NORTHBROOK, Illinois (RNS) Her whole life, Susan Vaickauski felt an internal struggle.
But earlier this summer, as Vaickauski lay prostrate at the foot of the altar of a church in the Chicago suburbs, while friends, family and supporters sang the litany of the saints over her, that struggle disappeared.
In its place, she said, she felt “this overwhelming sense of peace and just God saying, ‘Yes, this is exactly what I was asking of you. This is where I want you to be. This is what I want you to do.’ It’s this feeling of knowing you did what’s being asked of you.”
What she felt God asking her to do — what she always has felt God calling her to do, she said — was to become a Catholic priest, a vocation that has been barred to women.
She answered that call on Saturday, June 11, when she was ordained to the priesthood by Roman Catholic Womenpriests, an international movement to prepare, ordain and support female priests.
Vaickauski’s ceremony was held at a Protestant church, as the Roman Catholic Church officially does not recognize these ordinations. It follows the tradition that priests are modeling Jesus and that the 12 men he called as his apostles — the first priests — were all men. The movement to ordain women priests, however, maintains its bishops continue in the same apostolic succession since its first female priests were ordained by Roman Catholic bishops.