Catholic around the edges...
A course in Creating a Personal Spirituality
When you can’t go forward and you can’t go backward, and you can’t stay where you are without killing off something vital inside, you’re on the edge of creation.
Sue Monk Kidd
I was there in 1996 ...
To Grow up Catholic
Andrew Greeley wrote, in The Catholic Myth, that many disagree with and disregard Church teachings. They like being Catholic, though; it's their heritage...that nobody gets to take away, not even a pope. There's an independent streak in us.
Greeley also wrote of our incredible Catholic Imagination: Heaven, hell, purgatory, limbo; angels and saints, archangels, principalities and powers, stories of Mary and mystics; the Mass and sacraments and the smell of incense. We memorized and absorbed a Catholic culture that stayed with us and shaped us. It's a reference point we share in the world, regardless of where we are or who we are now.
We went to Mass, sang the songs, stood and knelt with everyone else, responded automatically, not paying much attention.
An awakening is when you can't say the words and feel honest anymore. Your awareness and senses are heightened; you're paying attention.
A seed grows and breaks ground; an egg hatches and shells break open; Life intends our expanding, growing, and wings ...
I studied and created what I needed: spiritual in feminine terms.
Words, rituals, ceremonies, and voices, to feed and free (the guilt of) a woman's soul.
Soul sistering ...
I sense strongly that 2020 is about vision, how we see things; perspective.
January 2020 - 30-year anniversary, married to Michael.
May 2020 - 65-year anniversary of my birth.
March - Unprecedented world events, changing where and how we work and learn, and shifting perspectives.
February 2020 - Cate
Awakened in early morning hours; words and energy flowing, compelled to write:
Catholic around the edges... Cate
... many ... not just me...
A long-ago ministry colleague friend invited my memories with a national catechetical certification project he was completing--encompassing his entire professional career in ministry and life. (It would be several Volumes of documents once completed.)
I was with him in early days; we led parish youth events and retreats and worked on his college essays together. (I would follow a few years later with my own college coursework and degree in religious studies and youth ministry.) Digging in old files, I found a retreat packet, circa 1983, for his project.
My friend stayed and advanced in parish pastoral ministry work; Life had other plans for me. We've kept in touch; shared a lot of perspectives and insights, glimpsing through the windows of each other's eyes, appreciating roles we play.
I thought it might be fun to offer some of that retreat again... And he says As long as it's not heresy.
I smiled; I knew it might be a little outside the edges of official church teachings.
...which is the beauty of Cate -- Catholic around the edges. ... and the two of working together: I can say what official places can't--what is mine to add.
Others teach official teachings... and do it well. I used to.
My work now is teaching what I've put into Catholic Around the Edges. These are my pieces to add, a process of creating a personal spirituality...for life. One that advances and expands along with you.
Keep it Simple and Sensible (K.I.S.S.)
- You can complicate it if you want; research whatever you're drawn to. I did.
Make it E.A.S.Y. (Energizes And Satisfies You)
- I like easy; a personal spirituality for me energizes, satisfies, and soothes my Soul...that's how I approach this subject and lessons here. Is life always easy? No. We all get our share of growing pains and experiences to learn from.
Set yourself up for Success (Happiness, Joy, Love, Freedom).
- These lessons are tools. How you use them and what you create is in your hands. I've provided those that have mattered most for me.
Spiritual awakening starts long before a final roar, when something has to change; and the edge of creation--as scary and unknown as it might be--is better than staying where your body-mind-and-soul can't anymore. (Growing pains.... You remember adolescence?)
For some, it's an unknown wanting for something missing.
The Soul's job is to wake itself up. --Neale Donald Walsch
For me, it was a restlessness. By 1989, I had completed a religious studies degree and worked as a parish director of youth ministry. I was single, in my 30s, and a woman who had witnessed changes of the 60s, especially vivid were Vatican II and the women's equality movement... having spent ten years in the legal world before then, also. I had listened well in college courses and church; I had gifted teachers... and opinions:
Journal Notes | February 21, 1989
At times I’m tempted to leave the church now—not abandon my faith, but perhaps investigate similar churches. There are practices the Church has that I seriously question: ... And then there’s the matter of a priest’s job description. Exactly what does require his “expertise,” and is this expertise only something available to men? I don’t buy it! There are other things as well.
Universal Laws and Truths
It had to make sense and apply to everyone equally... like gravity.
A first-born, I was drawn to religion, especially universal laws and truths, ones that applied to all, regardless of religion, color of eyes or skin, location in the world.
My religion roots are Catholic; my spiritual roots, though, come from a farm. Mother Nature, my teacher, whose ways applied to all impartially ...always. Gravity, doesn't matter who you are, it's one of those nature things that applies to all.
Vatican II changes and the social, cultural, civil rights revolutions of the 60s--and the music of The Beatles and the birth of rock n' roll...influences.
