Sr. John Says Feature Part 3: The LGBT Community and Catholicism

Kyle Clouse, Rachael Eyler, and Rachel Looker


Photo credit/ Rachael Eyler

Amanda Duncklee, Community Editor

This article is the third and final installment of a three-piece feature about Sr. John, IHM, assistant director of Campus Ministry. This portion revolves around Sr. John’s feelings toward the LGBT community, her role as an ally and her involvement in Scranton’s Big Gay StorySlam.

In recent years, the conversation about the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community has grown, and Sr. John is an active participant.

Sr. John considers herself an ally, which she defines as “a person who is willing to stand up and respect another human being.”

In the LGBT community, an ally may not identify as an LGBT person, but, like Sr. John said, they stand up and advocate for those who identify LGBT.

“An ally is somebody who is educated about issues and is willing … to talk to [LGBT people]. Not condemn them, but to listen to, to try to understand, to be open, to accept them,” said Sr. John. “[Allies are] able to talk to [LGBT people] without prejudice, without discrimination, but to be with those people respectfully as we all would like to be treated with respect.”

Invited to speak as an ally, Sr. John participated in Scranton’s Big Gay StorySlam on Oct. 1. The Big Gay StorySlam is a part of the annual Scranton Fringe Festival, a four day event that serves as a “bold and engaging platform for creative and thought provoking art,” according to the festival’s website

“I was one of nine people to tell a story,” said Sr. John. “Some of the stories were just so powerful. It was a very interesting experience.”

Sr. John’s story focused on how she got Marywood’s Ally Club started at Marywood and her attempt to start an ally club at another institution.

“I tried to get an ally program started at a school in Philadelphia and I believed I was doing the right thing,” said Sr. John. “That was maybe six years ago, and I had to go into their Board of Trustees, which was not a pleasant experience.”

Though she did not win the StorySlam, Sr. John still said she had an enjoyable time at the event.
“That was an interesting phenomenon,” said Sr. John. “Some of the language left little to be desired. Sometimes I wanted to curl under the seat, but it was very good. I think it was great for people.”

Though some people may think that Christianity and the LGBT movement cannot coincide, Sr. John disagrees. She mentioned that there are “some quotes in the Old Testament” of the Bible that may influence this belief, but ultimately, people would do well to consider the New Testament.

“If Jesus thought homosexuality was important, I think he would have talked about it,” said Sr. John. “He didn’t talk about it, not even once. So, if he didn’t talk about it at all … why is it an issue?”

Additionally, Sr. John talked about Jesus’ acceptance toward other marginalized groups as well as Pope Francis’ openness.

“[Jesus] accepted sinners. He accepted prostitutes and tax collectors,” said Sr. John. “He accepted everybody. As Pope Francis said, and I quote, ‘Who am I to judge?’ I love that. When he said that, I wanted to run and yell and scream, like, who are we to judge? So, if the pope can’t judge, then I don’t think we have any right to.”

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Twitter: @ADuncklee_TWW