As the Vatican synod on the family begins, a deeply devout Catholic woman sent the following prose poem to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston; Pope Francis, and Crux. Divorced and remarried, she said she will not disobey the Church’s ban on receiving Communion nor seek annulment. She considers the process dishonest. But she will not accept, either, the Church’s judgment of her as an “eternal sinner.”

Here is what she wrote.

I am born five days following Christmas and named after Christ and Mary

I am a baptized infant and an on-schedule sacrament receiver

I am a little one who makes her mom smile each Sunday by touching my heart and “lifting it up to the Lord”

I am a young girl who honors Jesus by never leaving church on Good Friday until I shed tears

I am a girl whose parish priest, the one who came to dinners at our house, was convicted of possessing child pornography …

I am a college student who attends daily mass

I am a virgin when I marry at age 24, a God-centered choice, yet tinged in pride

I am a perfect bride who said “the most beautiful vows” the priest had heard. I am sincere …

I am the teacher of my children’s daily prayers

I am in full knowledge of why God hates divorce — it creates seismic rings of pain

I am aware of annulment. I do not choose this path.

I am remarried

I am the daughter-in law of a school custodian who, when he won $100,000, gave three quarters of it to his Catholic church for air conditioning (what remained built one room barely big enough for a series of card tables to form a banquet for family dinners). He gave to the Lord first, himself second.

I am a middle-aged woman beginning to see the face of a God of love. It is beautiful

I am privy to people so saturated in God that they point the way to Him without saying a word

I am shown the simple truth that we are restored to God through love and acceptance, never shame. I recall this in my dealings with others

I am grateful to the open arms and table of evangelical, Protestant and Anglican churches that lifted my head long enough to see a vision of God’s redemptive love

I am unable to feel this in my home, the Catholic Church. I leave home — for how can one deemed an eternal sinner build anything worthy of God with the remains of their life. Christ was hope; this is hopelessness

I am a Bible reader …

I am a friend to my former husband.

I am unconditional and eternal love to my (second) husband, my daughters and my stepchildren. I am capable of giving this now for I have received it. I teach them all I know of God and ask God each day to be close to them no matter what — because it is the “no matter what” that matters

I am indebted to Jesus who came for sinners, ate with sinners, healed sinners, and works through sinners

I am a modern day woman who left last night’s dinner party early to spend time with God.

I am daily prayers

I am I wish I could have done better. I am I wish I knew better. I am human

I am sure God did not say “I forgive you, you may go,” but rather “I forgive you, you may come.” For when these words were whispered to me everything changed

I am the anointed sinful woman who loves much because she has been forgiven much. I am in love with Jesus who says, “Do you see this woman?” Not “Do you see this sinner

I am a tree who quietly and steadily bears better fruit, those of the spirit, despite my poor and arid soil…

I am allowed to attend Catholic mass, but not receive and share in the body and blood of Christ — I do not join my best friend and daily companion at His table. I feel He wants me there

I am watched by my daughters as I kneel while others receive. I regret how this affects them. I ask God if I can teach them His great mercy and compassion in this church, the church of their ancestors, when it cannot fully grant second chances to some. It cannot fully embrace even a deeply repentant person. It cannot see me as anything other than an eternal sinner, when I have never been closer to God

I am certain God does not see me this way. I am certain God does not want it this way. I am certain there is a better way