Ordained Priest 2018

Ordained Deacon 2017 

Kathy Redig

 Franciscan Cojourner

 Certified Chaplain

 Master of Arts Pastoral Ministries

 Bachelor of Arts Individualized: Psychology Major/Sociology Minor

 Associate of Science License Practical Nurse 

My journey to priesthood was nurtured throughout my life, attending Catholic schools, associating with religious Sisters, and attempting religious life myself, until I realized that, while God was calling me to be of service,  religious life was not the way.  I left the convent after two and a half years, six months  before my first profession of vows, realizing that I could probably say “yes” to poverty  and obedience, but that I needed a partner in life, so chastity was out of the question.  Throughout my journey in the ensuring years I discovered that the vow of obedience  would have been hard for me to keep as well!  

I married Robert, the love of my life, in 1972, now, we had two children, a son and a  daughter, each is now married to a wonderful partner and we have a grandson. Robert  has always supported me in everything that I ever wanted to do—realizing that if I felt  good about myself, this would be to his benefit as well.  

I became a licensed practical nurse as I still had the desire to serve others and there  weren’t many other options open to me at the time. I worked on a medical/surgical  floor at the local hospital until our second child was born, after which I became a stay at-home mom until our kids were in junior high school. 

During this time I volunteered at church and school in copious activities, attended  retreats—always on the search it seemed for what that “other something” was that  God was calling me to. During the early years of raising our family, I saw that as my way  of doing what God wanted me to do, but gradually, I longed for more.  

I started back to school in the fall of 1989 to complete my undergraduate work  which I had begun in the convent and took five years to complete, doing two courses  at a time at the now-closed College of St. Teresa in Winona MN and ultimately  graduating from Winona State University, in 1993. Through my studies, I became aware  that many lay women were working as hospital chaplains and I was truly attracted to  this field, as it was a way to do what I had attempted through the convent, but as a lay  woman, I could have the best, it seemed, of both worlds.  

In the summer of 1993 I took a beginning unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)  at a Catholic hospital in LaCrosse WI, in preparation for a year-long residency in CPE at  Gundersen Lutheran hospital, in LaCrosse, earning an additional beginning unit plus  three advanced units of CPE. I gained experience giving spiritual care in all areas of the  hospital. This was a wonderful experience which prepared me well to become a  chaplain.  

I earned my certification as a chaplain through the National Association of Catholic  Chaplains, NACC in 1995. With my certification in hand, I pursued a position. I wanted  to work in Winona MN but our local hospital different have any chaplains. Through  many calls throughout the community, I secured a very part-time position with the local  Hospice group doing spiritual assessments. This eventually led to a part-time position  in Bereavement Care doing follow-up assessments with families who had lost a loved  one. I continued in this position for four years until the local hospital decided that it  needed a chaplain and they asked me to serve. Giving up my bereavement  responsibilities, I was able to take on the additional job of starting the first chaplain  program at the hospital and attached nursing home as well as continuing to do  assessments and visits for Hospice. After another five years, the organization was able  to hire an additional chaplain for the hospital and a bit later, a designated Hospice  chaplain. Throughout these years of chaplain work, I found that giving spiritual care  was like, “coming home”—it was what God was calling me to.  

Additionally, I earned a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministries in 1999, as I was  continually feeling the need to be on an equal footing with the pastors who were  serving alongside me at the hospital. I served as a chaplain in the Winona community  hospital, nursing home and in hospice care for 25 years. I retired from full time  chaplaincy in 2015, but remained a “casual on-call” chaplain for five more years until  my official full retirement in the summer of 2020. 

Through my chaplain work, I became aware that many people felt disenfranchised  within the Catholic church and other churches too. I found my ministry to them enabled  many to feel the mercy of God that they had been missing. Through all these  experiences, I gained rich knowledge about how God was both leading and asking me  to serve. I came to believe that my entire ministry was really “priestly ministry” and that  God was calling me to leadership—through ordination, to be a part of the change that  I wanted to see within the Catholic church. The true and complete call, I discovered,  was to priesthood for the People of God.  

