Mary Daily

Reprinted from Maize
Its a remarkable and significant moment in all our lives to mark the passing of perhaps our greatest scholar Mary Daly. So many of us have stories and things to say which I hope will unfold over the coming time. I last saw her at the Feminist Hullaballoo in Santa Fe two years ago. It was probably her last public event, and she wasn’t well but she was still as spikey and confronting and courageous and outrageous as always. A group of her oldest students from Boston College led by Emily Culpepper and Linda Barafaldi formed a support team and made her last years better organised and comfortable. Her legacy and her papers/archives are all in order I know and that is good, thanks to Emily. She died in Western Massachusetts on 3rd Jan 2010.
Mary was 81, born in 1928, worked and wrote and thought about the end of patriarchy all her life it seemed. She burst out of the cobwebs of the old catholic church in the 1960’s, having gone off to study theology in Friborg, Switzerland and attended some of the sessions of Vatican 2. I remember her describing the servitude of the women, of the fast revelations that followed, her writing The Church and The Second Sex, and then the great book Beyond God The Father. I first wrote to her back then, when I read that book, and we began our correspondence then. I finally met her in 1979 in Boston, went to her class at Boston College, stayed with her and Denise Connors at Newtonville for 2 weeks and we became life-long complicated friends, as she was with all her friends. She visited Australia in 1981, a tour which I organised with a collective of brave women. It was an exhausting and controversial trip which culminated in the public meeting in the Teachers Federation Hall in Sydney which could be described as a riot. Maybe now I can start to tell some of that story, there’s a thought. Maybe, because lots of the Mary Daly stories are very controversial. Her great book Gyn/Ecology was read widely in reading groups, had women up in arms and passionate like almost no other book of the 70’s period. For me the greatest of all the books is Pure Lust from 1983. Its time to revisit them all, and there are lots. There was also a great essay she wrote in a Quest journal from the late 1970’s which I still think is one of the best sources of her ideas. Her own theological roots went to Thomas Aquinas and she took him apart in a rad fem revisioning of the whole of western male thinking. Her work is still to be truly grasped I think, and will be over future time, interwoven with an understanding of her biography and experiences among women and her times. Its a monumental intellectual creative journey.
This was a huge life throbbing with ideas at the very edge of our thinking – that’s a lot to consider. There will be stories and gossip, reflections and laughs, for the remarkable achievements and legacy of the very complex very alive to the deep background world very much loved and honoured Mary Daly. I thank the spirits for her life and commend her to the galactic cows and to Stein and Woolf and the other women she can now hang out with in the spiral galaxies of the ancestors.- Suzanne Bellamy

1 Comment

Filed under Lesbians Around The Globe, The Crone's nest, The Library

One response to “Mary Daily

  1. This is a youtube video tribute to Mary with quotes from her writings.

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