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Queer Saints and Ancestors: Spiritual Practices of Recovery and Imagination with Flora x. Tang

Throughout church history, Catholics and other Christians have turned to the saints as sources of hope, inspiration, friendship, and community. How have queer Catholics turned to a similar spirituality of saints and ancestors to sustain them in their faith and justice? How have stories of queer saints been a source of inspiration, but also a site of contestation? In her presentation, Flora Tang explores how queer Catholics have retrieved stories of queer saints and queer ancestors and guides us through a practice re-imagining the saints and their presence in our lives.

Flora x. Tang is a doctoral candidate in theology and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame, where she writes and researches about post-traumatic theology, queer theology, and decolonial Asian theology. Flora has previously worked as a hospital chaplain, a campus ministry fellow, and a service-learning program coordinator for college students. Her theology and preaching draw from her complex faith journey to and within Catholicism: from becoming Catholic at age 19 after living and serving with Catholic sisters, to deconstructing her faith while living in Palestine, to discovering her own queer Catholic expressions of faith. Flora is committed to reimagining God’s love while standing on the margins of the Catholic faith.

A Queer Blessing – by Flora Tang (2024)

Blessed be God.
Blessed be God’s many names and faces.
Blessed be God in the whispering breeze and the blazing flame.
Blessed be God the mother, who gave birth to the world, and who never fails to listen to the cries of her children.
Blessed be God the father, who adorns himself in glory and radiance.
Blessed be God beyond all genders: God the mother, father, and parent, whose name is simply “I am who I am.”

Blessed be our father Jacob, who wrestles with an angel all night for a blessing.
Blessed be our mother Hagar, who sees God in the desert in times of desperation.
Blessed be the prophets Elijah and Elisha, who swore to one another the oath of love, “as long as the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.”
Blessed be Mary and Martha, partners and sisters, who rested by one another, loving one another from death to resurrection.
Blessed be Jesus in the poor, in the marginalized, and in the forgotten queer names and faces.
Blessed be the queer spirits, the queer angels, the queer saints, and the queer ancestors, whose intercessions and blessings instill a love within us that transgresses all and consumes all.

Blessed are you:
   you who resist, you who love,
   you who desire, you who struggle.

And blessed am I,
and blessed are we, children of God,
now and forever, Amen. 

Download “A Queer Blessing” by Flora Tang