- Kathleen Henderson Staudt
- I work as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the DC area. My teaching focuses in various ways on writing, poetry, Spirituality and Christian vocation and ministry - especially from the point of view of the laity. I also offer classes and retreats encouraging people to explore their inner lives, engage their creativity and reflect on their beliefs about God, vocation, and how we can discern and pursue new ways to transform our broken world. I enjoy speaking of faith in the secular academy as well as reminding those preparing for ministry in the Church that our primary purpose is to love and serve the world beyond the church's doors. I love helping people to grow in faith and to find their own voices, and I also love encouraging them to use their minds. I see no contradiction between these impulses, believing as I do that faith, reason and creativity work together.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Voices of Breast Cancer
I'm honored that my short essay "God's Wounds" is included in a new book, Voices of Breast Cancer. The essay is quite personal and may be hard to read for people who know me well (TMI?) -- I'm guessing it may speak more clearly to people who don't know me. Anyway, I'm glad it is included here. The book is one of a series published by The Healing Project, a foundation established by Deborah LaChance, a cancer survivor who knows the healing value of people sharing stories (The series also includes a Voices of Lung Cancer and Voices of Alzheimers.) I just got my copy of this book. Dipping into it, I am reminded of the true healing power of people telling their stories, something I experienced when I led and was part of a cancer support group at my church, over a period of about 7 years. This book captures that mix of voices speaking honestly about an experience that is both shared and unique to each woman. Each voice is distinct, each woman writing claiming her story in a way that adds to our collective experience of dealing with this disease, and with the mysteries of bodily life on the edge of our mortality, and the intensities of fear and celebration that that can lead to.
The essays are short, arranged by different moments in what I've called "The Cancer Journey," from "Finding Out" to recognizing that "I've Changed" to various ways of thinking about what it means to be a "survivor." There are also brief sidebars about medical and treatment choices. I hope people who have experienced or who know someone who has experienced breast cancer will check this out and spread the word.
The book will be officially "launched" on October 16, which is very close to being the 17th anniversary of my first appointment with the surgeon after my diagnosis. 17 years of life and health, which I recognize and celebrate as a gift. I hope people who have been through this experience or who are working or praying with someone who has, will get hold of this book and pass it on.