miraculously marvelous ME

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 01, 2007

Boston College recently hosted a panel discussion titled "Called to Be Catholic: Practices that Nourish Women's Spirituality." Alumna Kate Carter shared.

[Carter] referenced author Sue Monk Kidd's idea of the "feminine wound," which asserts that merely being born female puts women at a disadvantage and renders them inferior. "I really internalized that idea as a child. I didn't trust my instincts, I doubted myself deeply, and I didn't trust the authority of my own experiences," said Carter.

Ye shall not surely die. For God knoweth that in the day ye eat of your experiences, then shall your eyes be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Referring to herself as a "lifelong Catholic girl in recovery," Carter said she constantly served others before herself until working in impoverished areas here and overseas in her 20s opened her eyes to the life she was leading. "I began to look at the world through the eyes of these people, and not the top-down authority I had been viewing myself through."

Uh oh. I sense a Subaru-sized bumper-sticker coming on ...

Carter began to question the structures [thunk!] that she had put so much faith into in the past, and the internal doubts telling her she was never good enough began to be challenged in a battle that she still fights today. There are three areas she focuses on to protect her "internal sacredness": personal solitary practices, activities in the community, and constructive practices.

That's all fine Kate, but what about YOUR needs?

Carter said, she tries to center herself at least once a day or on the task at hand. By doing something mindfully and fully immersing herself in her present actions, Carter keeps herself present in her emotions and learns from them.

Yes that's wonderful, Kate, but what about YOUR needs?

She also tries to rest when she can. "I'm trying to exercise the spirituality of 'no,'" said Carter. She finds holiness in rescinding her need to be responsible for everything and taking time to take care of herself.

We're deeply edified, Kate, but what about YOUR needs?

Carter also finds herself guilty of being an "over-giver." After talking with friends, she realized she never let herself receive because she was scared of the vulnerability produced by being open to others. "I need to know interdependence, so I don't always have to be in control. My gifts are more authentic out of that place."

Enough of that, Kate. Tell us something about YOU.

Within her community, Carter is actively involved in her ministry and small groups of women, not all Catholic. Although she loves her church, it cannot nourish her in the ways other women can, although she hopes that will change in the future.

And could you explain to Catholic women at Boston's Jesuit university how the Church needs to change?

"In my women's groups, I feel that my whole self is welcome, not just the pieces the church acknowledges," said Carter.

Outstanding. Gotta love a gal doing her darndest to "get beyond" a shallow narcissistic world-view and into a really, really comprehensive solipsism. The word "catholic," I believe, comes from a Greek root meaning "it's nobody else's business how I decide what's best for me."

During a casual discussion some years ago, with no intention of being funny, a friend once off-handedly remarked, "My mother didn't have time to have needs." The phrase has a certain aphoristic finality to it, and it stuck with me. Viewed against the backdrop of social history, it's clear that one needs a modicum of leisure to become aware that one is unleisured, and an extraordinary degree of leisure to arrive at the conviction that human desires for personal satisfaction are human necessities. What was dessert for a Mother Cabrini, for Kate Carter is oxygen.

John William Waterhouse, "Echo and Narcissus" (1903), detail.

Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 19 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2007 3:03 PM ET USA

    Great comment, Hammer of Heretics! You chose your name well.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2007 8:49 AM ET USA

    No doubt, like Sir Lancelot, she can clean a dragon in record time. C'est moi, c'est moi! I'm forced to admit, c'est moi, I humbly reply, c'est moi, 'tis I ! If she had been Adam's partner in Eden, we'd be there still.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 02, 2007 8:35 PM ET USA

    Puke. As a Catholic woman, I cannot relate to this "being born wounded because I'm a female" nonsense. Whenever I read such drivel I have a overwhelming desire to slap some sense into the "driveller." I want to say, you know why you feel small? Because you want to be your own God, that's why. I may be small compared to God, but at least the God I worship isn't small.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 02, 2007 2:49 PM ET USA

