Today’s post was written by library student assistant Lia Chen.
This year’s Women’s Voices event, hosted by the William H. Hannon Library and LMU’s Theatre Arts Department, highlighted four women who were Catholic theologians. LMU theatre students performed dramatic readings from texts by Teresa of Ávila, Hildegarde of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, and Julian of Norwich. To contextualize the readings of each performer, Anna Harrison (Theological Studies) provided background on each of the theologians: their works and their beliefs. Following the dramatic readings, Stacey Cabaj (Theatre Arts) joined the women for a panel discussion to answer questions raised by the audience.
One of the moments that really resonated with me was how the actresses connected with the medieval women they were portraying. First, Khaleana Stell, who represented Catherine of Siena, highlighted her personal connection to the following line: “How can you nourish others if you don’t nourish your own soul?” Khaleana discovered a connection to this question posed by Catherine of Siena because as a new mother, she learned the importance of being grounded emotionally and spiritually to oneself before having the ability to dial in to help others such as her child. Despite portraying a woman from the medieval era, Khaleana was still able to directly connect the words of Catherine to her current life.
Additionally, Jenn Robbins portrayed Hildegarde of Bingen and shared that she felt time fall away through the process of trying to embody her character. She described this experience as “spiritual, mind-blowing everything.” I truly admire the work all four women devoted to expressing the texts of the medieval theologians.
Thank you, Lia, for sharing your reflections with us!