Women, Catholic

Truly sisters : Catholic and Muslim women walking in solidarity on the path to interfaith leadership

Author
Mary J Curtsinger
Abstract
In the Islamophobic context of the contemporary U.S., this researcher gathered ten women (22-28), "committed" Roman Catholics and Muslims--for appreciative interpersonal engagement, with goals of building relationships marked by greater justice and solidarity; supporting Muslims experiencing oppression; and planting seeds of interfaith leadership. Reflecting believing was used as method. The researcher facilitated four weekly 2.5-hour sessions ("icebreakers"; one-on-one walkabouts; "speed-faithing"; and focus sessions). Data strongly supported the research goals, with subjects' reporting positive reactions, relational learning, knowledge of one another's traditions, and an emerging commitment to continued interfaith engagement and leadership. All ten reported increased solidarity with religious others.

Divine imagery in the spiritual lives of women lay ministers

Author
Esther H Sanborn
Abstract
Currently, the majority of lay ministers in the U.S. Catholic Church are women; wisdom can be gained from experience of women who have persisted long-term in lay ministry. Divine imagery in the spiritual lives of twelve women lay ministers from greater Chicago was explored through qualitative interviews. Using practical theology methods, findings of this ethnographic research was engaged with dialogue partners from Christian tradition and contemporary disciplines--Teresa of Avila's The Interior Castle, psychology-spiritual development theories, and feminist theological perspectives. From these mutually critical conversations emerged implications for the formation of lay minsters and proposals for ongoing praxis.

Beyond the male model: empowering Catholic women who preach

Author
Anna K Adams
Abstract
This thesis addresses the disempowerment faced by women who preach in the Catholic Church. Having few role models, these women may not fully claim their identity as preachers. How can Catholic women who preach be empowered to claim their identity and authority as preachers? This study demonstrates how by both naming the obstacles presented by their tradition and uncovering potential sources of liberation and empowerment, Catholic women who preach may find encouragement to claim their identity and authority as preachers. Two half-day processes of theological reflection by Catholic female preachers were conducted to explore the aforementioned questions.

A cyberspace room of our own: on the significance of cyberspace for feminist ecclesial communities

Author
Veronica M Dunne
Abstract
This thesis explores the impact of cyberspace on the development of feminist base Christian communities, through an examination of one year's data from the Catholic Network for Women's Equality (CNWE) e-mail list. Feminist liberation theologians provide the lens through which the author analyzes this data. The thesis examines how the egalitarian and inter-connected worlds of cyberspace destabilize dominant patriarchal, ecclesiastical and cultural norms, and asserts that women claiming space in the public realm of on-line discourse impacts positively on developing an ecclesial community. The thesis concludes that cyberspace contributes to opening up spaces in which new paradigms for women's faith praxis and well-being can emerge.

Standing up straight: a self-reflective resource for United States Dominican women on the charism of preaching

Author
Mary Ann Wiesemann-Mills
Abstract
This project enables United States Dominican women to claim identity as preachers through a progressive study of baptismal charism, religious life as charism, the Dominican charism, women's historical situation both in society and in the Order, and critical concerns of the current global situation. The project took shape in dialogue with qualitative research techniques--including questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews--yielding the conclusion that United States Dominican women, for so long hesitant to identify themselves as preachers, stand now in readiness to claim their rightful identity.

Toward a developmental theology of embodiment: formative influences of family and church on Roman Catholic women's sexual development

Author
Violet T Grennan
Abstract
This project explores how family beliefs and attitudes toward sexuality and church teaching on human sexuality influence Roman Catholic women's sexual development. The project selected 12 women ages 24 to 60, constructed a questionnaire, and administered it to members of the group in a 90-minute interview. Responses were collated, analyzed, and reviewed with reference to psychological theory, church teaching on human sexuality, and criteria that define a basic or deepening level of psychosexual integration. The project found that family and church are formative influences, along with mother-daughter relationships and the quality of core messages received in the earliest formative years. Age was another influential variable.

Coming to know God: Roman Catholic women remember their experiences of God

Author
Ann-Marie Houghton
Abstract
This doctoral project listens to women's stories of God, reflects on these stories from the epistemological model developed in Women's Ways of Knowing, and considers some of the implications for pastoral ministry in the Roman Catholic Church. This thesis maintains that women meet God in the ordinary experiences of daily living and that these encounters are often overlooked, ignored, or diminished. Fifty-eight memories of God from childhood through adulthood are recorded in the women's own voices. They are stories of God whose strong, persistent, passionate voice is heard throughout the ages.

The role of Catholic lay women in a conservative diocese

Author
Jane M LaMarche
Abstract
The purpose of the study was to test three hypotheses regarding the status of Catholic lay women in a conservative diocese. The sample consisted of 280 Catholic lay women ranging in age from 18 to 60+ years who currently serve the Church in some capacity in the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont. Response data to questionnaires and interviews are reported by descriptive statistics, frequency distributions, and cross tabulations including chi-square tests for variable independence. These findings confirmed the original hypotheses except equal representation. The respondents do not believe women are equally represented at the diocesan level; they do perceive equal representation in their parishes.

Leadership training and a process of theological reflection to identify the impact of sexism in Roman Catholicism

Author
Joan Specht
Abstract
The author began with the experience she and others of her acquaintance have within the institutional Roman Catholic Church. She developed the thesis that sexism in the Roman Catholic Church does exist and does have significant impact on women, adversely affecting their self-image and their ability to shape and influence life within the church. She trained a core group of women to do theological reflection, using story-telling, reflection on them in the light of tradition and culture, and the resulting action they took.
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