Sister Monica’s secret ministry to transgender people

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Sister Monica outside her home.  She has spent her career ministering to transgendered people. Religion News Service photo by Philip Scott Andrews

Sister Monica outside her home. She has spent her career ministering to transgendered people. Religion News Service photo by Philip Scott Andrews

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(RNS) Now in her early 70s and semiretired because of health problems, Sister Monica remains committed to her singular calling for the past 16 years: helping transgender people come out of the shadows.

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  • Greg1

    Yes, everybody has their own cross to bear. But God does not give us anything that we cannot handle. So if Sister Monica can live a celibate life, then that is what certain other people are called to do, as well. The more we give up in this life, the greater the glory in heaven. What did our Lord say?, “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29. Sister should be preaching that aspect of the Gospel in her ministry.

  • Greg1

    I would say that St. Paul did focus special attention to sexual immorality (porneia): “18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit…” (1Cor 6:18). Not that other sins are justified, but that sexual sins are exceptionally grave sins.

  • I had to laugh when I saw her sitting on the floor as if she was celebrating a crucifixion.
    Blood sacrifice? Really? This still makes sense to some grownups in 2015?

  • Dominic

    I don’t know why Sr. Monica feels compelled to hide her counseling of trangenders. They are children of God with problems, first and foremost. Her duty is to counsel and comfort them according to her obedience to the Catholic Church. Only if she is manipulating those guidelines with her own opinion is she wrong. She has no authority to represent the Church falsely, or interpret Scripture to suit her self-proclaimed “calling”. In this, she is bringing attention to herself, a sin of pride. If the calling is truly God centered, no hiding is necessary.

  • Richard Rush

    “But God does not give us anything that we cannot handle.”

    So, I guess the reason that God gave my brother-in-law MS to suffer with for 24 years instead of giving it to me is because He knew I could not handle it, right?

  • Daniel Berry, NYC

    i’m surprised she hasn’t been excommunicated. I imagine the order administers its own retirement monies, so she at least doesn’t have to be fearful about that.

  • Richard Rush

    I admire Sister Monica’s true human decency, understanding, and ability/willingness to think independently, all of which are anathema to the Church hierarchy. The Church does everything it can to wring those traits out of the clergy and parishioners.

  • Dominic

    Richard, since when is obedience to the truth wrong.? When Sr. Monica took her vows, she voluntarily took an oath of allegiance to God and His Church. If she has somehow empowered herself with a ” higher calling”, she should inform her Church and leave it or submit humbly to its Authority. Cowering in fear of some imagined reprisal is cowardice and probably heretical.
    She helps neither the church nor trans genders if she acts falsely as a Catholic nun.

  • Andrew

    Hi Greg. Thanks for your input on this matter. I can see your sense of reasoning but I don’t imagine Father God keeps a ledger, where he notes down our sins, by order of gravity. If we are to believe the Gospel, all of our sins nailed the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross at Calvary. In our eyes we may inwardly feel some actions, particularly those, which may be sexual and which, to us, are abhorrent, deserve greater condemnation but that is going against the verse that tells us “Judge not, that he be not judged”. I think we must be very careful here: the very acts, the thought of which may turn our stomachs, are, to those involved in them, an act and demonstration of the love they hold for the other person. Granted there can be lustful relationships too but those occur in every stratum of society. I hope I’ve not offended you.

  • Celeste Richard

    The Catholic Church is not the only church, not the true Church in it’s entirety; it is a particular Denomination within Christendom. If the Catholic church has issues with her ministry, it doesn’t mean she should quit. She can simply go outside of Catholicism to continue her ministry.

  • Celeste Richard

    Hiding was indeed necessary for those who protected Jews from the German Nazis in WWII. Hiding is also necessary for many Christians living in China and the Middle East.

  • Dominic

    I agree. If her “mission” is in conflict with Catholic teaching, she should respectfully leave the convent and go on her merry way. The numerous churches of lesser salvific value would welcome her warmly. She could then step out of the shadows and promote her personal doctrine, as opposed to the doctrine she vowed obedience to.

  • Dominic

    There is no analogy to SR. Monica’s secret mission and Christians hiding Jews in WWII, or Christians hiding in today’s Middle East.
    The latter cases are not issue of doctrine, teachings, or Faith. Sr. Monica is “hiding” from her own Church, rather than request permission to serve in the manner she is now.

  • Jackie

    Another subversive nun! Shame on Sister Monica for keeping her ministry in secret – what has she to hide if she is following Church teaching? She should be counseling these troubled people to unite their sufferings to Christ on the cross, but is she? The article does not specify exactly what she is counseling them, but implies that they are comfortable to “come out” as transgendered after she has counseled them.

    The slant of the article is that something is wrong with the Church, if a holy sister like this has to keep secrets, but what is wrong is leaving these subversive nuns to undermine our foundation from within. She’s far from the only one still at work chipping away…

  • Richard Rush

    So, you seem to be saying that Church teachings should be cast in stone for eternity, and in order to assure that, people in the hierarchy should never speak in favor of change. If that were the case, Southern Baptists would still be vigorously defending slavery.

