Hi all! My name is Breanna. I live in Erie, PA, with my adorable dog, Snoop, and I work with the Benedictine Sisters in their soup kitchen.
I grew up in a loving Catholic family in the Midwest that modeled healthy, longterm and fruitful relationships. My family is proud of their Catholic ties, but other than going to Mass on Sundays and celebrating Christian holidays, I didn’t soak in much more of Catholic teachings other than I ought to “be a good person” and I ought to follow the three majors NO’s: NO sex before marriage, NO sex without the possibility to conceive a child, NO gay sex.
It was college when I first began really exploring what else my faith could mean to me: I discovered a world of people who thought about the world theologically and attempted to live in the world according to their faith and spiritual beliefs. I discovered feminism and the ways in which looking at the world through the lens of women and non-male people could change the way I thought about God. And these ways to think about and name God were in such contrast to the ways I had learned about God in Religious Education classes – and it was like taking a deep breath a fresh air. There went just “God the Father” and “Lord” and “Father Almighty.” Here came God the “Loving Creator,” the Creator of all diverse humans and other living creatures. And God the “Mother Bear,” one who defends Her children in any harms way. Yes, these new ways of understanding a dynamic God made sense to my searching soul.
I couldn’t get enough of this… so I chose to study theology. And I focused on the intersection of sexuality and spirituality. Because, despite growing up in a family that modeled healthy, longterm and fruitful relationships, I was still stuck on the three major NO’s that didn’t quite make sense with these new ways of encountering God I had discovered. (And, until very recently in my life, I had never encountered any queer couples in healthy, longterm relationships — but more on this in a following post!) To continue this fascination of the theological intersection of sexuality, gender and spirituality, I went on to study at a graduate level, where I continued studying what I would call “body theology” – a way of thinking that combines how to think about and act with a human body based on beliefs and teachings about God.
And, a few years later, I am still fascinated by the intersection of gender, sexuality and spirituality. I really enjoy teaching outside of the classroom and am looking for more opportunities to do so – especially when it comes to walking with people attempting to discern how one can be both LGBTQIA and Catholic when Catholic doctrine doesn’t always affirm this identity. So I am really looking forward to this whole experience with Equally Blessed and World Youth Day to do so.
One other way I’m able to do this now is through my connections with Call to Action where I am currently a member of the CTA 20/30 Cohort for Young Adults. As a part of this, I am working on a project to bring together the intersection of sexuality, gender, and spirituality for people who are interested in learning more about these topics through small group discussions. This project is allowing me space to grow in my own knowledge and understanding while also creating safe spaces for people in and outside of churches to learn and talk about the intersection of sexuality and spirituality.
I’m really hoping I can use this passion and my gifts to talk with folks before, during, and after World Youth Day in creative and effective ways. I would like to do this by continuing to lead friends and others in conversations about the intersection of gender, sexuality and spirituality.
Thanks for your interest in our journey! I look forward to sharing more of my experiences with you as we go!