Sarah Amalia Holst

Duluth, MN

Written By Ryan Hoffmann

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January 27, 2015

Sarah Holst is committed to wading through the life-filled muddy waters of what it means to be a progressive, young, female-identified person in the Catholic Church.

Sarah has been saying “Yes” to the Holy Spirit in many ways since high school. A journey that has taken her from the Lincoln Diocese in Nebraska, where she was refused the chance to be an altar server on grounds of her gender, to St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa (where she triple majored in Fine Art, English and Theology) and worked for Quad Cities Interfaith through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development as a Youth Leader and Community Organizer.

One night in her painting studio, during her senior year of college, Sarah learned about the Roman Catholic Womenpriests. A friend was doing his theology capstone paper on Mary Magdelene and ran across the RCWP website. Sarah remembers crying with her friend and hoping that someday they could together share the priesthood.

After graduating, Sarah served as a Jesuit Volunteer in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest for two years. These years were spent learning about her privilege and living into relationship teaching, coaching and driving the school bus on the Crow Indian Reservation and serving at an affordable café’ and working for the Homeless Bill of Rights in Old Town Portland, Oregon. Highlights from those years include watching the sunset on the chapel steps after the Easter Vigil mass in Hays, Montana and sharing an orange with a young friend and a reservation dog, thinking, “Yeah, Christ is risen.”

After JVCNW, Sarah moved to Santa Paula, California to work with the Abundant Table Farm Project. Sarah experienced this year as all of the different pieces of her life composting into one comprehensive calling. Sarah started attending The Catholic Church of the Beatitudes with Womenpriests Jeannette Love and Suzanne Dunn, and was so thankful to finally be able to answer, “Yes” to the question, “Are you called to the priesthood?”

During her time in California, Sarah worked as a sort of Community Garden Chaplain in a restorative justice gang-reduction program in Oxnard. Here she deeply experienced values and lessons about listening: to God through one another, ourselves, and the natural world. Sarah was so enlivened and affirmed by Elizabeth Johnson’s call at the 2014 National Convention to imagine and live into a Theology where God’s Grace is large enough for bears, kale, worms and beyond. Sarah deeply believes that by partnering the Liturgical Year with the natural cycle of seasons, we can be a watershed people of faith, responding to the climate crisis and crises of oppression and injustice by re-writing and re-weaving our stories in an interconnected, Trinitarian, and relational web. Halfway through the year with the farm, Sarah began facilitating and serving as the Liturgical Artist at the Abundant Table Farm Church. When the church received a grant, she helped to vision and seed other small-faith communities, asking “What kind of spiritual community are you seeking?”

Sarah recently got married and is in the middle of a Pilgrimage of Calling with her partner Nathan. (You can read about their pilgrimage of gathering mentors, learning about the Black Freedom movement, and integrating art and song into their prayer life at askthebeasts.wordpress.com.) They will be interning with Spiritus Christi in Rochester, New York during lent. After Easter, they will be settling in Duluth, MN where Nathan hopes to work as a Youth Director and Sarah will continue her journey to RCWP.

Sarah also works as an illustrator where she experiences God working through her to convey how life in its infinite variety deeply collaborates. “Painting and drawing is a way that I know God and She knows me.” (Recent work “Chesler Park” included.) Sarah also has been working with 20/30 member Katie Jones to facilitate Theology Book Discussions for the 20/30 Community on Google Hangout.