Thursday, August 24, 2023

Free Spirit Inclusive Catholic Community Witness Against Death Penalty in North Carolina

 My Free Spirit friend Liza Hardy-Braz and I drove from Greenville, NC to our state capital, Raleigh on Saturday, August 19, 2023 to join other NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty activists advocating for the end of the death penalty in NC. Many people of all ages came together peacefully at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church and then marched a little over a mile to stand at the main gate in front of NC’s Central Prison despite the heat and sun. We are grateful to the church for the hospitality in allowing us to meet there and be a part of a poignant ceremony with singing, Spoken Word poetry and for each executed person, a brief eulogy and their name announced by either a family member, friend, lawyer, pen pal or an exonerated death row inmate. It was humbling and made a powerful impact bringing tears to our eyes. The ages of the executed were from 26 to 68.

Christina Logan 

NC Death Penalty by the Numbers

136 people on death row.

60% are people of color.

Nearly half were sentenced by overwhelmingly white juries.

2 times more likely to be sentenced to death if victim of the murder is white.

12 innocent people exonerated.

11 exonerees are people of color.

43 people executed since 1976.

2006: the last year someone was executed.

2023: the last year someone was sentenced to death.

10 capital trials are scheduled for 2023.

$2.16 million average additional cost for each case resulting in execution vs. sentenced to life in prison.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The Light of Darkness, Poem by Mary Sue Barnett ARCWP



The Light of Darkness 

Oh cave of my heart

Such are your depths 

Your earth song beating 

Rhythmic and grounded

Pumping my blood 

For every moment 

A human cries out

In my presence 

A river of love flowing 

Toward their trauma

Oh soul of my soul 

Such is your breadth 

So face-to-face 

I draw near

Softly, as he pleads 

For release from 

Schizophrenic demons

Hear God in his pleas. 

Oh cave of my heart

Such is your wordless

Distance, that I may 

Anoint with oil near 

The wound in his head

My own breath interrupted 

As he is dying

And as his mother breaks

See the Holiness of their bond. 

Oh soul of my soul

Such is your thin veil 

That I am drawn

To catch her with

My own body 

A mother collapsing 

Under the weight 

Of her daughter’s Femicide. 

See the Sacred power of her love. 

Oh cave of my heart

Such are the holy tears 

Through which I see

To hold steady 

With the girl bent

On killing herself

From rape trauma

Feel the Divine fighting for her. 

Oh soul of my soul

Such is your spaciousness 

In which I am held

To hold space for

Violent chaos, to

Quiver with empathy

In the blood and carnage

Of gunshot victims

Perceive the closeness of Christ. 

O cave of my heart 

Such is your regal and wide

Darkness that I may dwell 

In strength for the sex

Trafficking victim unmoored

In this world crying

“Where are You?”

To God in the chapel of

The trauma hospital 

See her in the Divine Image. 

O soul of my soul

Such is your labyrinthine ground

Upon which I walk

That compassion meet trauma 

Care meet illness

Gentleness meet loneliness 

Hope meet depression

Stillness meet psychosis 

Understanding meet suicidality 

Peace meet pain

Reverence meet death 

Kindness meet fear

Love meet despair 

Respect meet humanity 

Oh cave of my heart

Such are your depths 

Your earth song beating 

Rhythmic and grounded

Pumping my blood 

For every moment 

A human cries out

In my presence 

A river of love flowing 

Toward their trauma

Mary Sue Barnett, ARCWP

Priest Chaplain 

Leve 1 Trauma Hospital 


Psychiatric Hospital 

Monday, August 21, 2023

Roman Catholic Women Priests at the Parliament of World Religions - Report by Suzanne Thiel RCWP - August 19, 2023

These are the words of Sr. Donna Markham at the LCWR gathering in Dallas a week ago and they certainly pertain to all of us in Roman Catholic 

Women Priests and our participation at the Parliament of World Religions this past week:

"I am no longer afraid of what may become of me in speaking truth or doing what I know to be right. I know you understand this and live it with me.

 We will allow absolutely nothing to prevent us from reaching out in compassion. This is the gift and the hope I believe we women religious leaders

 offer to our broken, angry world today."

