I am a woman who serves like a deacon. Will I ever share St. Phoebe’s title? / National Catholic Reporter

These days, our church is seeking to find a way to more fully receive the baptismal dignity of all men and women. In some places, there is hesitation to seek the intercession of St. Phoebe, a hesitance to recognize her as a deacon.

By Marie Philomene Pean, National Catholic Reporter

“As a young girl growing up in Haiti, I remember feeling like I lived in a paradise as I rested easy in my mother’s lap. She and our community made me feel safe, loved and seen. It was not hard for me to come to know God as a loving mother who cares for all his children. I sensed that God knew me and called me by name to go out and proclaim his word.  

“By the age of 8, I was serving as a lector in our parish, and by the age of 18 was leading retreats for the Legion of Mary and speaking to groups of all ages. I felt welcomed to share who I was and bring forth my gifts.

“I had a vision of Jesus when I was about 15 years old, seeing him as a handsome Black man who patiently asked me the same question he had asked Peter in John’s Gospel: ‘Do you love me?’ (John 21:15-17). I sensed then that Jesus was asking for my whole life.

“It has not been a straightforward path. I came of age in the 1990s, when the clearest way for a woman to live a deeper call and commitment to the church was through religious life. I spent years discerning becoming a nun — first volunteering with a community of sisters, then entering as a novice.” 

By Marie Philomene Pean, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …