Peniel August

July 30, 2018


August, 2018

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Journal of An Alien Street Priest:

Growing up in the South, the dog days of August were very real. The weather was hot, humid, we stayed around the house most of the day until the sun set. We drank a lot of ice tea, ate a lot of watermelon, and barbecued. They were days of reflection, and of looking ahead to the coming year.

In reflecting this year during this time I think of our countries psyche  and  my own life.  For me I have discovered within my life, and with  what is  happening  in the greater world similarities.

 I have discovered that my own desire to connect can sometimes become an inordinate attachment to receiving praise, love, and acceptance from others. I often struggle with sacrificing integrity and authenticity to orchestrate attachment to others. There is a phrase from the Henry Rollins album, “weight”, which says: “Loneliness will make you throw your sins away.”

Loneliness eats at our very souls, and I have found I will throw away everything to have a friend, and always it is in vain. The same in our country, we are so afraid we are going to lose the  freedoms and rights we have gained, that we “throw our sins away,” losing our sense of respect for the dialogue of other people who differ from us.

Doing these dog days of August I am listening to the Spirit, and am being reminded  not to fear, to respond in truth and love and to trust. And that is my prayer for others—do not fear, respond in truth and love, and trust each other. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Weekly Meals:

It has become apparent that personally I will not be able to prepare weekly meals alone.  We are asking for volunteers who will put in 4-5  hours a week to package and help serve the meals on the street. Thank you.

We now have two new interns, they are Cale King and Aaron Olaya, Juniors in High School from San Rafael, CA. Both are passionate and caring about people, and find working with us rewarding.

​                                                                                       Aaron                                                                       Cale

 Aaron and Cale.png

Death Penalty Protest:

September 5, Noon-1:00 p.m. we will begin our weekly Death Penalty Protest.  The Death Penalty is in humane, and makes of all of us murderers. Come join us!

We Are Beggars!

Our finances are very low. We are in need of socks, we are in need of money for food, and so we beg, for your support. We continue to minister to 500 plus young people a month through our pastoral care, socks, food, and needle exchange. And so as you reflect during these dog days we pray you will remember us. Please give:

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Pay Pal at

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Warranted Words

April 20, 2021

Warranted Words

Acts 7:51-8:1a

Ps. 31

John 6:30-35

    We are always receiving feedback on all our social media, and on the street,  words like “F…k you”, and really many more descriptive words. Some days there seems to be nothing warranted.

    But none of these words compare to the last prayer of Stephen in Acts 7:59 as he was stoned:

“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” and he fell to his knees, shouting: “Lord don’t charge them with this sin,” and with that, he died.”

    Stephen teaches us that in the eyes of many people their words are warranted, and these words are dealing death physically and in spirit but the words of Jesus call us to love others. Jesus calls us to forgive those who hurt us with unwarranted words.

We can either play it safe: keep our mouths shut or we can proclaim the Word of love in our words and actions. All religions teach the law of love.

    People ask why we follow Jesus, the answer is simply–he has the words of life:

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again.  Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty ( John 6:35).

The Universal Christ has truly risen and speaks the warranted words of loving one another.   And our cup runneth over with the Holy Spirit. Amen and Alleluia. Might we make these our loudest Easter words through feeding the hungry, loving the mentally ill, providing housing and health care? Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Fr. River Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



A Great Sadness

April 18, 2021

A Journey on the Edge–The Great Sadness!

Luke 24:35-36:

“And as they told what things that were done in the way, and how he was known to them in the breaking of bread.

And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them “Peace be unto you.”

Psalm 118:

“O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good:

because his mercy endureth for ever. .”


These past months I have been experiencing what William Paul Young calls the Great Sadness”. not depression, simply a great sadness. Many days I shed tears spontaneously.

I have held the hands of people dying, seen the suffering of people with the virus; a couple of my guys have died violently,  and I see the pain on the streets each day– people sleeping in our doorways. ally’s and parks; many outside my doorway, always asking for food, a blanket, socks, and simply to listen. Walking the Haight most put on a show asking for money, but in talking with them there is much fear and loneliness.

I find myself understanding in visiting with my close friends, their lives are different, they have housing, food, and like having a good time with me, and comment sometimes that I seem different. There are really some aspects of ministry can not be shared.   And yet they love me.

And I am learning much in these months:

   1.  Many are experiencing that same sadness, never talk about their feelings; the rich, poor, homeless, young, middle-aged, and old.  In reality, if we tear off our outer coverings, we can suffer together, fine life together. We can share and bring healing to the world.

