Celebrating the Danube Seven

Junia's Journal
June 29, 2022

On June 29th, 2002, seven “bold women” stepped onto a boat in the Danube river to be ordained as Roman Catholic priests. The twentieth anniversary of this momentous event was celebrated by Roman Catholic Women Priests around the world, and Junia’s Journal was there to join them virtually at a Mass celebrated by the Community of St. Hildegard in Ohio June 26th, the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Two members of the original “Danube Seven,” Rev. Dagmar Celeste and Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, were in attendance. The Gospel reading was appropriate to the occasion, as Jesus tells a would-be follower, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks back to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) Rev. Dr. Shanon Sterringer told the assembly that “we are pushing forward,” and added that “the call to follow the Spirit as an ordained woman priest requires us to leave much behind.”

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith excommunicated the seven women for breaking canon law, but as the reading that morning from Paul’s letter to the Galatians reminded us, “If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Gal. 5:18)

Bishop Christine showed us the cross she had made when she became a bishop, with seven amorphous diamonds across it. She told us that amorphous diamonds, which were first created by a team of scientists in 2017, were “not precious, not expensive, but” she added with a twinkle in her eye, “the hardest stone in the world.”