The stained glass ceiling : the development of women pastoral associates in the Archdiocese of Baltimore

Full Title
The stained glass ceiling : the development of women pastoral associates in the Archdiocese of Baltimore
Kathleen O'Donnell Tallent
The purpose and goals of this project are to describe the ways that women pastoral associates exercise their ministry through an indepth study of their experiences in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. This prominent diocese offers a unique base for the study of this significant position for women that has emerged in the Post-Vatican II Church. The project examines the well-being and morale of women pastoral associates, compares their progress from 1980-1991, and investigates their perception of the support they receive.

The methodology comprises: personal background and historical leadership role of Maryland: a theological foundation for women in ministry from the perspective of systemic grieving and transformation; an overview of the development of the ministry in the Baltimore diocese; a twofold appraisal of pastoral associates comparing the 1980 Simmons' survey and an updated 1991 questionnaire with corollary assessments and interviews with bishops, pastors, parishioners, and diocesan personnel.

The group surveyed were active members of the Pastoral Associates Association whose background, until recently, has been predominantly women religious. Survey results point toward changes in duties and responsibilities from earlier experiences of direct involvement in visiting parishioners to training parish ministers and more programmatic and pastoral leadership activities. Acceptance from parish and community groups have steadily increased while there have been varying degrees of support from bishops in the diocese. The work is viewed as satisfying and as an opportunity to use abilities creatively in a responsible position; yet, conversely, there is recognition of the position's flat career path. Although pastoral associates see their ministry from the perspective of Church as Servant, nevertheless, they desire equal partnership in ministry and a model of Church as Community of Disciples. They express interest and need for continuing education in collaboration with pastoral colleagues.
Degree Granting Institution
United States
Degree Granted
Doctor of Ministry
Type of Work
D.Min. Project
Number of Pages
Copyright Statement
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