"Support Roman Catholic Womenpriests" our banner at Booth 418 said at the 2023 Parliament of World Religions held in Chicago these past few days.and that is exactly what people did as they passed us in the hallways and on the walkway bridge in the McCormick Place Convention Center

and the Hyatt Regency.

We are talking about 1000's of participants of all faiths from Sikhs, Rabbis, Unity Ministers, 1Spiriit Interfaith Ministers, Buddhists, Methodists

and Lutherans, Baptists and several other Christian Ministers, Hindus, and many Meditation-new age Spiritual Ministers, Franciscans, Paulists, Wiccans, Pagans as well as a good number of young persons in theology or religious studies 

and a significant number of others coming up to us and saying: "I used to be Catholic"---all who now know 

more about womenpriests.

We were able to explain who we are as the Roman Catholic Women Priests movement, show them on the map where we are located and refer

everyone to the website for more information, give contact information on a number of us from the USA, ARCWP, Canada and other countries-- as to where they could find one of us or a worshiping community--- i.e. people would ask about---to name a few---Alaska, or Kansas or Austria or Washington or Boston or Chicago, Taiwan, New York, San Diego, South Africa, South America etc.

They all received a colorful ballpoint pen with the website info printed on it which as you know also has links to ARCWP and Canada.

Others took handouts with more info, bookmarks, WOC's "Ordain Women" buttons (we ran out of those),

bracelets with a "Womenpriests Are Here" statement, brochures regarding Canada's members and communities and our history booklets.

We rationed the booklets and only handed those to persons who seemed more interested in us---i.e. potential candidates, 

and professors at university programs.

We were able to get the history booklet, Here I Am, in the hands of several others and as I said in an earlier email including Cardinal Cupich, Richard Rohr, and Matthew Fox all took the booklet.  

We also gave one to Ven. Chao Hwei Shih Professor at Hsuan Chuang University whose interpreter brought her over to 

the booth as Juanita had talked to him earlier. (Ven. Chao-hwei Shih serves as both a professor

and as dean of the Department of Religion and Culture at Hsuan-Tzang University.

She was the university’s head of Humanities until stepping down to make more time for her research, which has focused on

Buddhist philosophy and ethics. She has published more than two dozen books and many more research papers.)

Juanita spent much energy with her smile and loving manner reviewing our history to a good number of people,

explaining the Danube 7, and Patricia Fresen's story which most people obviously were fascinated with and moved

to hear all about our roots. She also blessed and counseled several people who had experienced difficult encounters

within the Church.

We were so positively supported and accepted with many asking "How can we help you?" or "It is about time!" etc. or 

"I remember you from the last Parliament in Toronto--- How are things going for you?" 

and several coming up to us from Protestant denominations asking "How can we support you?" 

 If we had a dollar for every time someone smiled or gave us a thumbs up---we would have had a great fundraiser!  

We only had one person be negative---a young man from France who used the word heresy---otherwise all positive---we have support out there globally and now if only the Vatican would wake up---which so many could not understand

why they don't ordain women.


TO Jane and Felix Kryzanowski who helped us along with Roberta Fuller from Canada and Irene Senn from the MIdwest as well as

Mary Grace Crowley-Koch from Holy Margins and Amy Bruner also from the Midwest.

Joanne Truelson and Victoria Rue (Holy Margins) were also present to others as as they attended program sessions and

Victoria shared her latest play in a session on Wed. evening. Even Kate McElwee from WOC sat in the booth one morning

and brought us the purple Ordain Women buttons which as I said we ran out of almost immediately.

I have attached some pictures (which are not in any order) to give you some visuals as to all of the above as it was a graced week to represent

and present all 294 of us to the world. (I am sorry but we seem to be missing a photo of Jane and Felix K. and Roberta who somehow escaped the camera.)

Peace and Blessings to each of you and thank you for trusting us to represent the movement--- even with our collars.

Suz and Juanita

p.s. Be sure and check out the 4th picture which is of Juanita and Dan Frachey (Dan was ordained a deacon today in Great Waters) and be sure and see the last attached picture where 

Mary Grace and Irene slipped out of their comfort zones and let the Sikhs wrap them in turbans.

Synod raises hopes for long-sought recognition of women in the Catholic Church