A Prayer for My Feast Day

“On the eve of our life we will be judged by how much we loved.”

St John of the Cross

On the afternoon of January 5th, 2015, in a winter-locked clinic … my fingers twitched in spasms, splayed over a steel gurney rail. The thick IV needle was embedded just below my forearm tattoo — grip unable to tighten because of the deep wedge in the skin.

“I won’t damage your ink,” the French-accented anesthetologist assured me, medical-taping the nozzle into place and turning on the drip.

Then (as goes typical hospital protocol) he switched on his headlamp and studied a buzzing monitor, simultaneously instructing me to count back from 10.

“9,” I exhaled.

Already my eyeballs had begun to roll inward upon their own orbits. Seven seconds. My sex reassignment surgery. Every accumulated wish from that lifelong unrequited emptiness within, summarized as a buried dread:  “Why wasn’t I born a girl?” Losing, breath, sinking, last cry.

Throat could only accomplish a coarse offering that barely passed across cracked tongue. Final seconds. Prayer.

“Mary, my only Mother, please allow me to be a daughter of your immaculate heart.” (Whoever heard me, on heaven or earth, I don’t know — as the world disappeared.)

Six hours later barely registered. Stammering  back into light, pain, consciousness, awareness, and overflowing gratefulness that is the return from a taste of death. The first garbled stutters out of my mouth were to repeat that prayer. And then I asked: “Am I ok?” As ripples in the crisp fabric of a nurse’s mask, the smile appeared. Better than ok: my own personal albatross was released.

Every syllable of that petition has been continually reinscribed through contemplation —  please allow me to grow — “daughter”, “mother”, “heart”, “immaculate”. The heavenly epitome.

Mary is my Mother, and I know she has not turned her precious face from me, a Catholic transsexual woman. Worries arise, but love aspires. So with the fresh beginning that is each now, the opportunity that is today — offered to the mother of forever — this for all of life my daily prayer.

Please allow me to be a daughter of your immaculate heart, dearest Mary, queen of mercy.

I recite a rosary of glory on this Feast of the Immaculate Heart, for Love who is Love Itself … in a San Francisco cathedral, the consecrated title of which calls to Our Lady of the Assumption. Assumpta . . . my confirmation name. (Or what would have been my confirmation name. Other I then: the “boy”.) The grieving is still there: I have severe depression, and I struggle, curse, and blame myself in cyclic redundancy.

But, more powerful than these: her heart and the sacred heart of her Son, in both I lay and render my faith.

Pray for us, Immaculate Heart of Mary: please wrap your mantle of comfort upon those currently being told that who they are invalidates them from your embrace.

Addendum (June 12):

Roz Kaveney — who recently (congratulations!) won a Lammy — read this entry and composed a poem dedicated to myself:

Star of the Sea


The Immaculate Heart of Our Lady. Photo by Fr Matthew Schneider (@FrMatthewLC)
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