From Life to Death to Life

Blog by Sr. Luisa Derouen, OP

From the time she was four years old Sara knew that music was at the core of her being, particularly Mozart’s Symphonies.  She also knew by age four that she was not a boy but a girl and her name was Sara.  But she learned very quickly, as most transgender children do, to keep that information to herself.

By the time Sara was 37 years old, she was an international concert pianist and playing with top tier orchestras in the U.S. and abroad.    But her international fans knew her only as David Buechner.  The inner struggle that began in early childhood never left her and eventually led to alcoholism, drugs and many suicide attempts.  On Nov. 27th, 1996, she clearly heard God ask her, “Do you want to go there?”  “Yes, God, I need to go there to survive.  I need to make the journey across the gender divide.”  She needed to finally be Sara and not David.

In the two and a half years that followed, she transitioned.  She made her First Communion and became an active member of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church.  She also totally lost her career and was reduced to teaching piano lessons to children.

But in the process she gained herself, and over the last two decades, she is again giving concerts to rave reviews internationally.  She is an Associate Professor at Temple University in Philadelphia.  She and I have been friends since 2007.  She loves to say that when she is playing that’s her face time with God.  Transgender people don’t choose to be transgender.  They discover it, and most often very young.

Is Sara’s music less beautiful because she now plays as a woman or is it more beautiful and authentic because she plays as her true self?

Give yourself a treat.  Go to her website and enjoy some of her music!

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

17 responses to “From Life to Death to Life

  1. God bless you, Sara and Luisa. I’ve been telling people of my tg status one person at a time but now I plan to join Toastmasters in a genuine manner.

  2. Thank you so much for all your ministries to this marginalized community. stands behind you with a public site for information about transgender people and hoe to support them for all Catholics.
    Your sister in Christ,
    Hilary Howes

  3. Thank you, Sr. Luisa, for sharing Sara’s journey with us. I have learned so much from you about those whose gender identity does not match their bodies. Thank you also for your work with others who have been misunderstood because of their sexual preferences. May God continue to bless your ministry.

  4. I remember being on the stage with many other Dominican Sisters in St. Catharine Hall, actually feeling the vibrations as Sara played. A truly moving experience, almost as noteworthy (pun intended) as Sara’s story. Meeting her and some of your other transgender friends expanded my mind and heart to embrace another population so easily ostracized. When will be ever learn?

  5. Luisa, you already know how much I care about you and your ministry. This blog helps even more to create an understanding of some of the consequences of people’s decisions; how important it is that those decisions can be made; and how tremendously valuable it is to have faith filled people available to befriend, to act as guides and to be strong supports as men and women experience such difficult times in their lives. You be strong and feel our prayers for you.

  6. Thanks for sharing Sara’s story. It is great that you can
    continue helping people know God’s love and that they
    can then be signs of God’s presence for others.

  7. Thanks, for sharing Sara’s story through your blog. It is a beautiful journey of becoming truly oneself, discovering true freedom and knowing God’s immense love. Her music is a testament to Face-time with God. Only in hearing stories like Sara’s can hearts be changed.

  8. Thanks Luisa, and thanks for the blessing it was to meet Sara and to listen to her “face time with God.

  9. Thanks, Luisa. That’s a powerful story. You’ve been blessed with a good friendship. We’ve been blessed with her story and yours.

  10. Louisa, thank you for caring about and promoting the “caring about” people like Sara. I hope my recognition and respect for those I know is a help, however small.

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