True Story: How Women Became Priests in Ireland
Naturally, I had a few questions for Meagen after checking out her Kickstarter page. Here are my questions along with her finely crafted answers:
1. What got you interested in the project?
I have always been very interested in the experiences of women called to lead religious communities. I took Brigid as my confirmation name when I converted to Catholicism in 2004. She is an Irish saint who was Abbess of a joint monastery and convent in Kildare. When I visited Ireland in May 2012, I hoped to learn more about Brigid and saw devotion to her everywhere: Brigid's wells in towns, Brigid's crosses in homes. I am not alone in my devotion to her inspirational leadership that has lasted through the centuries. However, because Irish people tend to be fond of interesting stories over historically accurate ones, I haven't quite pieced apart the fact and myth of her life.
However, while I was in Ireland, I did see more recent history about women's religious leadership discussed in a little article in the Irish Times. It mentioned the slow process of change in women's ordination in the Anglican Church of Ireland. I'll attribute that fortuitous find to Brigid's inspiration. I still have the article. I started looking for books to find out more. When I started talking to others about the topic of women's ordination (or reserving the priesthood to men, depending on who I'm talking to), I found an intellectual challenge and a lot of energy that has carried me to this point.
I think conflict can be transformative and life-giving for religious communities if it doesn't escalate to combat and division. Even though the story is very human and painful at times, Irish Anglicans really give us a great model of how to respectfully address controversial issues head-on. Also it's a happily-ever-after kind of story, which makes me happy.
2. Will you take your boys with you to Ireland for the research portion of the project?
My research assistants will be staying with their grandparents in Ohio and attending Vacation Bible School while I travel.
3. What is your favorite Irish beer?
I actually don't like beer! Sorry, Guinness and Smithwicks. My signature drink is a double Bailey's on the rocks. I also love the Irish Flag which has whiskey for orange, Bailey's for white, and creme de menthe for green. We learned about it from Sean in Cobbler's Bar in Westport, Ireland, who has perfected it. But I haven't found a bartender since who can fully separate all three layers.
I think the perfect drink is reason alone to go back to Ireland, but doing book research will make the trip that much more sweet.
So go to Meagen's Kickstarter Page to watch a short video about Meagen's project and to read a little more in her own words. You can pledge as little as $1 to Meagan's campaign, but pledging more gets you some really cool stuff.
If you'd like to read more about other projects Meagen is involved in, check out the homepage of her consulting business: Farrell Ink .
Just for fun, here is an adorable picture of all our 4 kids together from May 2011. I don't even think she's seen this one before.
Go now, give her some money!