Interview: Breanna Mekuly
Can you start by telling the readers a little about yourself?
I’m Breanna. I live in Erie, PA with my best friend (my dog!) Snoop. I work with the Benedictine Sisters of Erie at Emmaus Ministries, which encompasses a soup kitchen, food pantry, Kids Cafe, and garden. I also work part time with Benetvision, which is Sister Joan Chittister’s research and writing organization.
Can you talk a little about what drew you to the work you are doing?
I first came to Erie to meet Sister Joan Chittister while I was in divinity school. I had read Joan’s work and felt at home in it. While visiting, I told Joan if she ever needed an intern, to please give me a call. Two years later, at a time when I was needing to be a part of a group of female catholic feminists, she called. During my internship, I fell in love with the sisters, their values, and their way of life. I stayed and started working full time at the Soup Kitchen.
Can you tell me something you've learned from working with the sisters?
What I’ve learned (or at least what seems important to me right now) is that there all kinds of ways to love.
What is your favorite part of your job?
In all honesty, what I’m currently doing isn’t my dream job. And I’m not quite sure what is. But I love sharing space with these women. I love being in the same office and building as women who strive to live what they believe. And woman that are honest about being human and making mistakes!
And I love to work with the children at the soup kitchen. They capture my heart and teach me all sorts of things about love and service and care (mostly, because they give me all those things.) But also, because they challenge me to grow in ways I haven’t ever before - like how to be a better waitress and how to be a part of a community that will always suffer.
We are never really done growing up. What do you hope to do in the future?
Oh, I don’t know! I always say my “dream job” is to be a poet, gardener and dog-walker. But I really have an interest in working with the LBGTQ community. I’d like to talk to groups of nuns about gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, and language.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Knowing I have to go to work to pay the bills! Okay...I am so happy every morning when I wake up, roll over, and my dog crawls over and curls up next to me.
Do you have advice for girls growing up today?
It’s okay to be angry, frustrated or confused. Don’t let anyone stifle your voice or your passions because it’s not what they would choose for you.
Do you have any female figures that you look up to? (real or fiction)
I mostly look up to my friends/older female mentors.
Why do you think it is important to tell our stories?
Sometimes we just have to get our stories out of ourselves when we know that someone else is listening!
What is something in life that you are most proud of?
I suppose I’m proud of biking 100 miles in one day! I’m also proud that I’ve attempted to always follow my heart, and it’s taken me in physical and emotional places I thought I’d never be.
A few favorites:
I’m obsessed with the Lumineers.
“It is good that you exist.”
“I found God in myself and I loved her; I loved her fiercely.”