top of page

What's with the gorse?

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

Published in The Furrow Journal, March 2018

like gorse a lot. This piece below explains why. It was published on International Women's Day in 2018 in The Furrow, and seems appropriate to post it here on a day when I launch my new Facebook page, and move towards a space that I hope will allow me, and others to be seen as 'Women of God'...

Woman of God

Where do I go to be seen as a Woman of God?

To find a role that allows expression of that

And prompts others to look to me at times when they want

A person of God around?

I envy my husband and his fellow former religious

Their status of ‘former (practicing) priests’

It gives them a shorthand for ‘being into that God’ stuff

And they got – albeit not from all quarters- sympathy and understanding for the huge loss involved

In leaving their priestly role behind.

‘The stone the builders rejected has become a cornerstone’

I heard that line recently and wondered does that apply here? To me – and others like me?

Then realised ‘Well, no…

To be rejected, you’d first have to be considered’.

So, where do I go to be seen, recognised as a Woman of God?

I asked this question once

While within the walled garden of a retreat house

I marched around, fuming at the latest instance of non-consideration

During a small eucharist

The celebrant had handed me the Lectionary

At the point at which the Gospel was to be read.

I knew him – and knew him to be quite conservative-

So, for the briefest of moments I was shocked, taken aback

Unprepared to step out of my long-held sense of grievance.

I only had the book in my hand when the celebrant nodded at me

Indicating that I should pass it on to the very elderly priest seated beside me.

Oh foolish, foolish me.

The Gospel was that of the Prodigal Son

I listened, enraged

Ranting internally that we didn’t hear too much about the mother or daughters in that story

The only women to rate a mention were prostitutes.

Expecting there to be a shared homily

I waited to spit some of this out

But my seething must have been noted

As, Lectionary safely returned, the celebrant moved swiftly on

And I stomped outside afterwards for some air

And a chance to rant and rail at You, God

Asking how am I to live within these walls that so constrain?

Distracted by an old door along one wall,

I went over and - through a crack in it-

Saw the hillside beyond

With patches of gloriously yellow gorse

Returning to my pacing and my indignant fuming

I was again distracted, this time by a tree,

Its branches all reaching for the sky

Many of them clearing the top of the wall

Giving them a full view of the hillside and all that glorious gorse

And with that, came an answer of sorts

‘Move towards the light,

and you will see over the walls.’

60 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page