Being at Home in the Church as a Woman with Same-Sex Attraction

Letter from Avera Maria Santo

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My Dear Sisters,

“You know you’re gay, right?”

I don’t remember where I was when my friend said this to me. All I remember is I was a junior in high school - at a Catholic school - and all I could do was frantically try to assure her that I wasn’t… what she just said.

My Catholic faith meant the world to me. I’d been baptized as a child, and most of my family was Catholic. Catholicism was all I knew. Unfortunately, at that time, I had no idea that I could still call the Catholic Church home as a same-sex attracted woman.

We’re told over and over again as Catholics that the Catholic Church is home. She is the Bride of Christ, and it is her duty to teach the faith, and lead us closer to Christ.

I find it so interesting and so beautiful that the Church is referred to as a woman. She’s one of us, ladies! Pretty awesome, right? Of course it is! But what I find most profound about that, is a simple fact that I’m sure many of us overlook: she’s the model of what a woman is; she is home.

Women, by our very nature, are able to conceive life within us. Our wombs are the homes of our children for the first few months of their lives! Women then, are a source of biological home in the world. We see that in many variations. We’re all women, but we’re all so different in so many beautiful ways. That home that we are made to create looks different for each of us. For a while, I didn’t know what kind of home to create since I wasn’t sure I was ever going to have children, or even be married.

I thought, what kind of home could I possibly create as a woman with Same-Sex Attractions?

I was afraid! Very afraid. And I stayed this way for years. Looking back on it, whenever I would have this overwhelming desire to be romantically intimate with another woman, I was really looking for somewhere to rest my weary heart, basically, some place (or rather someone) to call home. But I was never going to find it there, and I know that now.

I stayed awake at night just wondering, where can my heart go to finally be home?

It’s mind blowing to me how God will come storming into our broken hearts as soon as we give Him even the tiniest window. Once we get sick and tired of being sick and tired, and we surrender our own wills, our Lord comes in, and He saves.

He enters into that sacred space deep inside of our heart of hearts, our holy of holies, and He reveals Himself to us as the Savior, as the Good and gentle Father, as the Greatest Lover.

This amazing Lover saw me as His beloved. Me! For so long I thought that I would never find authentic love because I found myself more attracted to women. I felt lost, I felt alone, I felt ashamed, and I was honestly wondering what I had to live for.

And then, I opened my heart to God.

My wounds are still open, and I see the Holy Face of Christ deep within them. This is where I’ve found that profound sense of belonging and that Perfect Home.

Home is where my God is.

He’s here, within me, within you, within all of us, and He wants to stay.

The Advent season is all about preparing our hearts to celebrate the birth of Christ, making this the perfect time to do what all of us as women are called to do: be a beautiful home for the ones that we love.

Welcome Christ into your home this season, my dear sisters.

Be that home. You sure are a beautiful one.

Yours Through Christ,

Avera Maria Santo

Get to know Avera

Avera Maria Santo

Please introduce yourself!

I’m Avera Maria, or “AV” for short; I’m 21-years-old, a Bama native, and I am a part-time college student as well as a blogger and writer!

Describe your favorite part of your current occupation.

As a blogger I get to create my own content that people seem to enjoy. I loved writing as a kid, and I just can’t seem to give it up! Honing my craft and letting my imagination run wild on the pieces I come up with is an absolutely incredible feeling. My favorite part about school is leaving. That’s always a blast.

What's one fear that keeps you up at night?

Growing up I was highly influenced by other people. I had this horrible habit of changing how I acted, or even who I perceived myself to be, based on the people I was around. Anyone I cared about had the ability to make or break me, and they didn’t always have my best interest in mind. I’m afraid of being like that in the future.

Tell us about the first time you experienced a strong sense of belonging in the Church.

I felt like I belonged when I first came clean about my sexuality on social media, and I saw how many of my Catholic brothers and sisters lived with same-sex desires just like me. I kept this secret for so long because I was afraid that no one would be able to relate to me. Hearing so many people say, “Really? Me too!” was a profound experience for me, and just reassured me that the Catholic Church gives everyone a home.

Tell us about a woman you look up to! 

I admire St. Therese the Little Flower, mainly for her confidence in the mercy of Christ. I’m the kind of person that will give mercy to everyone but myself, so I pray to one day have that kind of confidence in the mercy that God wants to desperately to give me.

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