Mary Magdalene, Wonder Woman, and Me

In honor of the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, July 22 I wore a long, red, silky and glittery skirt and golden bangles to play Mary Magdalene in our church’s Lenten Passion Play, circa 1990. Per ancient Christian tradition, the script conflated her with the sinful woman of the city from the gospel of Luke (7:36-50). I still can recite her opening lines, written as poetry by one of our Sunday School teachers: Sick with deep shame I sorrowfully come… Read more

Dark Devotional: Worthy

My first memory is of flushing my father’s drugs down the toilet. I was 3, and he and my mother were fighting. Again. About his drug use. Again. My mother found some stash or other, and sent me to flush them. I did. By the time I was 5, my parents had already separated and reunited several times and were finally separated for good. I had been in a major car accident–my father was driving, high. I was a confused little… Read more

Approaching Mystery: Timekeeping

Some of the most interesting writing happening today exists in the liminal space between genres—micro-memoir, prose poem, lyrical essay. Poet and essayist Joanna Penn Cooper recently taught an online course based on the potential these “in-between” genres have to explore mystery–one of our favorite topics at Sick Pilgrim. The course was called “Approaching Mystery: Writing Vignettes about Mystery and the Unexplained,” and we liked the idea so much that we’ve partnered with Joanna to offer a new feature on Sick Pilgrim… Read more

Things Keeping Us Alive in July: The Trying to Say God Conference

Every month here at Sick Pilgrim, we like to bring you a feature we call  Things Keeping Us Alive. A diverse group of people share a  couple of small, cheap to free joys in their lives at this moment. Though the Sick Pilgrim blog often treads in melancholy, it’s important not to be swallowed by despair – and that’s as much for ourselves as for our readers. We’re too Sick to be the preachy type. But as St. Teresa of… Read more

Dark Devotional: Alive With Decay

Seed work is work for the dark. It is growth to be entrusted to soil that I did not make; enriched by the work—the lives, the words, the acts, the deaths—of others who came before, broken down and blended into a rich dark compost; watered from clouds I cannot form; floating in Heavens I cannot reach. Read more

Taking Intersectionality to Church

I just read an article in First Things, called “First Church of Intersectionality,” by Elizabeth Corey. Her article was timely, in that I’ve been, over the last several months, reflecting more and more on what it means to have a body. To be a body. To move through life in a female body. In a body with fair skin. In a body that’s both given life and been the scene of a crime.   In delving into the riches of Catholic teachings on justice… Read more

I Love a Good Clean Murder

Best are those with minimal blood: perhaps poison, asphyxiation, or even strangulation. But even better is the off-camera death, where we don’t see the victim stalked by their killer. Oh, I like a murder that feels staged—and that’s also available on Netflix. My husband and I watch at least three murder mysteries a week, usually of the BBC variety: Midsomer Murders or Marple, Sherlock or Foyle’s War. In between, I devour mystery novels, reading through author’s life’s work until I… Read more

Dark Devotional: Missing Your Own Party

                                                                                                                                                     Art by Brian C. Jocks “Come… Read more

The Bats of St. Alphonsus

As a writer and artist, people ask me why I’ve gotten back into parish work. It’s a fair question as many people see local parish work as a hinderance to creative expression. The local church often does strangle creativity in a variety of ways. Every time I look at a lily white Marian prayer card, for example, I feel brain cells dying like I drank a quart of alcohol. Yet parish life can also contain surprises and little mysteries to… Read more

Dark Devotional: Toxic Love

Following Christ often appears insane. It seems to contradict all the things this world tells us is good. What’s more, Christ tells us that we have to love him more than our most basic, fundamental social units. Read more

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