Joan S.

Posted by Censor Librorum on May 29, 2006 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

May is the month of confirmations, and every May at Pentecost I remember my own, at St. Paul’s in Princeton, NJ. As we were getting ready for church, my sponsor came to the house. Unexpectedly, she brought another woman with her. I hope I was friendly as we were introduced. I was nervous and numb, afraid Bishop Ahr would ask me a question I couldn’t answer. Too many times I went outside to play baseball instead of sitting in the kitchen memorizing my confirmation questions.

Her name was Joan. She said she wanted to come and meet me. She had heard a lot about me from my sponsor, and she wanted to give me a special gift on the occasion of my confirmation. It was her own statue of the Blessed Mother, given to her many years ago. The note that accompanied her gift read:

To Karen on her confirmation, May 31, 1965

Most Holy Mary, my Lady, to your blessed trust and special custody, and into the bosom of your mercy, I this day, every day, and in the hour of my death, commend my soul and my body. To you I entrust all my worries and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that by your most holy intercession and by your merits all my actions may be directed and disposed according to your will and that of your Divine Son. Amen

The bottom of the note was signed, “Sincerely, Joan S–“

I never saw her again, or heard from her, or heard of her. I do not know who she was, or what her relationship was to my sponsor, although I suspect I do, now. My sponsor, parents and I went off to St. Paul’s for the ceremony. At the altar, my sponsor gave my shoulder a reassuring squeeze as the bishop approached. I stopped being nervous.

Like a ghostly visitation that replays itself every May anniversary, I see a tall woman with short brown hair smile warmly at a shy and nervous 12 year old in a white robe and red cap. She entrusts her with a precious gift, one she hopes will protect and comfort her always.

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