, there’s simply no way to rid the language of allusion, she wrote, so, “if you must be anthropomorphic,” she preferred “Goddess.”
Daly most often contemplated the divine essence as a verb, Be-ing itself, so that worship is “not kneeling in front of a so-and-so but swirling in energy.” Her language echoed quantum physics, and she was flattered if you said so: “I do think about space-time a great deal,” she admitted. “It’s a kind of mysticism which is also political.”
These attitudes toward life and religion were reflected in the Feb. 26, 1996 issue of The New Yorker in which she wrote:
“Ever since childhood, I have been honing my skills for living the life of a radical feminist pirate and cultivating the courage to win. The word ‘sin’ is derived from the Indo-European root ‘es-,’ meaning ‘to be.’ When I discovered this etymology, I intuitively understood that for a woman trapped in patriarchy, which is the religion of the entire planet, ‘to be’ in the fullest sense is ‘to sin.’”
“Women who are pirates in a phallocratic society are involved in a complex operation. First, it is necessary to plunder–that is, righteously rip off gems of knowledge that the patriarchs have stolen from us. Second, we must smuggle back to other women our plundered treasures. In order to invent strategies that will be big and bold enough for the next millennium, it is crucial that women share our experiences: the chances we have taken and the choices that have kept us alive. They are my pirate’s battle cry and wake-up call for women who want to hear.”
And so Daly would like to say: “I urge you to Sin. … But not against these itty-bitty religions, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism — or their secular derivatives, Marxism, Maoism, Freudianism and Jungianism — which are all derivatives of the big religion of patriarchy. Sin against the infrastructure itself!”
Daly poured much energy into breaking down age-old boundaries of critical thought. Her work helped set the stage for other feminist theologians who rose up in the 20th century to offer critiques of male-dominated theology that would reshape Christian thought. Several of these groundbreaking women included Rosemary Radford Ruether, Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, and Rosemary Haughton.
Boston College Jesuits worked uneasily with Daly for more than three decades before parting ways. According to Jack Dunn, Boston Colleg spokesman, the university never terminated Daly’s contract as a tenured professor.
“In 1999 she attempted to take a leave of absence (as she had in each of the previous instances in which a male student had attempted to gain access to her class) and her request was not granted. She then offered to retire from teaching at BC. A year later, she reneged on her retirement agreement and the case ended up in court where Judge Martha Sosman ruled against her motion for preliminary judgment.”
In February, 2001, Boston College and Daly’s supporters announced that a settlement had been reached.
Other Daly books include:
“Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism,” which defined categories of political theory and philosophy of religion.
“Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy,” an exploration of patriarchy and feminist vision.
“Websters’ First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language,” a humor-filled work of words aimed at “freeing the English language” from its patriarchal roots.
“Outercourse: The Be-Dazzling Voyage,” a philosophical autobiography.
“Quintessence… Realizing the Archiac Future: A Radical Elemental Feminist Manifesto,” another consideration of feminist thought.
“Amazon Grace: Re-Calling the Courage to Sin Big.”
New York Times profile of Mary Daly

Breath of Heaven sung by Amy Grant

29 Dec
December 29, 2009

Merry Christmas

24 Dec
December 24, 2009

Our Lady of the New Advent

29 Nov
November 29, 2009

O Lady and Mother
of the One who was and is and is to come,
dawn of the New Jerusalem,
we earnestly beseech you,
bring us by your intercession
so to live in love
that the Church, the Body of Christ,
may stand in this world’s dark
as fiery icon of the New Jerusalem.
We ask you to obtain for us this mercy
through Jesus Christ, your Son and Lord,
who lives and reigns
with the Father in the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever.
Amen
Prayer composed by the Sisters of the Abbey of Walburga
of Boulder, Colorado

Shore Acres Waves 11-06-09–Thank you Sally

23 Nov
November 23, 2009

Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind, whose breath gives life to the world, Hear me! I come to you as one of your many children. May I walk in beauty. Make my eyes behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things that you have made, and my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise so that I may know the things that you have taught your children– The lessons that you have hidden in every leaf and rock. Fill my heart with gratitude for the work of your hands. Prayer by Sr. CA Higgins.

And I wanted to thank you. Thank you for loving me. And I wanted to thank and praise you Lord, for joining me as my brother, my God and my friend to the end my Lord. As my brother, my God and my friend Amen.
Refrain: Passion Song SO’C Roussell.

Mother Marie Rose

07 Oct
October 7, 2009

Presence, the Heart of Our Mission
By Carol Higgins, snjm

Mother Marie Rose was, and is, a woman of God’s presence. She walked with her sisters and students and stayed engaged with those with whom she disagreed. She suffered illness, misunderstandings, and persecution yet she remained convinced of God’s love. Her very person manifested the presence of God to her companions. My studies of our history have convinced me that Mother Rose’s great gift was that she educated by intentionally living in God’s presence, a presence that was rooted in her deep faith. “I invite you to meet me in the Heart of Jesus…” Those who met her were immediately attracted to her, because she transparently radiated the loving presence of God. She impacted people because she was truly on fire with God’s love and exemplified God’s mission. We too are called to bring the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary forth, in this time and place, in the day-to-day reality of living a life consecrated to God.
Our Constitutions speak of our “Desire to proclaim by our lives the primacy of the love of God” (3). “The apostolic service of our Congregation involves a threefold
dimension: sharing in the Good News of salvation, revealing Christ by our words, and by
our manner of life, and serving those to whom we are sent” (10). These quotes speak to me of our call to live our lives intentionally. Whether teaching, praying with a patient, or sitting in traffic, we are called to live the Good News of salvation, we are called to be aware of God’s presence and to be God’s presence.
Is it possible that our calls to work for justice, to care for creation, and to care for one another could be a call to be more intentional about God’s presence and love as we go about the ordinary work of living and being? The question I’m asking us to ponder is, “What is at the heart of our shared mission?” Could it be that our mission is to live in such a way that we, by sharing God’s presence, continue Christ’s transformative work? Are we called to cast the fire of Jesus and Mary in the simple interactions of life? Do we have enough faith to believe that it really could be that simple?

“I invite you to meet me in the Heart of Jesus, for it is there that I wish to make my dwelling and where, if you so choose, we shall never be parted.”
Mother Marie Rose Durocher

Blessings of Yom Kippur- AISH.com

28 Sep
September 28, 2009

Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) is one of two Jewish High Holy Days. The first High Holy Day is Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). Yom Kippur falls ten days after Rosh Hashanah on the 10th of Tishrei, which is a Hebrew month that correlates with September-October on the secular calendar. The purpose of Yom Kippur is to bring about reconciliation between people and between individuals and God. According to Jewish tradition, it is also the day when God decides the fate of each human being.

Although Yom Kippur is an intense holiday it is nevertheless viewed as a happy day. Why? Because if one has observed the holiday properly by the end of Yom Kippur they will have made peace with others and with God.
There are three essential components of Yom Kippur:
1. Teshuvah (Repentance)
2. Prayer
3. Fasting

Teshuvah (Repentance)
Yom Kippur is a day of reconciliation, when Jews strive to make amends with people and to draw closer to God through prayer and fasting. The ten days leading up to Yom Kippur are known as the Ten Days of Repentance. During this period Jews are encouraged to seek out anyone they may have offended and to sincerely request forgiveness so that the New Year can begin with a clean slate. If the first request for forgiveness is rebuffed, one should ask for forgiveness at least two more times, at which point the person whose forgiveness is being sought should grant the request. The rabbis thought it was cruel for anyone to withhold their forgiveness for offenses that had not caused irrevocable damage. Learn more about teshuvah.
This process of repentance is called teshuvah and it is a crucial part of Yom Kippur. Although many people think that transgressions from the previous year are forgiven through prayer, fasting and participation in Yom Kippur services, Jewish tradition teaches that only offenses committed against God can be forgiven on Yom Kippur. Hence it is important that people make an effort to reconcile with others before participating in Yom Kippur services…

Prayer
Yom Kippur is the longest synagogue service in the Jewish year. It begins on the evening before Yom Kippur day with a haunting song called Kol Nidre (All Vows). The words of this melody ask God to forgive any vows people have made to God and not kept.
The service on the day of Yom Kippur lasts from morning until nightfall. Many prayers are said but one is repeated at intervals throughout the service. This prayer is called Al Khet and asks for forgiveness for a variety of sins that may have been committed during the year. The Jewish concept of sin is not like the Christian concept of original sin. Rather, it’s the kind of everyday offenses like hurting those we love, lying to ourselves or using foul language that Judaism views as sinful. You can clearly see examples of these infractions in the Yom Kippur liturgy, for instance in this excerpt from Al Khet:
For the sin that we have committed under stress or through choice;
For the sin that we have committed in stubbornness or in error;
For the sin that we have committed in the evil meditations of the heart;
For the sin that we have committed by word of mouth;
For the sin that we have committed through abuse of power;
For the sin that we have committed by exploitation of neighbors;
For all these sins, O God of forgiveness, bear with us, pardon us, forgive us!

When Al Khet is recited people gently beat their fists against their chests as each sin is mentioned. Sins are mentioned in plural form because even if someone hasn’t committed a particular sin, Jewish tradition teaches that every Jew bears a measure of responsibility for the actions of other Jews.

During the afternoon portion of the Yom Kippur service the Book of Jonah is read to remind people of God’s willingness to forgive those who are sincerely sorry. The last part of the service is called Ne’ilah (Shutting). The name comes from the imagery of Ne’ilah prayers, which talk about gates being shut against us. People pray intensely during this time, hoping to be admitted to God’s presence before the gates have been shut..

Fasting
Yom Kippur is also marked by 25 hours of fasting. There are other fast days in the Jewish calendar, but this is the only one the Torah specifically commands us to observe. Leviticus 23:27 describes it as “afflicting your souls” and during this time no food or liquid may be consumed.
The fast starts an hour before Yom Kippur begins and ends after nightfall on the day of Yom Kippur. In addition to food, Jews are also forbidden from engaging in sexual relations, bathing or wearing leather shoes. The prohibition against wearing leather comes from a reluctance to wear the skin of a slaughtered animal while asking God for mercy.