    2. There really are no solutions to end homelessness, poverty, climate change, etc. until each human being embraces the identity of sharing with one another simply as brothers and sisters;

    3. Finally, the gift given to me is simply  “Being”, to simply be open to letting others into my life, to suffer, to rejoice, and to care. To remember the challenge at my ordination: “To wait tables,” and be “a keeper of the mysteries”. And to hear the following words:

Wild Geese–Mary Oliver

“You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile, the world goes on.

Meanwhile, the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies, and deep trees, the mountains and rivers.

Meanwhile, the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.”

“Praise to You Yahweh Our God, Ruler of all, who has given us life, kept us alive and enabled us to reach this moment” (Old Jewish Centering Prayer.)

May we hear the words of the Universal Christ, always standing in our midst saying: “Peace be unto you!”


Fr. River Damien Sims,sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Book Review: A Gift for Gracelyn by A.E. Smith

April 17, 2021

Book Review: A Gift for Gracelyn

By A. E. Smith

“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.. Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whosoever receiveth this little child in my name receiveth me. .(Matthew 18:2-5).


    Gracelyn is a young girl who lives on a small ranch called Eagle Wings with her family and animal friends. She has to go to a  hospital for a life-saving operation and will miss being at home for her twelfth birthday. While Gracelyn prepares to go to the hospital, the animals living at the ranch decide that Gracelyn should have a birthday gift. They work together to surprise her with the perfect present, but how will they get it to her? The clever animals choose a gift that hides their identity and beauty until the time is right.

    Together, Gracelyn and her older brother Terry discover the charming secrets of the birthday present. There are even more happy surprises to come, much to everyone’s delight. This is a story about giving the best gift of all. They gathered a bunch of seeds and carried them to the hospital many miles away. They were planted and blossomed during her long hospitalization into an array of blossoms. These creatures gave of themselves, expecting nothing in return.

    Their message to us is the message of Jesus when we become like little children we give of ourselves without expecting anything in return; we see people without blinders of color, economic status, religion, or whether they are disabled or not.

    As we enter the post-pandemic period let us take to heart the message of these animals and youth, to become like little children, in giving of ourselves, our money, our time, and provide for those who have nothing, and nurture one another.

    Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Fr. C. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Enfleshed Peace As The Ghost’s Surround Us

April 16, 2021

Enfleshed Peace As the Ghosts Surround Us

Luke 24:36-48. .but the whole group was terrified thinking they had seen a ghost. .”

Ghosts, haunt the living, they represent the unfinished business of the dead, and the unfinished business of the living as well. As the writer of Luke’s gospel alludes: “They were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost (24:37)”. The disciples are convinced that this figure of Jesus in their midst is a phantom, there to settle a score because they are guilty.  Only a few days earlier, they had abandoned Jesus. They had deserted their friend in his time of need–even denying they knew him. On that first Easter at dusk in the city where Jesus was killed, within walking distance from his grave, the disciples find themselves with a presence. And they are terrified.

“At first, they saw Jesus as a manifestation of death, Dominican theological Herbert McCabe preached on this resurrection account. “They have to learn that he is a manifestation of life.” Jesus stood among them and said, “Peace be with you,” with a smile of love, showing he had not come with a grudge. And he says to them “For a ghost does not have flesh and bones you see that I have.” (verse 29). And he tells his friends they are to go preach repentance of forgiveness throughout the world.

The ghosts surround me and, they surround all of us, I have been in ministry since I was eighteen years old, and have touched the lives of thousands. And each day as I move on the street, I think of the one’s I see on every street corner, a  recent suicide, the people whose hands I have held in death these months, and the thousands whom I have taken care of through the years and wonder if I have failed. I call one ghost the “Angel of Death”, who flutters around, reminding me that my time is near, reminding me to do my best.

Jesus returns to the site of his betrayal, to the people who renounce him, in order to announce forgiveness. He will not let the forces of alienation and death govern his life. Instead, Jesus surprises the guilty with an offer of peace.

And so his face appears laughing, waving the ghosts away reminding me how much he loves me and tells me I am safe in his arms, and with a reminder to simply do my best. That presence is so vibrant, so alive, so real!

Let Jesus sweep your ghosts away as well, simply be open to his voice! He loves each of us more than anything else in the world, trust, and no matter what comes. you will feel safe.!


Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos. org



We have decided to offer our notary service to anyone in need:


The Lonely Road

April 14, 2021


False and True Worship- NRSV Isa. 58

Shout out, do not hold back!
    Lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their rebellion,
    to the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet day after day they seek me
    and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness
    and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
    they delight to draw near to God.
“Why do we fast, but you do not see?
    Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”
Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,
    and oppress all your workers.
Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
    and to strike with a wicked fist.
Such fasting as you do today
    will not make your voice heard on high.
Is such the fast that I choose,
    a day to humble oneself?
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
    and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast,
    a day acceptable to the Lord?

Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of injustice,
    to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
    and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
    and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator[a] shall go before you,
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

If you remove the yoke from among you,
    the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
10 if you offer your food to the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
    and your gloom be like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
    and satisfy your needs in parched places,
    and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters never fail.
12 Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
    you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
    the restorer of streets to live in.

13 If you refrain from trampling the sabbath,
    from pursuing your own interests on my holy day;
if you call the sabbath a delight
    and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs;[b]
14 then you shall take delight in the Lord,
    and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.


    I was an associate pastor in my first parish, after seminary, in a large church in St. Louis. My youth group was primarily Black and Hispanic.  One night we traveled downtown to hang out around the Arch. It was dark. I walked around for a few minutes alone and returned and the police had them lined up until I came forward;  Several years ago I was in another town, not far from San Francisco, around midnight with four Hispanic friends. At MacDonald’s the police pulled us over, questioned us for an hour, making sure none of my friends were undocumented or using their vulgar words “illegal”, all were citizens; Late one night in another county I left a friend’s house at midnight, and my Hispanic friend was pulling his school books out of the car before I headed home, six cars of police swarmed my van. They stated there had been robberies in the neighborhood and the van looked suspicious, as well as my friend and I. I let them search the van from top to bottom, and stood by a police car, and finding nothing they simply drove away. In all three incidents, racism is apparent, we can not hide from that fact.

    I dare to say if my friends had been white, we would not have been noticed.

    We need to look within ourselves and see racism in our acts, I mean all of us black, brown, white, red blue, whatever color for there is racism in all of us. We need to work at rooting out racism from every core of our being.

    Ramadan began yesterday and will end on May 12. Ramadan is a sacred season of looking inward, at our wrongs and bring forth what our lives can do. Dorthy Day reflected: “Love is a harsh and dreadful thing: because it demands so much both of us givers and receivers,” and Isaiah 58 is asking the question “Have we abdicated this practice of love in looking at our inner self, and to address what is going on in our family, community and the world.?”

    Fasting is for us to enter into ourselves, in order to come out for justice. Fasting calls us to self-denial, to sacrifice our own physical needs in order to focus and look at our lives. Food dominates our lives, I have seen people murdered for food, leaving food behind, let’s us see our inner needs, and the needs of others.

    Jesus sets the example for us in his forty days of fasting which were a time of reflection and decision and how he was going to embody his next steps, looking at his ego, ambitions, and clarifying his call.

     A gentleman walk with me last night and asked the question: “How can we solve homelessness?” My answer is to fast, to look within ourselves, and to see the need for the transformation of society, for each of us to witness to the incoming kingdom through our actions. Isaiah. Jesus, and Mohammed, tell us the solution for each of us to is practice mercy, to feed the homeless, to clothe the naked, to bury the dead, to comfort those who are in pain, to afflict the comfortable.

    It is a long and lonely road to walk outside our comfortable sanctuary and embody the Gospel fully. We are called to be counter-cultural.

    I practice the fasting of Ramadan, meet on zoom in community with six Muslim friends where we share both words from both our sacred books together, and talk of how we are going to witness more in the community.

    Fasting roots us in the One to whom we belong and calls us together in the inner connected body of Christ: Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



Let us take our Bibles and read Isiah 58, Matthew 25:31-46, and reflect upon each word, and ask ourselves how are we living out those words in our lives.

Jesus Heals Our Pains

April 12, 2021

Jesus Heals Our Pains

John 3:1-8

8: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so it is every one that is born of the Spirit (KJV).


“How are we healed of our wounding memories? We are healed first of all by letting them be available, by letting them out of the corner of forgetfulness, and by remembering them as part of our life stories. What is forgotten is unavailable and what is unavailable cannot be healed.

