I have been wanting to write about Sister Jeannine Gramick for a long time… and still hope to do so in future posts! In my opinion, she is one of our contemporary saints (though I know that her humility would make her loath to be labeled in such a way). Her work for LGBT ministry within the Catholic Church, against all of the fiercest and demeaning kind of adversity (she has been officially sanctioned by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), is the type of evangelical work and conviction of truth that will earn her a revered place in heaven and in the annals of our future history. The things she fights for—recognition of equal value of LGBTQ people as members of the Church; recognition of the gifts that LGBTQ people have to contribute to a vibrant realization of the gospel life; busting myths about antiquated perceptions of LGBTQ people that incite fear, outright condemnation, degradation, discrimination, and Church policies that reject LGBTQ people from joining their fellow congregants at the feast table of the Lord—these things will be anathema to future generation.
Without intending to place Gramick on a pedestal of contemporary canonization, the more I read about the saints and about those Christians who are on the path of beatification and canonization, the more I realize that true saints are those people who were not afraid to stand up for their beliefs in what the true gospels elucidate, that they were not afraid to stand up in refutation of higher authorities intent on squelching their evangelisms, that it was only future generations who could look back on those persecuted and oppressed saints and see that they… were… right… They were the true and righteous prophets who understood the Word of God and the desire of Christ for all people to be welcomed to the table. It is such a shame that those saints could not be celebrated for their message of the true gospel in their own time. It is a shame that those saints had to be persecuted rather than seeing their evangelization acknowledged and realized in their own day. But, then again, even Jesus was persecuted and martyred for his deliverance of the new paradigm of the law…
Jeannine Gramick is one of my personal heroes/heroines. She has endured immeasurable demoralizing attacks for her activism, and yet pursues her mission without remorse, because it is the right thing to do, and probably also because she knows that time is on her side when it comes to the revelations that her ministry will have on the future. Her work and her words have already “saved” countless souls who would have otherwise been abandoned and discarded by the Church and by society. The struggle isn’t over, but Sister Jeannine Gramick is leading a beautiful reemergence of light for LGBT Catholics in the world.
The video below is a short presentation that Sister Jeannine Gramick gave for the TED Talks program. It is a wonderful miniature encapsulation of the hopefulness of her mission work. A longer documentary of her life and mission work can be found through Amazon Video (and likely other video media outlets and retailers. The DVD format of the documentary—In Good Conscience: Sister Jeannine Gramick’s Journey of Faith—is also available from Amazon.
For a commentary of Sister Jeannine’s work since her sanction and since the documentary on her work was released, read this  synopsis by National Catholic Reporter Jamie Manson.