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In this Lavender Lunch, Roman Catholic Sisters Grace Surdovel, IHM, Sue Becker, RDC, Jeanne Christensen, RSM, and Mary Kay Dobrovolny, RSM, discuss their recently-published anthology Love Tenderly: Sacred Stories of Lesbian and Queer Religious (New Ways Ministry, 2021).
Join these women as they discuss their lives and this anthology, which contains essays written by twenty-three vowed women religious who embrace their sexual identity as lesbian or queer. In telling their stories of self discovery and acceptance, these religious sisters explore questions related to vowed life, falling in love, and advice they would give to a lesbian or queer woman considering religious life today.
Sister Grace Surdovel, IHM, is a 31-year member of the Sisters of IHM in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Grace served as the editor of Love Tenderly: Sacred Stories of Lesbian and Queer Religious, and currently ministers as a member of the graduate faculty in the School of Education at Wilkes University in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. Before coming to Wilkes, Grace was a high school art and technology teacher in schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Sister Sue Becker, RDC, has been a Sister of the Divine Compassion off and on for 60 years. In addition to maintaining a small psychotherapy practice, Sue is the Interfaith Chaplain at a local university. Since September 2020 she has been a member of the Congregational Leadership Team for her order.
Sister Jeanne Christensen, RSM, has been a Sister of Mercy of the Americas since 1961. She is a justice advocate against human trafficking engaged in education and advocating in order to address this terrible tragedy. Currently living, in Omaha, Nebraska, Jeanne had previously lived and ministered in Kansas City, Missouri, where she was the last Sister of Mercy in residence. The Sisters of Mercy had served the Kansas City community since 1887. She is currently relocating to be closer to her religious community, and she acknowledges the challenges of maintaining her relationships with other LGBTQ friends via long distance. In her story she shared how valuable these relationships are to her.
Sister Mary Kay Dobrovolny, RSM, has been a Sister of Mercy of the Americas since 1991. She has recently relocated to the US/Mexico border in southern California; she also serves as a vocation minister for her congregation.