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The Stories You Keep to Yourself

August 14, 2009

In November 1989, when I was in grad school at Boston College, I woke suddenly one night knowing something very tragic and momentous had happened and people had died.  I really don’t know how to describe it, that zone, and it was the first time I experienced it.    I heard the words “Take Lord, and receive, all I have and possess…..” and the entire rest of the prayer.   I knew, in the language I used at the time, that this was a prayer about God and people, a joint prayer, that it was a prayer across the cosmos, and people and God are one.

I was out of sorts when I got up and was glad I had a visit scheduled with my Jesuit spiritual guide.  I don’t think I will ever forget that meeting.   He was ashen and said he had just learned that six Jesuits and two women were assassinated in El Salvador.

Looking back nearly 20 years, I can remember those times.  That decade I had lived in community with Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees.  Between Holy Cross and BC, I participated in many conversations and rallies and liturgies.

There’s a saying I’ve heard both Prov. #1 and Prov. #3 use:   The truth will set us free.  I honestly don’t know sometimes what to do with truth.

I think the truth complicates things and burdens us with responsibility, and is really yucky.

The truth makes me have to call Missouri Jesuits to account, after a good experience with prov. #1, and a good experience with many other Jesuits, and a great deal of experience with Jesuits.   It made me call prov. #2 a liar.  It made me call Fr. Nicolas ineffective.   It’s made me ready for prov. #3.

I think I am saying all this because I am sick and tired of “survivors of clergy sexual abuse” being put in a box.   I am tired of how we are devalued as people.  We are cases.  We have no personhood or dignity.  No courtesy of a response or phone call.

We are lied to.  We are lied about.  Our motives are suspect.  We are on the other side, the case, the problem, not “our people”.   We get the worst the church has to offer.

I hope some of that made sense, because I ran out of things I want to say.  It’s the best I can do.   It all goes together somehow.

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