The sacredness of being seen

From left, Courtney, Sean, Sr. Luisa Derouen, Maxx and Dawn gather to share wonderful seafood in New Orleans in April. (Provided photo)

As my friend and I were enjoying our meal and conversation in a restaurant, I was aware of a man at another table staring at us. Finally, I turned to him and stared back. He quickly and sheepishly turned away. I knew why he was staring. My friend was a transgender woman.

What we see depends a lot on how we look. Jesus showed us how important it is to see people with our heart. Where the crowd saw a cheating tax collector looking ridiculous in a tree, Jesus saw a man seeking something more for his life. Where the Pharisees saw a sinful woman touching him, Jesus saw a woman expressing great love.

Though we are experiencing emboldened expressions of prejudice and hate in our country, a good thing emerging is a growing plea to see people for who they are, to treat them with dignity and respect.

For 19 years, I have had the joy of ministering to about 250 transgender people across the country. Many have never been Catholic; many are no longer Catholic; some are of other Christian denominations, Jewish or "nones."

I have spent thousands of hours with them. In my 57 years as a woman religious, no ministry has so profoundly shaped my life in God as being a faith companion to God's transgender people.

Read the full column at Global Sisters Report

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