This decision had been coming to fruition within me for many years as I struggled  with the Catholic church in language that was exclusive on both a vertical level, how we  name God, and on a horizontal level, how we address each other, seeing very few at  the altar who looked like me and wondering, “why not?”  

For many years after our children left for college and their own lives, Robert and I  struggled with finding a place for liturgy that didn’t make me cry because of the  exclusion and the need to debrief the experience for the rest of the day.  

This all came to a climax one day when in a conversation with Robert, I said that I  think the only way we will be happy with church attendance is if we form a church of  our own. I looked at my comment as somewhat of a joke, but he said, unlike him, “I  think you are right!” To this I responded, “Then I will have to get ordained!” And as  they say, “The rest is history!”  

I recall a wonderful conversation that I had before joining RCWP with Aisha Taylor of  the Women’s Ordination Conference. Over the years I had routinely answered their  surveys about whether I felt called to ordination. Most times I answered, “No” because  I thought it wasn’t possible within the Catholic church and I didn’t plan on joining any  other church that ordained women as many had suggested I do. On the occasions  when I could throw caution to the wind, I answered, “Yes,” somehow knowing this was  what God was calling me to. So on the day that I spoke with Aisha, I began telling her  that I felt called to ordination and as I did so, I cried. In reflection upon this later, I  realized how much this truly was God’s call for me!  

I joined RCWP in 2006, was ordained a deacon in August 12, 2007 and a priest on  May 4, 2008. Incidentally, after the date was set, I realized how again, the Spirit was so  about this process as May 4th that year was the 50th anniversary of my first Holy  Communion! The next day was my 58th birthday—what a gift I received! 

I served the Midwest region as its first Administrator, assisted with mentoring  Candidates in the Preparation Program, represented our region on the national Board  of Directors’ Circle and served as its secretary. 

My husband and I established an inclusive, Vatican II parish, All Are One Roman  Catholic Church, in 2008, a community where all are welcome at the table. We serve  many “disenfranchised” Catholics, as well as Christians of other stripes.  The name of  our parish came directly from Scripture, John 17: 21—“that all may be one” from Jesus’  priestly prayer the night before he died. I saw it as our mission to be about uniting our  Christian churches because we are all so much more alike than we are different. Since  then, I have become part of a local Interfaith Group that sees this theme of “likeness”  also true for faith systems beyond Christianity.  

After my ordination in 2008, the NACC rescinded my certification* as a chaplain, after  having it for thirteen years.  The Federation of Christian Ministries, FCM awarded me  “Commissioned” status which is similar to certification as a Christian Chaplain when I  immediately applied for it.   

In addition to my parish ministry and chaplaincy, I became a Franciscan Cojourner with the Franciscan Sisters of Rochester, MN. This group of Sisters is  responsible for my entire education through high school, so Cojourning with them was  like coming “full circle” for me. The Cojourners are lay women and men who choose  “to walk with” the Franciscan Sisters by living a more simple, prayerful life after the  model of Francis and Clare and our founder, Mother Alfred. I completed the two year  process of study and being mentored with a Covenant Ceremony in October of 2013.  The covenant is renewed every five years at first and then, for life if one chooses. 

I see all these experiences making me who I am today and I am most grateful for all  of the gifts of my life through my family and friends, education and the opportunity  now to pastor a wonderful group of Vatican II Catholics here in Winona—I am humbled  by this awesome privilege!  

*NACC certifies chaplains of all backgrounds and all chaplains are trained to give non-denominational  spiritual care as we are called to be with people who are not only Catholic, but other denominations as  well. Even though I am a Catholic, I was not called a Catholic chaplain; I was only certified by a Catholic  group. Some Catholics choose to be certified by other faith groups but are all are simply called,  “Chaplains.”    

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