Growing, expanding, birth
Sometimes our worldview and life expands, and we break the edges of our religion...
That doesn't mean somebody is 'bad' or 'wrong.'
Nature's way is to grow, to crack open that egg, and hatch into fresh air. to be birthed into life...
We can't unknow what we know; or ignore how our perception has expanded, anymore than a chick can return to its egg once it's cracked open.
A woman's soul, body, and mind is very different than a man's.
This I know.
June 25, 1989 | Anne Wondra
I’ve never done this before in my life—writing in a notebook—in church—during a homily… But it’s driving me crazy. He’s totally missing the juxtaposition of those readings! How could he ignore it?!...
We thought our religion would last a lifetime ...
And then it didn't evolve with the times, as we had...
I needed feminine soul food; an old story and outdated attitudes about a gender's less-than status and roles was no longer acceptable, tolerable, or just.
When you disagree with your Church and they use God to say things about you that you don't believe God said, because something inside knows, feels, believes, differently, strongly.
Who do you think you are to disagree with your church? God?... the Bible?
And that is Lesson 1 in this course.
A roar of awakening
January 6, 1996; a Sunday night service on the Feast of the Epiphany. A final last-straw moment of knowing, that the men leading the church of my childhood didn't understand a woman's soul...or her safety.
This time, when I walked out, I wasn't going back.
Forty years I listened and learned all things spiritual from men; now I needed women.
I could not learn what it was to be a woman of Spirit from men, anymore than a cat can learn to purr from a dog.
Twenty-some years have passed; long enough to be well-seasoned; grown; know who I am; have nothing to prove;
A perspective that can see how perfectly we are nudged, guided, pushed, notified, with catalysts that compel us to act.
There's love and great peace... and a real sense it's TIME NOW to say what I have to say...
Numbers have nothing to do with how long we get to be here.
I didn't throw the baby out with the bath water.
I drained the bath water to get a better look at the baby.
That Jesus guy, I call him ... like a brother or guy-friend I'm totally at ease with. Some call him the Master, a teacher. He rocked boats, too, you know... both political and religious leaders wanted him dead... And he was Jewish--that loin cloth was a cosmic coverup, and original sin is not part of his religion....
And that brings me here.
If you're looking for a traditional religion class, this isn't it.
These lessons, though, are solid ground that has fed my soul; and allowed me to evolve, expand, grow, and feel free, connected.
It's not my job to convince you of anything. You're here; you're drawn.
Wherever you are in your spiritual travels is where Spirit has led you. I offer a soul perspective and resources, ones those in an official Church capacity can't.
Spirit has led me here also, to offer what I can, to be who I am, to share a Spirit of Light, Love, Joy, pure positive energy and Soul, to this vital part of our being, with you.
Some prep notes
- My intention … to energize and uplift all of us, as spiritual life travelers; to inspire and support our evolving life and creative endeavors; to grow our whole selves; to encourage meaningful, powerful, pragmatic conversations. We have much to offer one another.
- Be kind, respectful.
- Catholic Around the Edges (CATE) was a 4 a.m. inspiration. I’m a cat mom and Catherine was my confirmation name; I took those as signs.
- Whether you’re a regular practicing Catholic or one who can’t go there anymore, this series is about personal spirituality, living today.
- All of this is my work; I’m not representing anyone else. (I'll share lots of favorite resources, though, and credit sources.)
Thank you for diving in (divine … dive in) to this soul sistering, spirit-dancing playground.
Anne Wondra – WonderSpirit
I met Anne at a time in my life when I was experiencing what I've learned to call a 'spiritual awakening.' This may sound like a whole lot of fun, but to me, it was downright scary!
Anne was able to continually calm my fears, and guide me on my personal journey in a personalized, loving dedicated way that I would not have thought possible. She didn't guide me based upon some regurgitated spiritual coaching process or workbook. She guided me through true Spirit with incredible compassion, intuition, and a pure and gentle knowing that to this day makes me feel safe and protected enough to continue my spiritual exploration and expansion. To me, Anne is simply -- "The Wondra."— Heather Blessington, Anne Wondra Feminine Spiritual Coaching Student 2016
Table of Contents
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have access to the course?
Forever! Once you've enrolled and paid, you'll have access to the course material for as long as you need. So devour it all in one weekend or take things slow. It's your choice!
What if I'm unhappy with my purchase?
Well, I would be sad. But if you're really unhappy with the course, just email me within 10 days to get a full refund.
What if I didn't grow up Catholic?
Not a problem. These are personal spiritual-quest lessons, common across people and time. What's here, for me, had to apply to all and uplift the human spirit.
Is this course only for women?
It's for those who are drawn to it. My work was creating it. I'm very comfortable being a sister to brothers.
I still have a question, how can I contact you?
I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Send me an email at email@example.com.