Sister Jan retired from teaching nine years before, but continued visits to the high school where she taught Reproductive Health for forty-three years.
Talking with the young students and hearing their concerns contrasted with increasing pressure to roll back reforms, and it gnawed at her conscience. Her church and its priests, who once looked away on matters oppositional to official dogma if it helped people, pursued a contrarian oppressive agenda with aggression, implemented through militant bishops seeking a greater role in secular American governance.
At 74, Sister Jan cared not about the edicts of bloviated Church leaders ordered from sanitised, agenda-filled offices, she cared about the young people coming of age. America needed health care reform, beginning with a need for coverage for everyone. The country needed wise reproductive health policy. Even if the Church opposed contraceptives use, she found inexcusable bishops speaking against overall reform because it mandated contraceptives coverage.
She prayed a thank you to God for the Internet Age. Instead of sitting idled and silent in her retired years, it enabled a different kind of support and a different form of leadership. For too long, her Church silenced the voices of women, and she believed now, to our peril.
(Authors digression: The Singing Nun left the order and recorded a song called “Glory Be To God For The Golden Pill” which I’ve been unable to locate online. A lesbian, she comes about as close to the vision in my head as anyone else on this planet. You can read more here: Songfacts: The Singing Nun
You can watch a representative video here. )
A ready-made petition format formed up as fast as her new WordPress blog. Her next acts of Church disobedience, opening YouTube and Twitter accounts, would follow. Nuns for Contraceptives Coverage read the petition title, distributed by the extensive network of the host site. Instructions encouraged petition signers to email others, post to Facebook, and spread the word.
The high-definition webcam installed with ease, but she struggled for hours articulating and recording her statement before it distilled to two minutes of on-message candour.
“We reject the statement by bishops opposing contraceptives inclusion in health care,” the video statement began.
To be continued…