  • Jade

    Right Greg1 and god gave us such strong sex drive so we would be most tempted to do “exceptionally grave” sins. That’s some twisted god you’ve made there.

  • Jade

    Chipping away? More like a chainsaw. Taking down a big rotten diseased tree tho. That needs to happen.

  • Jasen

    Many of these comments reflect the same vain as the Pharisees/ Sadducee criticizing Jesus and his followers in regards to picking grain heads on the Sabbath. Another example; the criticism Jesus received for sitting down to eat with those his society at large considered vile/the most grievous sinners. The leaning on doctrine and “Church authority” leaves little room for radical love and grace. Love and Grace which is the cornerstone of the “Author and PERFECTER of the faith” Jesus. Do not be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good. Read statistics about LGBT suicide and homelessness. Jesus did not come for the righteous but those who struggle! Which I interpret to mean if you have it all together, which many of these comments seem to imply, then you have no need of Jesus which is just arrogance and folly. To say that these individuals SHOULD be celibate to receive higher rewards is simply arrogance. That decision is between the individual and God. A sinners humble thoughts.

  • Dominic

    The Catholic Faith is not in the same league as the Southern Baptists. It has the grace of infallibility on matters of faith and morals…..so many things cannot change. The nun has no reason to hide in the shadows, it implies disobedience.

  • Dominic

    God is not twisted, man is. The sexual appetite is necessary for reproduction of the species, and only man has been able to corrupt this drive in unimaginable ways. Our free will and conscious are supposed to align with the natural laws God gave us. If we decide otherwise, well, look around at what man has done with the sex act. Pretty disgusting.

  • Jade

    Dominic that makes no sense what you say. If you believe god made everything then god is to blame for man being twisted or able to be twisted. So then, god has to be “Pretty disgusting”, don’t you agree?

  • Dominic

    Do I agree? Let me see.
    I’m gonna say “No” to that question.

    First, God did create everything….except sin. Man is His only creature with reason, choice, and individuality. If God wanted robots, He would have constructed us so, and no Revelation of His existence would have been necessary. God wants us to want to act as He asks us, not act against Him. Sin is the corruption of good, tempting and desired because of its false allure. We propagate it, not God.

  • Greg1

    Andrew: Our duty in this life is to focus on Christ, turn to him, and trust in his mercy. We are, however, required to do our best, within the situations, and graces that we find ourselves, and have been given. Saint Faustina was given a tour of hell, and it was not pretty. It is worth a read:
    http://www.divinemercysunday.com/vision.htm

  • Jade

    Well then you are wrong Dominic. If your god didn’t create everything then your god isn’t the one god and everything you believe comes crashin down. Any flaw we have must have been caused by the Creator. So either your god takes the blame for the twisting and the twistability and the twist torque or you need to drop the god belief.

  • Jade

    Dominic you can twist your beliefs all you want to try to explain what you have to know they are wrong about but then they are just twisted as well as wrong.

  • Dominic

    Jade, believe as you like, but God is not the reason for your twisted logic…. you are, for you feel as though you have outwitted Him.
    Talk to God about this, not me.

  • Jane

    Love in action. Thanks, Sr. M, for your faithfulness.

    ~ J

  • Jade

    Dominic your response is wrong. You merely saying my logic is twisted does not make it so. Since you have no argument content, my statement stands.

    If your god didn’t create everything then your god isn’t the one god and your god belief is wrong. Any flaw we have must have been caused by the Creator.

    So either your god takes the blame for the twisting and the twistability and the twist torque or you need to drop the god belief. Try it. You’ll be stronger.

  • Jade

    Your Christ is you say a god and has everything he wants so why should we do anything at all for him? If he’s so good why should we need to ask him for anything? And if he’s perfect, then why did he make us in need of so much? I’d say your god isn’t.

  • Jade

    Actually it’s a great analogy.

  • Jade

    No it implies justified fear of wicked powerpeople.

  • Josh C.

    We need more Sister Monicas in this world.

  • Josh C.

    Jesus was a subversive. Your attitude is that of the Pharisees.

  • Greg1

    Jade, God created everything. All things exist because of Him. Some things have established order, others are free to choose. So yes, God created choice for man. Humans can stay within his Order, or choose to separate from his rightful Order, and that separation is indeed held in existence by Our Lord. In this life, that separation is called Atheism, in the eternal life, it is called Eternal Hell.

  • Vasco

    Certainly Sr Monica seems to have the best of intentions. But like other commenters, her pastoral concern must be in line with church teachings. To be giving false teaching would be totally contrary to her vows and would do more damage than good.
    Jade, I understand from yr posts you have many questions about the existence of God, not just what the Catholic Church teaches. “Sin” is not something created but is a choice. I suggest some further reading at Catholic websites such as Catholic Answers who provide a depth of resources on such questions about the existence of God. To try to address your comment about the existence of God – despite being a faithful catholic myself I can’t prove to you scientifically that God exists – if anyone could we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But equally no one can prove he doesn’t. So I encourage you to open your heart and mind to all possibilities. Thomas Aquinas a catholic theologian has written what is known as the Summa Theologica

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