Rachel Lyon

Rachel is a practice researcher at the University of Glasgow. Her PhD thesis, I, Catherine, uses creative writing and feminist theory to look at the writing and religious practice of Catherine of Siena (1347-1380). I, Catherine proposes imitatio, based on Catherine’s own practice of imitatio Christi as a secular feminist methodology grounded in multiplicity of self, inter-relational embodiment and shared becoming.

My project will look at the resonance between Catherine of Siena’s direct experience of living through a pandemic, in her case, the Black Death, and contemporary experience of Covid-19. I will focus on letters written 1374-5, during which Catherine cared for the sick, performed miracles of healing and lost loved ones to the plague, none of which she discusses directly. Using imitatio as method, I will step into the tonal register of Catherine’s writing to work out how her intense and complex experiences of plague emerge from her work, and what relevance that experience might have to a contemporary reader.

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