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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri • Page E001
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri • Page E001

St. Louis, Missouri
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PAGE E01MD1EV0601 SECTION EDNESDAY UNE 1, 2005 VERYDAY VERYDAY HEN SHE WAS, as she says, high to a grasshopper, just 7 years old, I felt God was calling He was. No matter how it became in the next 55 years, God has never stopped calling Sister Jeannine Gramick. Not even the man who would become pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, could stop Sister Jeannine from answering call to minister to lesbian and gay Catholics, who she feels are as deserving of a place in the church as anyone else. The 62-year-old nun censured by Ratzinger six years ago and then ordered to be silent is on her way to St. Louis.

And not coming quietly. On Sunday at Nerinx Hall High School in Webster Groves, Sister Jeannine will talk about her controversial 28-year Catholic ministry after a 3:30 p.m. public showing of the documentary about it, Good put on by the St. Louis Catholic Action Network. Rather than be expelled or comply with the order of silence from the Rome of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, who sent the gag order a year after censure, Gramick left that group.

Last summer, she joined the Sisters of Loretto, who run Nerinx. Explaining to a gay Catholic why she the Vatican and remains Catholic, she says in the movie, Jesus walked the Earth, there were no bishops or cardinals. They are not the essence of what Christianity is about. You stay Catholic because the church is the people of She believes sexual preference is no more a measure of morality than race or gender. There much silence in our telephone interview last week, either.

When white smoke rose from St. last month, someone called her. She ran to the television. watched the cardinal come out, and as soon as he said then I she told me. was a long pause, and my heart really I had this physical reaction in my body I felt like my heart dropped down to my What she calls the Catholic primacy of conscience, is what compels her to stay and when others just leave.

She was a good little nun, she says in the movie, I met a gay She revealed her own sexual orientation because she is not the issue. And it matter. But in the movie, she says she had been in love before she went into the convent right out of high school and again once afterward. She notes that the Bible, in addition to saying man should not lie with man, we eat or ordain humpbacked priests. We hold on to that passage (condemning homosexual acts) to justify She told me about her only face-to-face meeting with Ratzinger, which is not in the She had failed to be granted an appointment with him in Rome.

But years later she ended up on the same with him from Rome to Berlin, a year before he would censure her. She was well aware she was being investigated by Ratzinger, who was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. When she sat next to him and introduced herself, said, known you for 20 she recalled. He told her he mind that she arranged Masses in the homes of gay Catholics, but going to other dioceses and preaching against the policies of the Vatican are another matter. said, the bishops invite Sister Jeannine said.

told him, do, some I go to colleges and retreat bishops still act like feudal lords, like you have to have permission of feudal lords to enter their By the way, she did not seek permission from St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke to come here. But she told me his view that Catholics who vote for a pro- choice candidate receive Communion the Her conversation with Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, she said, a human face on this institution. He was very gracious, very kind and had a sense of humor. I asked if he knew gay Catholics, and he said, yeah.

When the pope and I were in Berlin, there were gays So, that is his experience with gay people She told him gay Catholics she met are with faith. feel persecuted from two sides. The lesbian and gay community mocks them for staying in this church that is so condemnatory. And the leaders of our church condemn them. They have to have great faith to stay in the Their talk sway Cardinal Ratzinger from censuring her a year later.

But she hopes that it might ence his heart. Maybe one E-mail: Phone: 314-340-8383 LLEN UTTERMAN Of the Post-Dispatch Despite its goofy title, Sisterhood of the Traveling is a true charmer, a coming-of-age dramedy that treats adolescent girls with respect as it capitalizes on the power of friendship, individualism and possibilities. The cast of young actresses is stellar, and the story, based on Ann beloved novel about four teenage best friends, is thoroughly involving. almost as if director (and Belleville native) Ken Kwapis and writers Delia Ephron Got and Elizabeth Chandler a Girl did the unthinkable and made a movie relatable, funny and emotionally satisfying, with heroines who and a concept authentically portray 16-year-olds. Could this be the start of a new Hollywood trend? One can only hope.

