Here is the full section from a reading today, Palm Sunday:
“The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
Therefore I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.”
It does not matter how often the executive leadership of Holy Cross tries to retaliate or shun me. I will survive.
I was at Holy Cross yesterday — and it was a great day. I spoke with faculty, parents, students, grounds crew and neighbors. Many people waved or honked or gave thumbs up. The worst thing — to show what an unusually good day it was — was a man shaking his head as he drove by, and he could have been shaking his head about what the perps do or what the college failed to do to report crimes to federal authorities. I feel very confident that I will be there for many years to come since I see no effort by the college to face its wrongdoings. There is always more retaliation, more animosity, more shunning from the leadership of the college. I can handle all of it, because I know they will eventually be held accountable.
I haven’t been active at the Vigil at Holy Cross recently because my mother was in the hospital for the first time since child birth issues decades ago. She’s home now, but without any clear diagnosis. She had severe trouble breathing, but specialists say it’s not cancer and it’s not pneumonia. There is evidence of trouble — x-rays showing both lungs full of some mass, which is assumed to be fluids. But the specialists disagree about what’s causing what, and she’s home with constant vigilance of medical people. No one wants to do a biopsy which would likely settle what’s going on because it would be hard on her body with a lengthy recovery. Before this ordeal, Mom was super fast, always the first one out the door. She’s trying to get back to being herself but she gets short of breath.
While she was in the hospital, I slept in my Mom’s room because I was the one in the family with the most freedom to do that. I’m glad I did.
I’ll be back at the Vigil at Holy Cross very soon. I would have been back on Monday this week, but I had jury duty in New York.
All of this time away has given me valuable time to plan for the future of the Vigil for Justice. I used to have a ten year plan. Now it’s a twenty year plan with some ideas on a thirty year plan. I’m staying with it for as long as it takes. No giving up or giving in. I’m blessed to have had so much encouragement and some wonderful teachers who shaped how I understand the call to work for justice.
Fistula is a problem that affects many women around the world. Usually due to difficult, prolonged labor and childbirth at a very young age, women are left incontinent after damage to their bladders and rectums. Then they are shunned by their families and villages. A small hut is built outside the village where the woman must live. She is not allowed back into the village because she smells and leaks. No one visits. She is alone.
After praying, “How can I be sure, in a world that’s constantly changing, where I stand with you?”, I turned the channel and found a Nova special on PBS about women in Ethiopia who receive surgery for fistula problems and are usually but not always cured. Sometimes when the problem is “fixed”, woman refuse to go home, saying there is no one there for them. The Nova special covered that too and what the hospital community does to help.
They had me from the beginning, with this story of brave and shunned women. Holy Cross has shunned me, retaliating in many ways, and I have to stay outside the gates. They must think I am contagious or smell or don’t belong. It has become a sacred place. Many other women and men know this story too. Using your voice is costly. Using your intelligence is dangerous. But in my life I have not yet encountered a problem that cannot be fixed, and for some reason this problem has called my name. I belong in this place.
And then the college started focusing on my bathroom breaks, when I leave my signs, the signs that are so dangerous and frightening. It really is a sacred place, that place outside the gates. When I set up the Loveable Loo, and poop and pee outside the gate, my heart will be with women who endure much worse, who light the way for me.
Sometimes when I pray, I sing, out loud or in my imagination. And sometimes I am doing it before I recognize that I am.
A couple hours ago, I was singing in my mind, “How can I be sure, in a world that’s constantly changing? How can I be sure where I stand with you?” I didn’t know I was singing and praying until my prayer had the answer. Grandma.
Loads of academic recognition, loads of awards, genius IQ — taken out of class for special testing beginning when I was 5. It means nothing and never really has. There is only life and people and I am not special. I don’t want to be. With two older mentally disabled siblings who are super bright, I know these tests don’t mean much.
I cannot be the only person who prays in song. The question to God: “How can I be sure, in a world that’s constantly changing, where I stand with you?” And the answer is Grandma, and that makes a load of sense.
The College of the Holy Cross is very intent on noticing when I am away from the Vigil for Justice in order to go to the bathroom. It’s very peculiar. The College created this situation by banning me from campus just because I have a protest — which is a FLAGRANT violation of the college protest policy – and then trying to create trumped up bogus allegations of trespass. All this time and for many years, the College never did anything to have the Jesuit perpetrator face federal criminal charges for sex crimes. Bogus trespass allegations against me — and no arrests of the Jesuit for federal sex crimes.
I decided if there is a THIRD year of the Vigil for Justice in 2014, then I will bring a humanure toilet. I own one. They are especially useful in mountain cabins in the winter when the water is shut off. This is what they look like:
There is more information at this website: http://humanurehandbook.com/ Many people paint humanure toilets, so perhaps mine should be purple and white, to honor Holy Cross and my commitment to the Vigil for Justice. Since there are no walls or a curtain, just a toilet, I am thinking I should get a large purple cape to wear when I use it. The Caped Crusader for Justice using the Loveable Loo!
The third year of the Vigil for Justice, if there has to be one, will be lively and fun and new. EVERY time the College harasses me, I will have fun with it. So if the College still wants to focus on my bathroom breaks and time away from the Vigil, I can tote the humanure toilet along and use it right there by the main gate.
Posted in College of the Holy Cross
Tagged Board of Trustees, harassment, humanure toilet, Kevin Condron, P. Kevin Condron, Philip L. Boroughs SJ, retaliation, Robert Hart, the vigil, Vigil for Justice, Vincent F. O'Rourke
A professor at the College of the Holy Cross stopped to talk to me early this morning at the Vigil for Justice and then told me, “You’ve become an icon.”
People are recognizing me in other places in Massachusetts and even two hours from Holy Cross in another state, and there is loads of ongoing support on the sidewalk. An icon? A shy public school kid?
Rev. Joseph LaBran, SJ, provided words for these times during the Spiritual Exercises at a retreat house in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Like these words on a card he gave us on retreat when I was a sophomore at Holy Cross (that I saved for a long time):
“For all that has been — Thanks.
“For all that is to come — Yes.”
- Dag Hammerskjold
I don’t know what is next on this road, but I am keenly aware of the path. All I knew when this Vigil for Justice was planned two years ago is I could not stay silent when the college ignored serious problems for years. Just had to speak up and take a stand for justice when nobody cared about fixing problems. People are surprising me every day with the light they give. I’m not yet grateful for the past, but for all that is to come — okay. It’s an adventure.