The Room Where We Support Each Other, Part 2 by Carol P. Christ

Last week, In the Room of Undressing where women strip themselves to the bone, my great-great-grandmothers on my father’s side spoke in me. I had been afraid they would judge me for not being a wife and mother like they were, but they did not.

The story continues with my great-great-grandmothers on my mother’s side.

Ingrid Mattsdottor, born 1829, Överhogdal, Jämtlands Län, Sweden, died 1918, Kansas City, Missouri, proprietor of a boarding house, mother of five daughters:

I was the oldest of eight children. Our father died when I was eleven. At sixteen I was sent to work as a servant in a village far from home. I stayed for six years. After that, I worked for two years on a farm in our village. I was twenty-nine, and wondering if I would be an old maid, when Olof and I married. Our five daughters came quickly. I knew a lot more about work and children he did, so I took charge. When the crops failed all over Sweden for two years running, I said enough was enough. As soon as our last daughter was born, I sold the farm, and we left for America.

Iowa was worse than Sweden. Our little Carin died the first year. Olof gave Ingrid to a wealthy Swedish couple without so much as a word to me. He kept talking about going back to Sweden. One day he took the money I set aside and bought his ticket.

By the time he came back for us, Anna, Sarah, Belle, and I had moved to Kansas City. I was running a boarding house. I told Olof that we had no intention of going back to Sweden with him. When Anna married, instead of moving out, she brought her husband and his children to live with us. Belle became quite the business woman and took over my role as provider. Sarah and her family were always close by.

I worked as hard as any man and Belle did too. “Far better off on our own,” we would often say. We are proud to have another strong woman in our family. I am sorry you didn’t get to meet Belle. You would have liked her.

Continue reading “The Room Where We Support Each Other, Part 2 by Carol P. Christ”

Feminism, Friends, and Faith by Michele Buscher

Michele BuscherAlmost a year ago, I contributed my first post to this blog.  I wrote about the struggles I had encountered mostly during my time pursuing my PhD in Religious Studies.  Reflecting on my experiences helped me realize the impact women have had on my successes and how their support during my failures meant everything.

Now, I’m reflecting on a similar theme but with particular attention to my friendships with women.  Certain events that have taken place over the past few days have helped shed light on these friendships and how the dynamic I have with two women, in particular, has shaped my personhood, helped my continued pursuit to define what feminism means to me, resulting in a spiritual, faithful experience.   Continue reading “Feminism, Friends, and Faith by Michele Buscher”

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