Cady Mansell is a stylish fourth-grader who has certain likes and dislikes. While she loves lipstick and nail polish, she also loves superheroes and prefers to dress up in suits instead of donning an uncomfortable dress.
Cady’s style has those around her in awe of her confidence with her mom, Chris, explaining “In her lifetime, she’s always given me a lesson in quirkiness, but most importantly, confidence. She’s never been afraid to be who she is.” Cady wanted to display her unique fashion at a milestone in a young Catholic’s life, her Holy Communion.
Cady knew exactly what she wanted to wear and her mom took her to a child’s boutique to have a beautiful white suit tailored, just to her 9-year-olds requirements. Cady felt comfortable, confident and chic in her new suit, loving every aspect of it but other’s opinions weren’t the same.
When the news of Cady’s white suit attire reached leaders at her school, St. John The Evangelist, administrators and the parish’s priest, Rev. Sammie L. Maletta were not impressed.
Days before the Holy Communion, the administrators reached out to her parents and informed them that Cady will be excluded from the ceremony if she did not comply with Church rules to wear a skirt.
When hearing about the news, Cady was devastated that the Church would not accept her for who she is. Chris said “More so than the suit, Cady was excited to make her First Communion, she felt that it was one step closer to being a full member of the church, and one step closer to being an altar server.”
To add to insult, the parish priest apparently accused Chris and her husband of being bad parents for not forcing their daughter to wear a dress, something they were “enraged” by.
It was the last straw for the Mansell’s and they decided to leave parish they had attended for five years, enrolling their children in a different Catholic school. The Mansell’s have been welcomed with open arms in their new school and parish community. Chris added that Cady had been “incredibly resilient” throughout the whole ordeal and is looking forward to her Holy Communion.
Chris finally stated “My first hope is that she understands that this one experience with this one priest and this one parish does not define Catholicism. It was just not the right fit for us. And that’s okay.”