By lifting our painful forgotten memories out of the egocentric, individualistic, private sphere, Jesus Christ heals our pains. He connects them with the pain of all humanity, a pain he took upon himself and transformed. To heal, then, does not primarily mean to take pains away but to reveal that our pains are part of great pain, that our sorrows are part of great sorrow, that our experience is part of the great experience of him who said, “But was it not ordained that Christ should suffer and so enter into the Glory of God? (Luke 24:26)

Suicide rates are high. Drug use is higher than ever. Youth learning by zoom are having difficulty focusing, and more adolescents are being hospitalized for being suicidal than ever. Youth on the street without the advantage of money, family, and insurance are suffering immensely. And as I talk to young men and women their over all comment is: “No one takes time to listen, they send us to sites on the computer or tell us what to do, they won’t hear our pain.”

This pandemic has resulted in  much emotional pain, pain that is not going away with life going back to “normal.” We can not ignore this pain, or expect our overcrowded mental health system to “fix it.” We all have to be “family” to one another.

The one thing we have learned through the years is found in the words of April Stace: “Spiritual care depends on the ability to join another person in their pain–and if I am unknowingly trapped in my own pain, I can not do my work…Can I learn to listen to my fear, to love it, even instead of trying to banish it from my life?

We have to “be”. To simply “be” with one another. In embracing our pain, in facing it, we learn” that our experience is part of the great experience of him who said, “But was it not ordained that Christ should suffer and so enter into the Glory of God? (Luke 24:26)”

And there is nothing to fear, but fear itself.

May the “wind” blow us into the free spirit of simply “being” with one another. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Get Vaccine! Save Your Life! Save Others!

April 10, 2021

Vaccine Save Your Life! Save Others!

The Economics of Jesus: Sharing Our Pain!

April 9, 2021

The Economics of Jesus: Sharing Our Pain!

Earth Day: Sunday, August 12, 2021

Acts 4:32-33: “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul; neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power gave the apostles witness to the resurrection. . .and great grace was upon them all.”

“Omnia sunt communia”:(all things in common)-the Latin translation of Acts 32 was the rallying cry of Anabaptist communities throughout Europe in the early part of the 16th century.

Today we need to hear the same rallying cry in our protection of all creation. Sunday, August 12 is Earth Day, a celebration in which we hold up the protection of all things living on earth: humanity, animals, and the environment. We need to come together and work in common for the protection of all three.

Fr. Henri Nouwen asks us: “Do You Own Your Own Pain?

“The main question is: “Do you own your pain?” . As long as you do not own your pain–that is, integrate your pain into your way of being in the world–the danger exists that you will use the other to seek healing for yourself. When you speak to others about your pain without fully owning it, you expect something from them that they can not give. As a result, you will feel frustrated, and those you wanted to help will feel confused, disappointed, or even further burdened.

But when you fully own your pain and do not expect those to whom you minister to alleviate it, you can speak about it in true freedom. Then sharing your struggle can become a service; then your openness about yourself can offer courage and hope to others.”

This morning as I listened to a harm reduction conference in Texas, one of the takeaways, was that total abstinence treatment failed most people, especially adolescence when placing it as the end-all treatment for drug use.

I have known this for a long time, as I am battered over the head by criticism from people for not judging people on drug use, or pushing them towards treatment, but listening and working with them in seeking moderation.

The lack of integration of our own fears, and desires leads to a black and white need for answers that will never be.  The one tidbit  I have learned in this ministry is we live in the grey areas of life, and only by working in these areas, meeting in commonality without judgment can we find wholeness.

This Earth Day we are reminded we must come together, without judgment, with open minds and hearts and share our pain, fear of rejection, fear of not belonging, of not having enough material goods, fear of people,  and “offer courage and hope to others.” In so doing we work towards treating all living of creation as sacred.

There are no black and white solutions, no easy answers, people are suffering, and you can not just end suffering from a quick fix. We need to offer courage and hope individually and one on one.

The economics of Jesus calls us to share our pain, our fears, and our material goods with all–and in so doing we embrace the Christ, who shares with us. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

On Sunday, August 12 take a walk and pick up trash and observe how we have littered more, used more plastic and goods that endanger our oceans. Hand a homeless person a candy bar, simply say hello, and look into his eyes and see his or her pain, see our own commonality.

Let us pray:

“O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, even our brothers and sisters the animals, to whom you have given the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised our high dominion with ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to you in song, has been a groan of pain. May we realize that they live, not for us alone, but for themselves and for you, and that they love the sweetness of life.”
St. Basil the Great (329-379)


Please be aware of the danger of identity theft of posting your Vaccine Card online. People steal the information of your social security number and birthday listed. Be happy and proud but be careful!

