A Beautiful Bond: Argentinian nun ministers to transgender women


The term “LGBT” was recently used for the first time in a Vatican document.

The working document setting the agenda for the Synod on the Youth taking place next Fall notes, “Some LGBT youth…wish to benefit from greater closeness and experience greater care by the Church.”

Sister Monica Astorga, an Argentinian Discalced Carmelite Nun, has been working with transgender women since 2005. In an interview this past June, she recounted a similar desire for “closeness” among the LGBT community.

“For me, God is very present in every encounter I have with trans women,” She said.

“When they arrive at the monastery, it is to ask to feel a hug, for someone to listen to their pain and to show them God.”

Sister Monica, whose ministry has received support from Pope Francis, is not the only Catholic sister working within the trans community. Indeed there are multiple stories of sisters walking with and advocating for this marginalized community.

Sister Monica recounted one story in particular that shows the desire for community and hope among the women she works with.

“One day in January, on a very hot day, a 27-year-old trans girl arrived crying. She said to me, ‘Sister, please tell me about God.’

“After a long talk she asked me to please help her out of prostitution.

“She told me how much of a torment it was to be on the streets. ”

“Now, years later, she has been working in a clinic for over a year and is studying at the university.”

Sister Monica’s call to work with the transgender community came when a trans woman was referred to the Carmelite Monastery after making a donation to her local parish.

Sister Monica met with her and asked about her dreams.

She said she dreamed of dying in a clean bed.

From there, it was clear that God was calling Sister Monica to walk with these women.

She began regularly inviting trans women to the monastery.

She set out to uncover the dreams hidden beneath the pain and abuse and walk with the women in pursuing them.

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