Sr. Barbara Reid said Tuesday reading the Scriptures from a feminist perspective can help illuminate realities of women in the modern world. The Center for Spirituality at Saint Mary’s College invited Reid, a Dominican Sister of Grand Rapids, Mich., and vice president and academic dean of the Catholic Theological Union, to lecture to the community Tuesday about reading the Scriptures from a feminist perspective. Reid began the lecture, “Reading the Scriptures with the Mind, Eyes and Heart of a Woman,” by describing how she became involved in reading the Scriptures from a feminist perspective. She said while she was teaching a course on the Gospel of Mark, one of her students had a very intriguing opinion on the middle of the text. “All of a sudden, one of my students told me to stop for a minute, claiming she hated the passage and would rip it out of the Bible if she could,” Reid said. “I was totally clueless on where her feelings were coming from, so she explained that she had worked in the shelter for abused women and how so many of these women would not come for help because they believed they must take up the cross just as Jesus had and suffer through their pain.” Reid said that when these women finally did seek help, they turned to their priests, who then just told them to return to their husbands. While on sabbatical in November of 2003, Reid had the opportunity to travel in parts of Latin America, where she asked her hosts to connect her with groups of women in the area so that they could converse about their approaches to reading the Scriptures as women. “Many of my experiences with women in Latin America took this interpretation literally as well, which made me think that there has to be a different way,” she said. Reid said she takes a seven-step approach to reading the Scriptures from a feminist perspective. Seeing and analyzing women’s realities is the first step. This includes the number of women living in poverty, the number that are illiterate, women’s wages and violence against women. “If we were to look at the realities of the women in our world, in general, these are realities that describe the way that it is for most women in the world,” she said. “These are just a few of the struggles and difficulties that many women in our world face on a daily basis.” Reid said the next steps include critical inquiry, critical evaluation, remembering and reconstruction, creative imagination and transformative action. The final step is seeing female images of God in the Scriptures. Reid said she believes there are many signs of hope and joy for women, and said she is very enthusiastic about reading the Scriptures through a feminist perspective. “The whole world is turning its eyes toward the reality of women,” she said.
As students cram for midterms in libraries, study spaces and dorm rooms, some students opened cardboard boxes and grabbed their favorite board games to play with their friends and peers. They gathered to take a break from studying and to learn and inform students about the Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO).Co-chair of the Green Dot committee for BAVO, junior Meghan McNamara talked about how BAVO changed the event to fit better to what they felt the student body needed.“It was supposed to be like a human life-size Game of Life and then we were going to have facts about what BAVO does, but with midterms and everything we did not want it to be too stressful and big,” McNamara said. “We thought it would be a nice break for people to just come and play games.”Students attended for a variety of reasons, including to relax.“I’m here to de-stress and also hang out with these cool ladies,” junior and BAVO member Jordan Gilchrist said.Others hoped to inform the Saint Mary’s community about BAVO’s mission.“I am here to play board games and to de-stress, but also to take the opportunity to educate others about BAVO and what we stand for,” junior Audrina Massey and BAVO member said.BAVO offered prizes for the winners, a variety of stickers, handouts and information about what BAVO does.McNamara said that Green Dot is a subcommittee of BAVO that focuses on bystander intervention. The event highlighted some of the new initiatives this year, under the new leadership of Liz Coulston.“[Coulston] is really trying to go towards the sisterhood and do more events that are inclusive,” McNamara said. “She wants BAVO to be known on campus, and she is doing a really good job at planning events that people want to go to and are better and interesting.”This event focused less on addressing sexual assault on campus and more on building community and reestablishing BAVO’s place on campus, McNamara said, though BAVO is still involved in issues surrounding sexual assault and relationship violence.“We are trying to be inclusive and there for everyone,” McNamara said. “It does not always have to be hard topics or all the time. We are trying to be inclusive and understand the stress that students are going to be feeling and give them a place to release it in public, and still give them the opportunity to learn about BAVO.”McNamara said that BAVO’s objective of building sisterhood and support extends beyond helping victims of violence, and towards building a community between all of Saint Mary’s women.“We are giving [the students] different ways to meet new people, or to connect with people, to strive and to learn new things,” McNamara said. “This is just people being there for each other and we are giving them different ways to look out for one another.”BAVO is hosting an event at Tuesday’s soccer game to raise awareness for Domestic Violence Awareness Month and encourages all to show up and wear purple in support of victims of domestic abuse. They are also hosting a candlelit yoga event Wednesday.Tags: BAVO, Belles Against Violence Office