Cassidy Klein (she/her) is a writer who lives with artists and Catholic Sisters in a Chicago community called The Fireplace. She first joined Sojourners in Fellowship Cycle 37 after graduating from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego where she studied journalism and philosophy. During her time in college, she was radically influenced by liberation theology, Catholic social teaching, and the writings of James Cone and Dorothy Day. Listening to others’ stories has helped her realize that the practice of her Christian faith cannot be separated from the pursuit of a just world where we live in solidarity and encounter Christ in the Other.
During her final year of undergrad, Cassidy worked on a project in which she documented the lives and stories of adults with intellectual disabilities through film and written narrative, focusing on what faith and community mean to them. She was features editor for her university’s student newspaper and enjoyed covering religion and culture for news outlets in San Diego and New York City as an intern and freelancer. Cassidy understands her role as a journalist as the role of a listener: to pay attention, tell the truth, and uplift voices other than her own. This year she is interested in learning how journalism can be used to inspire hope and creative change in individuals and communities.
Cassidy grew up in Denver, Colorado and feels most herself when she is writing, laughing, playing her Celtic harp, eating peanut butter from the jar, or watching sunsets from the roof of the fellows’ house. Follow her on Twitter @cassroseklein.
Posts By This Author
‘For I Was a Stranger and You Shot Me’
In a nation built on white nationalism, keeping people fearful of the “other” is useful because it keeps up the illusion of law, order, and control — the foundations of white supremacy. Crime protection is now the dominant reason people own guns. Samuel Perry and Andrew Whitehead write in their book Taking America Back for God, that White Christian nationalists tend to want a strong military, capital punishment, and oppose gun control.
Yet again and again, Christians are commanded to welcome the stranger and be not afraid. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,” the author writes in Hebrews 13:2. “For by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
The Queer Orthodox Artist Seeking to ‘Make the World an Altar’
ACCORDING TO AN Orthodox miracle story, St. Nicholas — the fourth century archbishop who inspired the figure of Santa Claus — quieted a raging sea. When sailors were caught in a storm on the Mediterranean, they called out for help. Nicholas appeared, walking on the waves before them. He blessed the ship, and the storm calmed. This is why he became the patron saint of sailors. It’s also why Mary Marza, a queer Orthodox artist in her mid-20s who is based in Los Angeles, illustrated St. Nicholas as a “waterbender.” Waterbenders, from the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, can control water and its movements. This is one of many works featured on her Instagram art account, Art of Marza.
“I liked the concept of blending saints with the elements or just blending the saints with things from my favorite stories and pop culture,” Marza wrote in an Instagram caption about this portrayal of St. Nicholas.
Marza (who asked to use her art account name instead of her real last name for this article) creates digital art and stickers that blend Orthodox iconography and prayer with street art and anime. The grungy, graffiti-and-animation-inspired aesthetic of her art and its confluence with iconography is part of her longing to “[see] God in places where people assume we can’t find Him,” she wrote on Instagram.
‘Unruly Saint’ Explores What Dorothy Day’s Biographers Overlook
Day is who Mayfield looks to when her soul is parched and she longs to be renewed with God’s love “in order to keep going.” I found Unruly Saint spiritually nourishing in this way: It wrestles with the questions of how we keep going, how we keep having hope in our exhausting world, how we keep our inner light burning. “She wanted to keep a flame lit for people wondering how to break the cycles of war and oppression built into our histories and hearts,” Mayfield writes.
Can Fr. Martin ‘Build a Bridge’ Between LGBTQ Catholics and the Church?
The filmmakers tell the stories of LGBTQ Catholics and their families with gentleness and respect. “Nothing converts like stories,” Martin says in the film.
The Mystical Neon Heart Behind @PaperCutPrayers
With his knife, brightly colored paper, and the meditations of his heart, Benjamin PowerGriffin cuts “what prayer feels like, or what I yearn for it to feel like,” he said.
Finding Solace in the Work of the Pop Art Nun
FOR SISTER MARY CORITA, the supermarket parking lot in Hollywood she walked through each day to get to her art studio was filled with “sources.” Grocery advertisements, power lines, cracks in the asphalt, songs from car radios—all of these, to her, were “points of departure” that, when examined in a new way, tell us something about ourselves and God. “There is no line where art stops and life begins,” she wrote.
Corita Kent, a Catholic sister described by Artnet as “the pop art nun who combined Warhol with social justice,” delighted in Los Angeles’ chaotic 1960s cityscape. Her serigraphs (silk-screen prints) wrestle with injustice, racism, poverty, war, God, peace, and love in bursting neon and fluorescent lettering, transforming popular advertisements and songs into statements of hope.
“To create is to relate,” Kent wrote in Footnotes and Headlines. “We trust in the artist in everybody. It seems that perhaps there is nothing unholy, nothing unrelated.”
“She broke barriers her whole life, but always with joy,” Nellie Scott, director of the Corita Art Center, told Sojourners. “People often call her the joyous revolutionary.”
Kent was born in Iowa in 1918 and raised in a large Catholic family. Her family moved to Hollywood when she was young, and at age 18, Kent joined the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who ran the high school she attended. She went on to teach art at Immaculate Heart College, becoming head of the art department in 1964.
The changes going on in both the art world and Catholicism excited and inspired Kent. In 1962, the year that Pope John XXIII convened Vatican II, Kent saw the first exhibit of Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans” paintings and dove into the world of pop art. “New ideas are bursting all around and all this comes into you and is changed by you,” she wrote in Learning by Heart.
Coloradans Carry the Trauma of Mass Shootings In Our Bones
With each new instance of gun violence, creation cries out with the victims. Creation also helps us center ourselves in relation to God when God feels absent.