The traveling pants refer to a pair of jeans that the foursome the day before they begin their summer vacations. Although their bodies are very different, the jeans somehow each of them perfectly. They make a pact to share the magical pants. Each girl will get them for a week, then send them off to the next with a note chronicling her adventures while wearing them. Shy, artistic Lena (Alexis Bledel of Gilmore has them as she visits her grandparents in Greece and meets a hunky man (Michael Rady) whose family has been feuding with hers for decades.

Tibby (Amber Tamblyn of of a sullen, smart-mouthed goth type, stays home in Maryland to make a documentary (a as she calls it), but herself Gramick perfectly on this foursome of sweet 16s DIYAH PERA WARNER BROS. The stars of Sisterhood of the Traveling (from left) America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel and Blake Lively portray lifelong friends. YNTHIA ILLHARTZ Of the Post-Dispatch Christine Vaughn was padding around her garage one morning in pink fuzzy bedroom slippers, blue jeans and a black T-shirt that read, behaved women seldom make Surrounding her as she tightened a bolt, adjusted a part and stopped to smoke a cigarette was a trio of men with a camera. Days earlier, Steve Schultz and his crew from B.O.M. Productions of Hollywood, had installed dozens of lights on the garage ceiling and covered them with white rice-paper lanterns.

B.O.M. has worked on of the Discovery Build shows and its goal was to cast a and professional glow on Vaughn as she worked. Her seemingly mundane mechanical toilings were a documentary in the making. Vaughn, 35, who owns Wicked Women Choppers in Herrin, stopped at one point and joked that going to get another T- shirt made that says, this bike make my butt look not a bad question since her motorcycles as big as others (and, consequently, smaller in proportion to the derrieres perched upon them). Vaughn is a novelty of sorts in FOR BABES She builds bikes Christine Vaughn, owner of Wicked Women Choppers in Herrin, assembles motorcycles from the ground up, tailoring them to the smaller female physique.

Censured nun brings her gay ministry to St. Louis Her bikes are made for riding Drop-seat frame The seat is positioned about five inches lower than those on typical bikes. This allows the rider to sit on the seat and have her feet flat on the ground instead of trying to balance the bike on the balls of her feet. The result is a safer and more comfortable bike. Functional comfort A narrower seat and gas tank are added to provide a better fit for a smaller frame.

Better balance The belt pulley system is moved to the right side to better distribute the weight of the bike. Typically the pulley system is mounted on the same side as the drive train. The chopper look bikes are equipped with longer front forks to give them that classic, raked back appearance. Custom fit The handle bars are closer to the seat and matched individually to fit each frame. On future bikes, the levers will be contoured to accommodate shorter fingers.

How Christine Vaughn fits her bikes to a woman's body: John D. Telford Post-Dispatch SOURCE: Wicked Women Choppers How much: $25,000 for a Tomboy, $34,500 for a chromed-out Shady Lady Approved by: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Society of Automobile Engineers and the Illinois Secretary of State (This means these motorcycles have vehicle numbers, are able to be registered and titled.) Getting fancy: Many of the one-of-a-kind choppers being built on shows like the Discovery Build cannot be titled. Vaughn says some of those bikes meant to be ridden, made to be Also available: Wicked Women Chopper T-shirts, leathers, hats, do rags and rain gear. Cynthia Billhartz See Babes, E4 See Pants, E5 REVIEW FILM Sisterhood of the Traveling (out of four) Rated: PG (for thematic elements, some sensuality and language) Running time: 2:00 Opens: today INSIDE TODAY Theater critic Judith Newmark reviews and Streetcar Named E3 COMING THURSDAY the dress code for the local club scene? In Everyday TEAK PHILLIPS POST-DISPATCH Christine Vaughn, owner of Wicked Women Choppers, works on a motorcycle designed to incorporate the pink ribbon that symbolizes breast-cancer awareness. Proceeds from its sale will go to the disease..

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