Faith and justice are deeply intertwined. Jesus, who had an ability to be both a humble, down-to-earth person while also being a voice who spoke truth to power, is the ultimate model of this relationship between faith and justice. Jesus was also a healer, and as a registered nurse, I love to imagine the intimate moments that Jesus shared with people when healing them. I’ve been incredibly privileged to get to be with people in some of their most stressful moments in life. Nurses frequently see patients in their most vulnerable state, and have an incredible opportunity to be with and lift people up in those moments. I’ve worked in community health during my short four years as a registered nurse, and I’m constantly amazed by the ways in which community health clinics live out their mission of caring for and welcoming the most vulnerable – for example: transgendered patients, the undocumented, pregnant teenagers, etc.
It’s often hard for me to reconcile that the religion I practice is not as welcoming as the clinic that I work in – even though it often claims to be. I dream of a church which truly lives the mission it preaches – that all are welcome and celebrated regardless of sexuality, gender, skin color, etc. I dream of a church which values me, a woman, as much as it values men. After getting to converse with Catholic Sisters and lay women, I’m saddened that their gifts and talents are not valued as much as men in the church. I hope that the church recognizes quickly how much it is missing out on by not welcoming women into every form of leadership and pastoral ministry, and I hope that the church learns from nurses and Jesus – that all people deserve to be welcomed, celebrated, and cared for.