Prayer for Wednesday

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By Kateri Boucher

Do you remember when
all that time ago
last Sunday
you asked to be held
in the
tension?
Said yes, I will stay in
the tension
And the wine and pita
and big old
orange moon
were your friends
and witnesses?

Well now it’s almost Thursday
and you haven’t even looked
for the moon all week,
much less
seen it,
and the tension feels lonelier
tonight than you remembered
and half the power’s out
and the mice have found the rice
and left a little trail
down to the basement

But even now I suppose
it isn’t too late to crack
a smile at the whole damn
mess,
light a candle in the kitchen,
sweep up the rice,
remember that you asked
to be held because you
already are,
and anyway
it’s just
3 more days now
til next Sunday

 

Sermon: Let Go of the Branch

indexBy Kateri Boucher at Day House Catholic Worker August 11, 2019

Luke 12: 32-4
Hebrews 11: 1-2, 8-19
Wisdom 18: 6-9

Some of you may have heard the story about the man who was being chased by a tiger and falls off a cliff. Luckily he catches a branch and is hanging there from it, trying to figure out what to do. In desperation he cries out, “If there’s a God up there, I’ll do anything if you’ll save me!” Suddenly a voice booms down from the heavens, “This is God and I want to save you! All you have to do is let go of the branch!” There’s a long pause as the man thinks that over, then he finally turns back up and says “Is there anyone ELSE up there?”

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No words

2017-10-22-10-42-55-1100x825By Kateri Boucher

 

What would the trees say, if we asked them now?
What have we done?
What shall we do?
The Climate Report said 12 years.
Now, even closer to 11.
How is a little body like mine supposed to hold news that big?
The wheels keep turning,
hurtling us all forward, or
backward.
Whatever direction —
unceasing.
And where will this little body be in 11 years?
Will I still be one of the ones who can continue pretending?
The trees outside don’t say a thing.
Or maybe they do,
but I never listen long enough
to hear them.

On the Eve of Hurricane Florence

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Hurricane Florence from BBC

By Kateri Boucher

It’s so easy for me to still think of climate change as some kind of amorphous, future-tense crisis. Something I’ll have to deal with, for sure, just not right now. But what’s happening to our planet is not a future crisis; it is a living, breathing, current reality. Millions of people around the world have already come face to face with their personal nightmares of “climate dystopia,” and many of them haven’t made it out alive. Monsoons in South Asia; drought in East Africa; heat waves in India and Pakistan; hurricanes on the US Atlantic coasts. And here is the thing that we must keep reminding ourselves: those who are ALREADY most marginalized, oppressed, and exploited by global systems of power are those who will continue to suffer the most.

Right now, as I type, South Carolina’s MacDougall Correctional Institution (a privately owned corporation) is holding hundreds of inmates in their cells, despite a mandatory evacuation order from the Governor. For those prisoners, this current moment is a living “dystopia” in ways that many of us can’t even begin to imagine. The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons has organized an informal phone zap (link in comments) to pressure SC officials to evacuate all prisons in the flood zone. I’m not sure of its status right now, but if anyone else knows of other ways to support the prisoners please share more info in the comments.

In the coming days and weeks (and months and years and decades), many many others will need support as well. And looking ahead, here are the questions I’m holding in my heart: How will we find ways to support those most affected by this storm? Can we see this storm as a symptom of a much larger sickness — and what will we do to address the root causes of illness? How would it feel to actually sit with the heaviness of this collective global moment? Who are my neighbors? Who are your neighbors? What would it actually mean to love our neighbors as ourselves? Like, actually actually? What would we have to give up if we do? What would we have to give up if we don’t?

***

It’s okay to let yourself mourn.

Telling my own story

kateriBy Kateri Boucher

Last year for my Sociology senior thesis, I chose to research the interactions between two environmental justice (EJ) organizations in a majority-Black city with a rich and complicated history of EJ work. I had made connections with folks in the EJ movement when I had lived there for a few weeks the previous summer, and I figured that studying these two organizations would be a perfect way to both learn more and get involved in work that I was drawn to. I did some background research, and then traveled to the city for a week to do interviews with members of both organizations. After documenting my findings, I submitted the paper and got a near-perfect grade on the first draft. I was proud of my work, and I was rewarded and praised for it. Continue reading