    Speaking as a recovering narcissist, and now by Grace, a Catholic convert who, regrettably, once bought into the whole "My Way," "I Gotta Be Me," "gospel according to Oprah," "I'm Okay, Your Okay," "my truth is my truth and your truth is your truth," "whatever feels right," "my way or the highway" ad nauseum mantras, may I say to Kate, and others who are inclined toward the call to ADDICTION to SELF: Get out, Grow up, Repent ... the other name for this "addiction" is cancer of the soul.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 02, 2007 6:14 AM ET USA

    I don't know Janet Baler but I do know a "recovering catholic," Erich, who served as a clinic escort. When the security person got rid of the escorts (dangerous situation developing) Erich and I became friends. Interesting, isn't it, why "recovering catholics" drift towards the killing mills while nearly 100% of "cathoics" avoid them.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2007 7:59 PM ET USA

    I only heard one other person tell me that he was a "catholic in recovery". This "recovering catholic" is a pro-choice clinic escort. He and his ilk attempt to block us as we engage in sidewalk counseling at the abortion mills. I'd say he's well on his way to "recovery". It's odd, though, how this woman uses such similar language.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2007 6:29 PM ET USA

    Narcissus Leaves the Pool -- Joseph Epstein.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2007 6:11 PM ET USA

    Perhaps those of you who agree with the lady and disagree with Diogenes for mentioning her might want to re-read what Pope Benedict XVI had to say about self-actualization last Ash Wednesday. The CWN story is at http://cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=49395.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2007 6:01 PM ET USA

    Aw, come on folks. What's wrong with a little good old fashioned stoning? Has anyone told the Jesuits lately that they're supposed to be an order of CATHOLIC religious and priests? Where does Boston College keep finding these crackpots they constantly present to the young minds paying good money for an "education"? How about presenting someone who actually KNOWS something for a change?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2007 5:09 PM ET USA

    Anyone familiar with the Toby Keith song "I Wanna talk about me" off of his Pull My Chain album?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2007 3:20 PM ET USA

    Spot on, my friend!

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2007 2:58 PM ET USA

    By the way, who ever put it into these people's minds that we (whoever accepts their natural goodness) ARE good enough?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2007 2:54 PM ET USA

    I think you're mixing up the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican with the saying "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". Neither or them really apply, though, since Diogenes isn't thanking God that he's not like her, and he certainly isn't asking us to stone her. What I want to know is what it means to be present in my emotions. Anyone have any ideas? And also, has anyone ever heard of "experiences" bearing any sort of authority? Sounds like she's learned a lot from herself.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2007 1:46 PM ET USA

    Dear JW: You give Uncle Di way too much credit for finding these "wounded people" as you term them. People who trumpet their wounds, their pain, their agony, especially at Boston College panels comprised of other similarly wouded souls still blowing on their freshly manicured hands, are not that hard to spot. Even for Pharisees like Di and myself. Please give credit where credit is due.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2007 1:31 PM ET USA

    Could she and her friends say, I'm not much but I am all I think about."?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2007 11:28 AM ET USA

    No one to blame but yourself, Kate! That's what comes from hanging around the wrong therapeutic model for too long. Get out, Kate! Find that "Inner Male" that exists within every woman like yourself. Seek out your Rambo, discover your Terminator, find your Attila, your Raging Bull! Then you'll know that your whole self is welcome wherever you go, Kate. But, for heaven's sake, Kate, do this without the millionth repetition of the same withered cliches that you use here.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2007 11:01 AM ET USA

    Diogenes...it's called a "mid-life crisis".

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2007 10:42 AM ET USA

    Thanks Uncle Di. I appreciate your skill in finding wounded people and taking their self-centered comments to task! Please keep posting this stuff so we can all realize what we don't want to be. I find this stuff extremely uplifting and beneficial to my spiritual life. "Dear God, I give you thanks that I am not like this self-centered woman. I fast, I tithe, I never think of myself and I never, ever complain!"

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2007 10:37 AM ET USA

    Carter also finds herself guilty of being an "over-giver."
    I have to admit I've never confessed that particular sin. It made me think. Could "over-giving" ever be considered mortally sinful? Can you think of a hypothetical case when someone's self-giving is so thoroughly out of proportion... No? Can't think of Anyone?