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I called my dear friend Mary and convinced her to join me, little knowing that I was turning a huge corner in my life. I’d been raised in a parsonage, had some severe reservations about Catholicism, and had some very tribal notions about how salvation worked — and for whom. I thought my inclination to join the class arose from an intellectual and academic place.

We spent several sessions talking about beliefs, creeds, doctrines — head stuff — until one afternoon she sat up straight in her chair and said, “OK, Esther, cut the bullsh!t — we’re here to talk about your heart, not your head. What is your heart telling you?” Everything changed in that moment. My heart simultaneously sank in fear and rose in relief. And slowly, slowly, the layers of armor that surrounded my deepest self began to soften. Sister Jude “listened” my soul into a place of disclosure and discovery. That was her greatest gift to me, and one I try to give to my own directees to this day.

Sister Jude Bloch OP, Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids