About Uniquely Catholic
We believe all baptized people, especially individuals with disabilities, are members of and belong within the Body of Christ.
We believe the Body of Christ is more fully recognized and whole when individuals with disabilities are welcomed, have a sense of belonging, and feel invited into shared ownership within faith communities.
We believe lives and parishes are transformed through an intentional process of integration with the various disability communities.
We believe parish leaders need to have support and guidance available throughout this process.
Uniquely Catholic equips leaders and promotes the wholeness of the Body of Christ through inclusion of disabled and neurodivergent people within all aspects of parish life.
We advocate for and support individuals and families with disabilities and from the neurodivergent community in their faith journey, especially as a member of a church community.
Disabilities include developmental, learning, intellectual, in addition to physical.
See Important Notes Down Below
The Meaning Behind the Logos
The multiple colors of the leaves on the tree in the left logo and the orange-pink-red mosaic in the right logo represents the diversity within the Body of Christ. The key is a symbol of the Catholic Church from Matthew 16:17-19. The tree is another representation of the uniqueness, yet interconnectedness of each person within the Body of Christ and, therefore, the Church.
Thanks to Jessica Connolly of Telos Design, LLC for the beautiful designs.
Hi! My name is Lindsey West and I’m so grateful and honored you’re here at Uniquely Catholic.
After my re-version and coming back to the loving arms of God around 2003, I’ve felt a passionate calling to ensure that no one feels like they don’t belong, especially within the Body of Christ. This calling began in parish youth ministry in 2004 and continues to this day with Uniquely Catholic.
While I have a Master’s of Theological Studies degree, the most important thing I can offer is that I’ve probably been in your shoes at some point. I’ve been the youth minister, director of religious education, volunteer, parish staff member, etc. who was doing their best for God’s people and God’s glory. I’m also a neurodivergent mom of at least one wonderfully neurodivergent child (the youngest, we’re not sure yet). Having been in both worlds, I see that there’s often a HUGENORMOUS (as my son would say) gap in many parishes that leads to individuals and families leaving the Church or abandoning their relationship with God altogether. Maybe it’s because I know what it’s like to try and go through life’s struggles without God, but I feel the urgency any person would feel if their brothers or sisters were lost, hurt, and missing out on the life-changing love that comes from a relationship with God within the Church. Why lose any of the flock when we can build a bridge between the gap? That’s what Uniquely Catholic is for – helping parish communities and disability communities come together in a meaningful way that promotes not just welcome, but belonging, and a sense of ownership that respects individuals with disabilities and meets them where they’re at.
Since my son’s autism diagnosis in mid-2015, my passion became thinking about, presenting, and building bridges that bring parishes and the autism community together. So, I began Uniquely Catholic as a simple blog in April 2017, with hopes of a future in which parishes, individuals, and families alike would be supported in their faith journeys and participation in parish life. After launching Uniquely Catholic, I came to the realization that the research and work I was doing on integration of the autism community in parishes had applicability and was needed in all areas of neurodivergence and disabilities.
Phew. If you couldn’t tell already, “passionate” is one of the words I hear used to describe me most often. In addition to passionately pursuing this mission God has placed on my heart, I’m a wife and mom, striving for holiness in the messiness of life. I love playing music (both drums and guitar), becoming a better backyard chicken keeper, and enjoying coffee everyday. I’m also what my grandmother used to call a Jill-of-all-trades, taking on new skills and projects like building our chicken coop (which could probably be on an HGTV show about tricked-out chicken coops) and a sensory, obstacle course a la “American Ninja Warrior”-ish.
Some Important Notes
- Many or most actually autistic people prefer identity-first language (autistic person or autist). Some don’t. The Catholic Church always sees the person first as a child of God and so would tend to use person-first language (person with autism). We want to respect the intentions of both schools of thought, but tend to use identity-first language as that seems to be the way the majority of autistic people prefer to be identified.
- ASD is a very broad term used to describe individuals whose brains receive and process information from the world around us differently than typical brains. This means that even the most helpful or insightful posts on this blog can never substitute getting to know each and every individual person (both neurodivergent and neurotypical) for who they are and who God created them to be.
- Neurodivergent refers to autistic, dyslexic, ADHD, and other neurodifferences that are not typical.
- Please be kind, respectful, ask questions, and engage in dialogue; it’s how we all become more aware and loving of every member of the Body of Christ.
- We are constantly learning and growing.
Please note: some links on our website are affiliate links. This means that when you purchase something through one of the affiliate links, we might get a small portion of the revenue from that sale. This does not increase your cost when buying through an affiliate link, but it does help us keep Uniquely Catholic running.