Raised in a Catholic home, I attended parochial grammar school and before Vatican II, which essentially shaped a modernization of the Catholic Church including a changeover from the Mass being celebrated in Latin to English, I can recall Mass ceremoniously celebrated in Latin with incense burning. I distinctly remember weekly benedictions we attended as school children because a) we vacated the classroom (yay!) and b) the chanting of Latin phrases and the singing of sacred tunes among plumes of incense was intoxicating and hypnotic to a young impressionable me. Nevertheless, in the Catholic Church, it being a patriarchal hierarchy afterall, there was no role for a girl (or a mature woman for that matter) anywhere near the altar other than to maybe iron the priest’s vestments and, of course, the church ladies could polish the pews! No higher it seemed could a woman aspire than to enter a convent to learn to become a teacher at best. So, in my late teens, when I discovered that thousands of years ago there were matriarchal cultures and women held esteemed positions in ancient sacred temple ceremony, I wanted to learn MORE!
|Cover Page of Pictorial Essay: Story of the Systrum|