Who Fasts on Yom Kippur
Children under the age of nine are not allowed to fast, while children older than nine are encouraged to eat less. Girls who are 12 years or older and boys who are 13 years or older are required to participate in the full 25-hour fast along with adults. However, pregnant women, women who have recently given birth and anyone suffering from a life-threatening illness are not required to observe the fast. These people need food and drink to keep up their strength and Judaism always values life above the observance of Jewish law.
Many people end the fast with a feeling of deep serenity, which comes from having made peace with others and with God.

About.com http://judaism.about.com/od/holidays/a/yomkippur.htm

Happy New Year 5770 – Rosh HaShanah (ראש השנה) is the Jewish New Year.

22 Sep
September 22, 2009

Copied from About.com
Rosh HaShanah (ראש השנה) is the Jewish New Year. It falls once a year during the month of Tishrei and occurs ten days before Yom Kippur. Together, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur are known as the Yamim Nora’im, which means the Days of Awe in Hebrew. In English they are often referred to as the High Holy Days.

The Meaning of Rosh HaShanah
Rosh HaShanah literally means “Head of the Year” in Hebrew. It falls in the month of Tishrei, which is the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar. The reason for this is because the Hebrew calendar begins with the month of Nissan (when it’s believed the Jews were freed from slavery in Egypt) but the month of Tishrei is believed to be the month in which God created the world. Hence, another way to think about Rosh HaShanah is as the birthday of the world.

Rosh HaShanah is observed on the first two days of Tishrei. Jewish tradition teaches that during the High Holy Days God decides who will live and who will die during the coming year. As a result, during Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur (and in the days leading up to them) Jews embark upon the serious task of examining their lives and repenting for any wrongs they have committed during the previous year. This process of repentance is called teshuvah. Jews are encouraged to make amends with anyone they have wronged and to make plans for improving during the coming year. In this way, Rosh HaShanah is all about making peace in the community and striving to be a better person.

Even though the theme of Rosh HaShanah is life and death, it is a holiday filled with hope for the New Year. Jews believe that God is compassionate and just, and that God will accept their prayers for forgiveness.

Rosh HaShanah Liturgy
The Rosh HaShanah prayer service is one of the longest of the year. Only the Yom Kippur service is longer. Rosh HaShanah service usually runs from early morning until the afternoon and is so unique that it has its own prayer book called the Makhzor. Two of the most well known prayers from Rosh HaShanah liturgy are:

Unetaneh Tohkef – This prayer is about life and death. Part of it reads: “On Rosh HaShanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed, how many will leave this world and how many will be born into it, who will live and who will die… But penitence, prayer and good deeds can annul the severity of the decree.”
Avienu Malkeinu – Another famous prayer is Avienu Malkeinu, which means “Our Father Our King” in Hebrew. Usually the entire congregation will sing the last verse of this prayer in unison, which says: “Our Father, our King, answer us as though we have no deed to plead our cause, save us with mercy and loving-kindness.”

Customs and Symbols
On Rosh HaShanah it is customary to greet people with “L’Shanah Tovah,” which is Hebrew that is usually translated as “For a Good Year” or “May you have a good year.” Some people also say “L’shana tovah tikatev v’etahetem,” which means “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.” (If said to a woman the greeting would be: “L’shanah tovah tikatevi v’tahetemi”). This greeting refers to the belief that a person’s fate for the coming year is decided during the High Holy Days.

The shofar is an important symbol of Rosh HaShanah. It is an instrument often made of a ram’s horn and is blown one hundred times during each of the two days of Rosh HaShanah. The sound of the shofar blast reminds people of the importance of reflection during this important holiday. Learn more about the shofar in this article.

Tashlich is a ceremony that usually takes place during the first day of Rosh HaShanah. “Tashlich” literally means “casting off” and involves symbolically casting off the sins of the previous year by tossing pieces of bread or another food into a body of flowing water. Learn more about tashlich in this article.

Other significant symbols of Rosh HaShanah include apples, honey and round loaves of challah. Apple slices dipped in honey represent our hope for a sweet new year and are traditionally accompanied by a short prayer before eating that goes: “May it by Thy will, O Lord, Our God, to grant us a year that is good and sweet.” Challah, which is usually baked into braids, is shaped into round loaves of bread on Rosh HaShanah. The circular shape symbolizes the continuation of life.

On the second night of Rosh HaShanah it is customary to eat a fruit that is new to us for the season, saying the shehechiyanu blessing as we eat it to thank God for bringing us to this season. Pomegranates are a popular choice because Israel is often praised for its pomegranates and because, according to legend, pomegranates contain 613 seeds – one for each of the 613 mitzvot. Another reason for eating pomegranates on Rosh HaShanah has to do with the symbolic hope that our good deeds in the coming year will be as many as the seeds of the fruit.

Copied from About.com

Sisters of the Holy Names & Marylhurst’s Mission

17 Sep
September 17, 2009