FALL 2007

Letter from the Editors:

The impetus for this journal emerged from an engaged conversation among inspired women. Excited by the emerging contributions by Women’s Spirituality students while at the same time aware of the dearth of publication opportunities, a group of students proposed publishing a journal, and opening it to submissions from around the globe. From this early seed germinated this inaugural issue of OCHRE Journal of Women’s Spirituality, a peer-reviewed, academic journal.

This issue begins with Elizabeth Shillington’s article introducing her understanding of women’s spirituality and the centrality of women’s personal experiences to this growing field. Elizabeth’s ability to engage the reader with quality scholarship and heartfelt excerpts of her journey is a testament to the depth of her explorations. Equally intriguing is Annette Williams’ article where she begins to unravel the intersecting theological, socio-historical, and cultural aspects of childhood sexual abuse. As a Black woman engaged in the process of reclaiming her sense of self guided by her connection with the Goddess Yemaya, Annette speaks to the complexities of her experience in a way that transcends a dualistic and/or simplistic lens. Helen Hye-Sook Hwang revives the knowledge of the East Asian Goddess, Mago, and the associated cosmogony in which the female is divine; in the process she deepens her relationship to her native Korea and her feminist ideals while also offering a unique contribution.

Katherine Kunz’s beautiful photoessay portrays in images and words the spiritual values and practice of a Benedictine Monastery in which the Sisters express their devotion to God through deepening their connection to the land. In her poetry, Mary Saracino eloquently traverses time to reconnect us to the ancient divine female. With vivid images and the spirit of pilgrimage, Saracino’s words lure the reader to experience the sanctuary of her experience. Kristin Washington-Carroll shares two moving pieces of artwork. The first explores how our bodies may carry the effects of our personal and collective histories; her second piece gives form to one of Hildegard von Bingen’s visions, embodying the earth-mother-goddess. The final piece of artwork, by Michele Arista, is a beautiful depiction of the Black Madonna, captivating the viewer with a simplicity that complements the intensity of the rich colors.

We hope these pieces invite, inform, challenge, and inspire you—enhancing and broadening your understanding of the vast field of women’s spirituality. We also hope they help deepen your own experiences of the sacred and divine.

Dunya Nuaimi & Tamara T. Thebert