Despite her rejection of Catholicism as irredeemably patriarchal, this essay explores Mary Daly’s complicated relationship with her theological past. Daly offers a vision for “boundary living” — where institutional disaffiliation creates a space for creatively reclaiming and reconstructing the tradition.
For several Latina writers, apocalypse as both revelation and catastrophe appears as an unavoidable framework that echoes across time, a framework shaping the past and future whose ultimacy must also be upended. Apocalypses large and small continue, but not all truths are disclosed equally and some endings—and the meanings they should yield—are abrupt but never ultimate.
Embodying the best of the prophetic tradition, the text encourages us to consider that religion, in fact, does have functions: liberation, feeding the hungry, inviting vulnerable strangers into our homes, and undoing injustice.
We contend that in this time of increasing disaffiliation, the stories of “the women who left” in the twentieth century offer valuable insights about familiar Catholic experiences for those who know the pain of disillusionment, who have yearned for holiness outside of the church, and who have sought to reclaim what is of value in the tradition that formed them.
It would be a mistake to suggest that the apocalyptic is just one thing. It is a fecund tangle of symbols, practices, beliefs, and narratives. Yet, as the catastrophes of our times confound our capacities of narration, there may yet be resources in these troubling archives of worlds’ end.