Podcast: Susan Cross, Fieldnotes From a Crone
Burial shroud maker Susan Cross discusses the crone in all of us.
Photo courtesy of author
My daughter was not exactly “planned.” Quite the opposite, really. The surprise positive pregnancy test came just a few weeks before my fourth son turned one. We weren’t sure there would be any more babies after him, and certainly not for a few years, but I couldn’t find a trace of anxiety inside myself. I just knew, right from the beginning, that this was my daughter.
Perhaps the sense of deep knowing came because at that time, I was in a reckoning with my faith tradition over the ways God is masculinized at the expense of the feminine. I was angry that God can be called He and not She. I was exhausted by the all-male hierarchy within Catholicism, the church tradition I belong to. I was adamant that Christians needed to be disentangling ourselves from racism, homophobia, colonization, and xenophobia, and I believed that female leadership would move that work forward. I was longing to relate to God as Mother, not just Father, but was unsure whether that would ever feel comfortable.
But I accepted the invitation to reimagine a God I once thought I had understood: the God who is neither male nor female yet both masculine and feminine; the God who shapeshifts into the symbol or metaphor we need at any given moment; the God who transcends language but still invites its use; the God whom some mystics called Mother, and others Lover.
As I wrestle with my own way of being with a God who is endlessly more mysterious than I once believed God to be, I feel a sense of awe at the idea of my daughter one day doing the same. This prayer, and all the others found in my latest book Feminist Prayers for My Daughter, came from my own need for more liberated ideas about God, and it also came from the longing for my daughter to know God—and in turn know herself—in this way much sooner than I did.
O Face of the Divine Feminine,
My daughter bears the imago Dei, the image of God, in her body
and femininity. And yet it is rare for her to see that represented
in sacred spaces. How can she believe in her own imago Dei
when it has been stifled and subdued in our collective religious
And so I pray.
I pray for a great awakening to the divine feminine.
I pray for artists to create from it.
I pray for pastors to preach on it.
I pray for liturgists to include it.
I pray for activists to draw strength from it.
I pray for my daughter to delight in it.
Do a new thing within the hearts of the people of God. Crack us
open. Give us freer imaginations. Expand our souls to embrace
you in the feminine after so long in the masculine. Parts of us
will be healed; parts of us will be challenged. Let us be unafraid
to be changed.
And when my daughter walks into a place of worship, let it be
with her head held high and certainty in her bones, knowing
that the essence of who she is reveals to the world the truth of
the sacred feminine.
To learn more about Feminist Prayers for My Daughter: Powerful Petitions for Every Stage of Her Life by Shannon K. Evans, click here.
Brazos Press publishes books that creatively draw upon the riches of the Christian story to deepen our understanding of God’s world and inspire faithful reflection and engagement.
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