This week’s guest is Sonja Livingston, the author of Ghostbread and a recent America article: “How Cajun country, an old ambulance and 1,200 frog legs led me back to the confessional.”
In her piece, Livingston describes her own relationship with confession as a Catholic who recently returned to regular practice. “I returned to my childhood church a year or so ago after lapsing for two decades…. I was really drawn back...and enjoyed the experience immensely of discovering the church, the mass the rhythms the traditions. Except for confession! Whenever confession would come up I’d think: ‘Oh, right! Confession’—that was the thing I kept forgetting about or somehow blocked off.”
As a means of better understanding her relationship with confession, Livingston began to research the topic. “I began to become interested in the history of confession or reconciliation and perhaps to justify why I wasn’t participating fully, I wanted to read about others who were participating fully.” One of the people Livingston came across in her research was Father Michael Champagne, who has made it his mission to drive a “spiritual care unit” across the country, offering people confessions on the road.
[Confession] is absolutely transformative on the individual level, but also on a social and cultural level.
As a result of her journey south to meet Father Champagne, and back to the confessional in her own parish, Livingston told America that it was worth working through her resistance to the sacrament. “[Confession] is absolutely transformative on the individual level, but also on a social and cultural level."