St. Mary’s Academy Grad and Author, returns for 60th Reunion, after Meeting Ancestors of Classmates in Local Museum
Prairie du Chien, Wis.
On a visit home a couple of years ago, with no particular plan, I spent an afternoon at the local historical museum. I was impressed by dramatic murals of family trees that dated back to the founding of our town. The genealogy was fascinating and the names were familiar to me. I’d gone to school with DuCharmes, DesRoches, LaBonnes, St. Jacques, Fernettes. But many branches on the family trees weren’t complete. The women’s names were missing. No doubt some of them were Native American. It was a loss.
I’d been writing Kissed by God: Holy Women Create! - the archetypal stories of our creative foremothers from scripture and history. Tekakwitha, the first Native American woman recently added to the roster of saints by the Church was included. As I learned her story, I saw that her contact with 17th century fur traders and missionaries in the east was going on at the same time the voyageurs and Jesuits were on the waters of the Mississippi, right here in the early days of Prairie du Chien. What a point of connection! I’d long taken for granted the statue of Fr. Marquette that stood on the grounds of our school, St. Mary’s Academy. But now, I was alert. When I did the math, I saw that Marquette could have been in the seminary in France with the Jesuits who converted Tekakwitha. We have her story only because they wrote it.
I think on some level, that visit shone a light on the stories I was writing. Too many women have gone unnamed across centuries of history, their work, stories, gifts, art and writing lost or minimized. I wrote this book because the stories of women need to be told. They didn’t know where their paths would lead, and neither do we. However, our journeys are the same, moving with no map, always on new ground, guided by inspiration, intuition, dreams and Spirit. I wanted to bring these creative, brave women, all of whom lived in times of war, to light.
So my book is more than history, psychology or religion, it’s spun of spirituality and creativity, a love story of women who said yes and stand before us as archetypes and mentors. Their stories invite us to live more deeply our own stories.
Free admission. Books for Sale.
Prairie du Chien City Hall
214 E. Blackhawk
Prairie du Chien, Wis.
Sponsored by Prairie du Chien Memorial Library
Thurs., Sept. 28, 7-9 pm