Mcgee, Teresa Rhodes 1957-
McGEE, Teresa Rhodes 1957-
Born October 15, 1957, in Thomasville, GA; daughter of John Paul (a transportation lawyer) and Kathleen (a registered nurse; maiden name, Kennedy) Rhodes; married Richard A. McGee (a banker); children: Michael Allan, Patrick Thomas. Education: College of St. Teresa, B.A., 1979; Loyola University, M.A., 1981; Fordham University, professional diploma (spirituality), 1993. Hobbies and other interests: Swimming, the arts, spiritual practices.
Home—15A Claremont Rd., Ossining, NY 10562. Office—Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, Box 305, Maryknoll, NY 10545-0305. E-mail—[email protected].
Administrator, spiritual director, retreat leader, consultant in conflict resolution. Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, Ossining, NY, director of personnel, orientation director for new international workers, development associate, pastoral worker, 1984-2003; Association of Religion and Intellectual Life, New Rochelle, NY, acting director, 1994-95.
National Association of Church Personnel Workers, American Association of Pastoral Counselors.
Catholic Press Association Award, for The Comforter: Stories of Loss and Rebirth; Christopher Award, for Jim's Last Summer: Lessons on Living from a Dying Priest.
The Comforter: Stories of Loss and Rebirth, Crossroad (New York, NY), 1997.
Ordinary Mysteries: Rediscovering the Rosary, Orbis Books (Maryknoll, NY), 2001.
Jim's Last Summer: Lessons on Living from a Dying Priest, Orbis Books (Maryknoll, NY), 2002.
Contributor to periodicals, including Maryknoll and Revista Maryknoll.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Spirituality and Trauma, a book exploring the role of spirituality in recovery from personal and communal trauma, Orbis Books, 2004; research into images of God, memory, sexuality and spirituality, narrative, imagery, and practice across spiritual traditions.
Teresa Rhodes McGee has held a number of positions during her years with the Mary-knoll Fathers and Brothers, including lay missioner in Peru. In The Comforter: Stories of Loss and Rebirth, she uses a quilt as metaphor, with each block representing a person she has met in her travels at home and abroad. These people include an abused woman named Carol; Clementia, a poor Peruvian woman; Larry, a custodian; and a Bolivian woman who boards a crowded bus with a baby who has just died in her arms. McGee notes in the book that although the innocent suffer and die in a world filled with violence and oppression, we all still hope for a better life and a better community. Frank Maurovich wrote in the National Catholic Reporter that "the book's genius lies in the author's ability to reflect on her encounters with transitions that leave nature and grace harmonious, not dissected."
Ordinary Mysteries: Rediscovering the Rosary is a collection of meditations on the fifteen mysteries of the rosary and includes the prayers used. Once a mainstay of Catholic devotion, the rosary fell out of favor following the Second Vatican Council, but it has experienced renewed interest in recent years as Catholics have rediscovered the spiritual satisfaction that saying the rosary brings to them.
When seventy-two-year-old Father Jim Lenihan lay dying of cancer in a nursing home, McGee visited his bedside often, and they gave each other strength until the priest's death. McGee's memorial, Jim's Last Summer: Lessons on Living from a Dying Priest, was honored with a Christopher Award.
McGee told CA: "Writing is an activity of my soul. I write as a means of linking experience and theory—the ordinary and the holy—for myself and my readers. I write for the beauty of the process which absorbs my consciousness. I write so that I will understand and celebrate life more explicitly.
"I am an avid reader, and I have been influenced by the works of Annie Dillard, Isabel Allende, Henri Nouwen, and many others. I would advise an aspiring writer to write according to one's gifts and longings without being obsessed with the finished product. If one is true to the inner voice, the rest will take care of itself.
"I am a busy woman. I have a full-time job, two teenage sons, and some significant physical challenges. I carry my writing with me like something to be knitted in the available moments of my life. Obviously, I must also search out blocks of time to bring a manuscript together, yet I have learned that it is possible to do significant writing in the midst of a demanding life."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Addiction, November, 2002, p. 1484.
Catholic Library World, September, 2003.
Cross Currents, summer, 1997.
Living Church, April, 2003.
National Catholic Reporter, November 21, 1997, Frank Maurovich, review of The Comforter: Stories of Loss and Rebirth, p. 14.
Theology Today, summer, 2003.