O Lord, open our lips
The depersonalising perception of the figure of the priest is a common phenomenon carried out by both religious and non-religious people. It is the result of two widespread non-declared schools of thought which support the idea that priests are exempt from two features which are crucial in outlining an individual’s personality: interests and mistakes.
On the one hand, non-religious people are unlikely to imagine priests outside the context of the church or any other religious environment, almost struggling with the idea of a clergy person developing personal interests and passions. On the other hand, worshippers tend to discharge pastors from the common human fault, as though strengthening their faith by picturing the priest as a saint.
Being a priest is not only a vocation but also a job, one which requires a most powerful uniform: cassocks, white collars, mitres… are like potential labels, giving us the pretentious privilege of a straightforward knowledge of the individual who wears it. But how accurate is this knowledge? How much is there that we do not want to understand? How much easier is it for us to see the stereotype, compared to the effort we would need to make to understand the real essence of these people?
The two terms ‘woman’ and ‘priest’ are easily definable but difficult to understand in depth as both contain various codes, too complex to be decrypted. Two of these codes are femininity and spirituality, and they are the ones I have decided to explore in order to outline these women’s individuality. The purpose of the project is to stimulate a debate about who these women really are. What are they allowed to do? What not? Are they mothers? Wives? Lovers?
We open our lips to breath, to eat, to drink, to kiss. We should always open our lips to speak out, and we should always be listened. By building deep relationships with my subjects I aim to reveal details of their lives, details which operate as hints of their womanhood and priesthood, of their interests and their mistakes.