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You Can Be Catholic and a Feminist ?!?: A Dialog About How We Can Apply Intersectional Feminism to Lent

I think religion often gets a bad rep around the feminist community, but, in my opinion, intersectional feminism is a representation of what Catholic ideals should be. I hail from a Catholic college but growing up my family was non-religious. Therefore, I have an interesting relationship with my religion. Up until recently I found the pomp and circumstance of the Lenten season a little ridiculous. I would ask myself “how does giving up chocolate or soda for a certain amount of time truly bring you closer to Jesus’s sacrifice?” The truth is for me.. It doesn’t. Maybe for other people it helps them realize things they hadn’t before, but for me, if I want to celebrate lent than I need something deeper.

So, I decided I needed to be more mindful everyday of all the privileges I possess. By being mindful I mean not dismissing someone for being rude or having an attitude because you never know what they’ve been going through. That means remembering not everyone in my class went to a school who had student leadership opportunities so if someone is struggling to lead your group you need to help and not complain. To me this looks like getting up from your seat on the train when you see someone who looks tired and probably had been working all day when all I did was go to class that day.

Specifically, I want to make a conscious effort to not gender anyone with a pronoun until I ask them what their preferred pronoun is. I also want to make sure I understand that even though as a woman I have a sense of solidarity with other women, I will never know what it feels like to be a woman of color in this country. So, when someone is sharing their experience surrounding something I will never understand I need to be an active listener. I will also never know what it’s like to celebrate a religion that is demonized in our country. To show solidarity I want to offer a safe space around me at all times. In order to do that I will speak up when no one else is. Because that is God’s work, loving everybody and recognizing how lucky you are to be where He has put you. I hope this will also bring me close to St. Vincent himself, the founder of our school, by allowing me to recognize the reason why he began this school in the first place. To create a sanctuary for those who had less than him. By being more mindful of these moments that demand me to use my privilege or to check my privilege it will become second nature to me later and hopefully a part of my everyday life. Let’s remember this spring that we all have advantages over other people and by being conscious of those privileges we can all better understand each other.

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