Connection to Ancestors in Earth-based Theology by Carol P. Christ

carol p. christ 2002 color“I am Carol Patrice Christ, daughter of Jane Claire Bergman, daughter of Lena Marie Searing, daughter of Dora Sofia Bahlke, daughter of Mary Hundt who came to Michigan from Mecklenburg, Germany in 1854.  I come from a long line of women, known and unknown, stretching back to Africa.”

Like many Americans, my ancestral history was lost and fragmented due to emigration, religious and ethnic intermarriage, and movement within the United States.  Though one of my grandmothers spoke proudly of her Irish Catholic heritage and one of my grandfathers acknowledged his Swedish ancestry, I was raised to think of myself simply as “American,” “Christian” and “middle class.”  Ethnic and religious differences were erased, and few stories were told. 

Over the past two years, I have begun to discover details of my ancestral journey, which began in Africa, continued in the clan of Tara, and was marked by the Indo-European invasions.  In more recent times, my roots are in France, Holland, England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, and Sweden.  In the United States, my family has lived in tenements in New York City and Brooklyn, in poverty in Kansas City, and on farms in Long Island, Connecticut, upstate New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  My parents and grandparents settled in northern and southern California during the 1930s.  I have lived in southern and northern California, Italy, Connecticut, New York, Boston, and now Greece.

Learning details about family journeys has created a shift in my sense of who I am.  Continue reading “Connection to Ancestors in Earth-based Theology by Carol P. Christ”

I am Beginning to Understand by Carol P. Christ

Elizabeth Kelly Inglis died in 1927 at age 62 from complications of a stroke. Secondary causes were malnutrition and exhaustion.

When I was a child, my father, though he was very close to his own parents and sister, spoke very little about his ancestors. I knew that both of his parents lost their fathers when they were small children. I was told that the Christs were German and the Inglises were Scottish and Irish. My grandmother Mary Inglis Christ was as Irish as the day is long. She prayed to the blessed Virgin and took me to church with her in the early mornings where she lit candles and whispered the rosary while fingering faceted lavender beads. She voted for Kennedy because he was Irish and Catholic—to the horror of my father and his father who had no use for the Democrats. My grandmother sometimes cried when she showed us photographs of her family, especially when she pointed to her sister Veronica, called Very. I sensed that my grandmother felt sad to have left her family in New York when she moved with her husband and children to California during the depression, but I was too young to understand fully. As far as I know, I never met any of the relatives from her side of the family, even when I moved to “back east.” Continue reading “I am Beginning to Understand by Carol P. Christ”

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