in brief: nun apologises to trans community for damages done by the catholic church
Known throughout the media as Sister Monica (her real name can’t be used at the request of her congregation), the nun is a minister for trans communities worldwide.
Like many women under scrutiny by the catholic church, Monica’s beliefs are said to have ‘radical feminist themes.’ She believes so strongly in supporting people in trans* communities that she has become something of an icon.
Among other things, Monica welcomes trans* people into her home for retreats from the stress and anxiety of their daily lives. Here she will pray for them, and continually tell them that ‘they are loved by God, and that they are meant to embody exactly who they are.’ She also helps people to dress for the first time in the clothes of the gender they identify with, and takes them out to dinner.
People hear about Monica mostly through word-of-mouth. Her support helps trans* people to feel comfortable with themselves, re-identify with the catholic church, or, to find their faith for the first time.
Despite growing up with gay and lesbian siblings, Monica says that the reason she identifies so much with the trans* community is through her own experience. Her isolation, found mostly through her family’s inability to understand her decision to become a nun, has helped her to empathise with others who feel stuck on the fringe.
After years of supporting hundreds of trans* people, and enduring confrontations from others who share her faith, Monica has had to retire. Degenerative arthritis in her jaw makes it very painful for her to speak, and she hates that she is unable to support the trans* community as she once did.
‘I am silent while trans people are being killed,’ she says. ‘They’re being murdered and committing suicide, and I’m silent.’
‘Preach the truth as if you had a million voices – it is silence that kills the world.’