Father River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O.Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Recognizing Jesus in the Breaking of Bread

April 8, 2021

In Loving Memory of Vicki Yeley


Recognizing Jesus in the Breaking of

“Then the two from Emmanus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road and how they had recognized him as he was breaking bread. . .” Luke 24:35. . .”

“Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him. They stood outside and sent word for him to come out and talk with them. There was a crowd sitting around Jesus, and someone said “Your mother and brothers are outside asking for you. Jesus replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? Then he looked at those around him and said, “Look these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother, sister, and mother.” Mark 3:31-34


    Today in the news is the story of Ethiopia’s ethnic violence, and it is a story repeated over and over, again and again; killing, discrimination, over birth differences; the same in the United States, our racial divisions and violence are a result of the same reasons.

    Jesus challenged the same issue in his day when he stated loud and clear that we are all brothers and sisters.

    Through the years when asked what I am doing holidays, and my reply is working on the streets, the response is”when do you spend time with your family?” always with a sorrowful look.  My answer: “These guys are my family?”

    Shocking to many but it is the truth–through caring, crying, and struggle we become family. I have gone to the hospital many times, being asked, “You are his family, you are white, he is black, brown, pink, red, whatever?” My response is “I am an albino. We are  family.”

    Family is not bloodlines, it is suffering together, being there for one another through thick and thin.

    My friend, my “sister” Vicki Yeley died two years ago today. We met in 2004 through her fourteen-year-old son Matt, who on Good Friday, 2004, asked to come and volunteer. We had met through a  presentation at his school,  I could not even  place his face, and when  picked up,  Matthew had a suitcase, saying his nanny had to leave on an emergency, and he was spending the night, and I was shocked and had him call his mom on vacation in Europe, and her response, “I trust him, and if he trusts you, so do I.” Personally, I thought she was crazy, and from that moment on a friendship with Vicki and Kevin her husband began,  whose road has run through seeing Matt grow up, taking care of me when I was ill with malaria, and support of my ministry, but most importantly just being family.

    Present at all my activities and most moving for me was going into the finance office at Knox Theological Seminary, in May 2017, the week of receiving my doctorate, finding that Vicki had paid off the  tuition, leaving a card, saying, “We are family, I am proud of you.”

     Matthew Yeley Frederick graduates this year from law school, and we will celebrate in Portland with a party. I am so round of him! Today, as every day, and on the day of his graduation, Vicki sits in that Great Cloud of Witnesses cheering us on.

    I think with so much love of my friends Matthew, who came to volunteer at fourteen, never left, showing his mom news articles convincing her to let me come out to his place, and then three years ago taking care of me after surgery; of Brandon, Aaron, Cale, three guys giving support after surgery; Brandon and Aaron’s parents, always being there;  my friends Cynthia and Karen, both Doctors who saw me through the malaria crisis, and pay my health insurance, Keenan, who paid my insurance for fifteen or so years before, has walked with me for so many years and so many more who have and are family.

    They are a rainbow of colors, a radiance that brings joy into our lives.

    We are all called to be family to one another and we find our family in the breaking of bread–where race, ethnicity, bloodlines, religious beliefs, wealth, or poverty does not matter. In the breaking of bread–we are one:

“Then the two from Emmanus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road and how they had recognized him as he was breaking bread. . .” Luke 24:35. . .”

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Book Review: The Courageto Go

April 8, 2021

The Courage to Go!”

By Emily Dobberstein

Emily Dobberstein’s story is the story of “‘every person”, in her struggle to find who she is. She is from the south, and yet no matter where we’re from, our race, or sex, nationality, etc as long as we never leave home, on the “heroes” journey to find who we are, we will not be allowed to grow, mature, and become our own selves. North, South, West, East all have their biases, their way of living, isolated by their own prejudices, biases, and in embracing The Courage to Go we become humans who see our struggles, as a part of our full development as human beings..

Emily was a member of a fundamentalist religious group, that shaped her life, told her how to behave, and believe.  She was a member of the “in” group. And as she came to question her faith, and the mentality of her religious background she risks rejection.

In making her seven thousand mile journey west her healing began, and in the words  of Henri Nouwen:

“For a very long time I considered low self-esteem to be some kind of virtue. I had been warned so often against pride and conceit that I came to consider it a good thing to deprecate myself. But now I realize that the real sin is to deny God’s first love for me, to ignore my original goodness. Because without claiming that first love and that original goodness for myself, I lose touch with my true self and embark on the destructive search among the wrong people and in the wrong places for what can only be found in the house of my Father.”


Fr. River Damien Sims

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164