Why Father Aunt Mary?
When I called my niece to tell her I was going to be ordained a Roman Catholic Priest, there was a long pause. Finally, she asked, "What shall I call you, Father Aunt Mary?"
I laughed at first, but then, I reconsidered. Hmmm. How apt.
The name, Father, usually pertains to a Catholic male priest while Aunt Mary is surely feminine . . . a perfect name for a woman priest.
It certainly can't be used in a formal manner, but it became the title of my third book.
Father Aunt Mary...
Mary Bergan Blanchard is a mother, grandmother, author, teacher, artist and counselor who currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her life has always been full of callings, full of vitality, full of surprises.
"Are you insane? Become a Roman Catholic priest? This is the first time in your life you've had any time to yourself! You said you were going to begin painting again."
"You're eighty-one years old. Don't they make the priests retire at seventy-five?"
"The work involved! How long would you have to study?"
"You'll be excommunicated. They'll throw you out of the Church."
"Mary, are you sure you want to do this?
I knew I did.
For decades, I have been at odds with our Church's patronizing view of women. Both female and male were created equal and to God's image and likeness. In the Early Church, both women and men celebrated the Eucharist . . . sometimes singly, sometimes together, although the Catholic hierarchy is loathe to remember and point out that fact.
A few Popes have forbidden even discussing ordaining women clergy again, let alone actually ordaining them, but, in spite of the clamor, I have become a Roman Catholic priest.
In my first book, eu'lo.gy, my favorite quote is "I think the greatest sin of the Catholic Church is its failure to treat women as equals."
It still is and so, a call to action.
The time has come.
I have always believed that rebelling for its own sake was silly, and a waste of time. Striving to make sensible changes is another story. I love my Church and have no desire to go anywhere else.
But some things need to change.
I'm working on them.