Credit: Mobilus In Mobili via Wikimedia. (cc-by-sa-2.0)

It was the day after the inauguration when hundreds of thousands of (mostly) women descended on Washington D.C. for the Women’s March, a show of solidarity against President Trump and an act of advocating for women’s rights and equality.

The Women’s March was not without controversy. The organizers released a list of guiding principles including “open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people.” They booted a pro-life group called New Wave Feminists from their list of sponsors because of their pro-life beliefs. (Many pro-life women marched anyway.) Most participants donned pink “pussy hats” and others wore even more explicit, genitalia-themed costumes.

So how did a group of Dominican friars end up inviting hundreds of Women’s Marchers into their priory?

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In a blog for the Dominicana Journal, Br. Martin Davis, O.P, recalled how one seemingly small act of mercy on the part of the friars changed his perspective on the March, and on the current state of affairs at large.

It started when the friars invited what they thought would be a few dozen marchers inside to use their public restrooms – the city of D.C. was not prepared with enough facilities for the event.

But that soon turned into a line of hundreds of marchers, looking for relief.

Br. Davis wrote that while he was initially concerned about the vulgar or anti-Catholic messages of some marchers, “those carrying or wearing these things had the courtesy to cover them up.”

Soon, a spontaneous collection for the friars began to be collected among the marchers – their own idea.

“Over the course of about two hours hundreds of dollars were donated to the church without any prompting by the friars,” Br. Davis wrote.

The bathroom line also provided many opportunities for conversations about faith, religious life, and St. Agnes, whose feast day was that day.

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“The peculiar situation of some people wearing ‘Get your rosaries off my ovaries’ next to men actually wearing rosaries on their belts did not stop many from inquiring into what brings us to live lives dedicated to Christ,” Br. Davis noted.

To read the full story about how the encounter changed Br. Davis’ perspective, check out: http://www.dominicanajournal.org/st-agnes-and-the-womens-march/