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Resilience is defined as “the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful after something bad happens.” Our culture has become increasingly interested in why some people appear more resilient than others.  The research shows that although there are protective factors which foster resilience, we all have the ability to build more resilience in each of our lives.  These stories teach us what has helped these women.

This display is a 20-year follow-up to a photo and literary exhibition from the mid-1990s entitled RESILIENT SOULS: Young Women’s Portraits and Words.  At that time, I had the honor of working with young women from various backgrounds who had overcome personal challenges in their lives.  They were brave and generous by writing and sharing their stories as we worked together to create beautiful portraits to represent their perseverance in the hope of encouraging others.  The original exhibit explored issues such as disabilities, mental health, unhealthy relationships, illness, adoption, pregnancy, immigration, eating disorders, school problems, violence and grief.   Two decades later, we revisit these women’s continued journeys, including their low points, their triumphs and their growth, as they approach middle age.  

THE RESILIENT SOULS PROJECT has universal appeal as we are all faced with difficulties in this life. It inspires all of us to consider our resilience while finding beauty and meaning in our own imperfect lives.     

      ~ Cathy Lander-Goldberg, photographer/curator  

For more information, view the 5.5 minute video by HEC TV:     RESILIENT SOULS VIDEO 


When we met in 1995, she was training for the Paralympics and on a quest to break stereotypes of people with disabilities. Sandy’s leg had been amputated at age 4 due to a proximal femoral focal deficiency.

Past Writing


Sandy is now a two time Paralympic bronze medalist in skiing. When we met again in May 2015, she was training to hike a volcano in Ecuador with a team of amputees to raise awareness for people with disabilities. 

Recent Writing: 



2018, Brown School of Social Work, Washington University, St. Louis, MO



2017, Kissam Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN


2016, Morton J. May Gallery, Maryville University, Chesterfield, MO  



RESILIENT SOULS: Young Women’s Portraits and Words:  

2002, Dougherty Arts Center, Austin, Texas 

1998, Harold Washington Library, Chicago, IL

1996, Webster University, Webster Groves, MO

1996, The Center of Contemporary Arts, University City, MO 

For more information on the original project, see:





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All images are copyrighted by Cathy Lander-Goldberg