Image: Shannon Evans presents her book Feminist Prayers for My Daughter to a FutureChurch audience on September 26, 2023.
A daughter’s prayer in thanksgiving for mothers…
In Feminist Prayers for my Daughter, Shannon K. Evans not only captures the pain of raising daughters amid patriarchy, but also offers a glimpse into how we redefine our relationships with God. A God who is beyond all naming. A God who is beyond human knowing, revealed to us in the beauty of Creation, in the deep sorrows and joys of our fraught humanity, and in the moments where we love and laugh with our families, friends, and neighbors. I most deeply resonated with Shannon’s dance between writing these prayers for her own daughter, for the mothers who have daughters, and for the daughters who need to re-mother themselves in knowing the God who loves them.
As a daughter, not a mother, I naturally focused on my own mom, who has, and always will be, a beacon of faith to me.
Throughout the years, my mother and I have curiously asked questions about the Church, discerned a faith that is distinctively our own, and have had many conversations about the nuances and technicalities of being catholic in a misogynistic Church. When I embraced feminist theology not only as my personal ethics, but my vocation, I watched my mom reimagine a spirituality that is not submissive, but rather embodied, agential, and active. A spirituality that seeks justice and that allows her to see herself fully in the image of God.
What I have not realized until now is that my beautiful mother introduced me to the good and loving God who holds me, who loves me, who desires me, and who sees me for exactly who I am. Despite her own uncomfortable tensions with patriarchy, she encourages me to persevere, to fight and to stay. I think often of my eye rolls and frustrations of those early Sunday morning trips to Church, or her gentle insistence for volunteering in our small Parish. Her steadfast commitment to stay mixed with her own theological discernment mimic Shannon’s own work which she dedicates to “parents who have prayed these prayers in everyday life.”
What I loved most about Shannon’s talk and her book is that it reminded me of how the love of God and the love of a mother, or the love of my mother are so deeply connected. From crying to her in the pick-up line in middle school, from laughing about a silly moment at the grocery store, or from jumping up and down when I found out I got into my first-choice college. Just as my mother rests with me, so too does God.
Thank you, mom, and of course, thank you Shannon K. Evans for your wonderful work and for sharing it with us.