Sister Thea was a woman who led with joy, story, music, and a sharp intellect. She was a woman who had the power to speak prophetically against injustice in ways that would soften the hearts of even old white bishops--again and again. Her power was the power to tell a story, to preach without a fourth wall, to engage others at the level of senses and emotion and experience.
She died from cancer a couple of weeks before I turned eight years old. It was another twenty years before I knew who she was.
When I make my solemn profession as a Benedictine Canon next spring, I plan to take Sister Thea's name as my religious name. I see in Sister Thea a bright, strong, gentle, humble, magnetic leader who could tear down any Jericho walls with the dulcimer sounds of her story-telling-and-transforming voice.
Do I have the courage to be more than I am? Do I have the humility to let go of my own weighty importance so I can fly with the wild, light Spirit in whom I put my trust and hopes?