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Sister Antona Ebo

Sister Antona Ebo. On Sunday March 7, 1965, Alabama state troopers and local police beat and bloodied civil rights activists who had begun a 50-mile march from Selma to Montgomery, the state capital. Immediately following the “Bloody Sunday” attack, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. issued a call for church leaders around the country to come to Selma and to join in the struggle for civil rights. On March 10th, Sister Antona Ebo, a Franciscan Sister of Mary, took off from Saint Louis, Missouri to Selma on a chartered plane that she jokes had been pulled out of mothballs. On March 11th the cover of The New York Times featured a photo of Sister Antona marching alongside other protesters. That photo would become an iconic image of the struggle for voting rights.

Download our resource to learn more. Resources included in this download:

  • Educational resources: A Biography of Sister Antona Ebo with questions for reflection and discussion; More Black Catholic Women Witnesses of Mercy with questions for reflection and discussion; A brief history of African-American Catholics; The Black Lives Matter Movement and Catholics: Two Scholars Speak Out; Black Catholic Sisters in the United States: A Historical Reflection by Shannen Dee Williams; and Excerpts from Catholic Social Teaching on Race and Racism with questions for discussion and reflection
  • Be a Witness of Mercy: Resources for learning and doing
  • Prayer Resources: Stations of the Cross: Black Catholic Women Give Witness
  • Original Art by Marcy Hall, commissioned by FutureChurch


Sr. Helen Prejean

Sister Helen Prejean is perhaps the world’s most widely known opponent of the death penalty. Her book, Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States remained on the New York Times best-seller list for 31 weeks and was an international best seller, having been translated into ten languages. The book would also become the basis for a major motion picture and an opera. Prejean’s work has taken her around the world for speaking engagements, earned her numerous awards, and brought her into personal conversation with presidents, U.S. Supreme Court justices, prime ministers and popes.

Download this resource packet to learn more. Includes:

  • Educational resources: A Biography of Sister Helen Prejean, Death Penalty Fact Sheet, The Death Penalty in Recent Catholic Thought, Excerpts from a letter to Pope John Paul II by Helen Prejean, Discussion/Reflection Questions on Helen Prejean’s Ministry and the Death Penalty, Movie Discussion Guide for Dead Man Walking
  • Prayer Resources: Prayer for Justice by Sister Helen Prejean and an entire Prayer Service, inspired by Sister Helen, for transforming society
  • Be a Witness of Mercy: Resources and Ways to Get Involved
  • Original Art by Marcy Hall, commissioned by FutureChurch



Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan & Dorothy Kazel

The destinies of Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan and Dorothy Kazel were joined together in just the last months of their lives. Murdered together by National Guardsmen in El Salvador in 1980, their deaths became a martyrdom for the church of the poor in El Salvador and for thousands of Christians in the United States.

Learn from and about these extraordinary Witnesses of Mercy who gave their lives in service to and solidarity with the poor of El Salvador during a vicious and unjust civil war

Download includes:

  • Educational Resources: The stories Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Jean Donovan and Dorothy Kazel, “What is Mercy? Lessons from El Salvador” with discussion questions, Article on solidarity with connections to Scripture and Catholic Social teaching as well as discussion questions
  • Prayer Service Honoring Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Jean Donovan and Dorothy Kazel
  • Original Art by Marcy Hall, commissioned by FutureChurch


Our Lady of Guadalupe Resource

Our Lady of Guadalupe calls those with political and ecclesiastical power to leave their palaces, move to the periphery and standd with the poor and the marginalized. Like Jesus, her presence and those of her followers are signs of God’s healing and justice. In this packet you will learn about the history of Mary from the early Church to the twentieth century and discover the empowering traditions of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

This resource download includes:

  • Mary Through History — An easy-to-read examination of Marian thought and art from the Early Church through Today
  • Outline and Discussion Questions to host your own four-session series on Mary of Nazareth
  • Articles examining the history, tradition, art, and symbolism of Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Slide Presentation on Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Prayer Service Celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Ideas for celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe in your community


Tell us, Mary, what you saw on the way – with Elizabeth Johnson

On April 14 and 21, 2015, long-time FutureChurch member and Mary Magdalene advocate, Rita Houlihan, organized and sponsored two lectures at Fordham University by none other than Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, who went about setting the record straight about Mary of Magdala.

Sr. Johnson immediately got to the heart of the  issue stating, “Mary of Magdala was one of Jesus’ most influential apostles-and she was not a prostitute. Mary kept vigil at the cross throughout Jesus’ crucifixion, discovered the empty tomb after Jesus’ resurrection, and was then commissioned to ‘go and tell’ the good news.”

The problem began in 591 when Pope Gregory characterized Mary of Magdala as a repentant prostitute, a label that “stuck” eclipsing her important leadership and apostolic roles, even today.”Making her a prostitute has allowed her leadership role among the disciples to be generally forgotten,” said Dr. Johnson.  “For those who prefer a Church with an exclusively male hierarchy, it is easier to deal with her as a repentant sinner than as an apostolic woman who had a voice and used it.”

To that we say, “Amen, Sister.”

View on Fordham’s Site

Download the handout from this event.

Easter Gospel Restoration

Our Easter Sundays will be complete only when we hear and receive the full Resurrection message and recover women’s leadership along the way.

Currently, the Standard Roman Catholic Lectionary calls for only the first half of John’s resurrection narrative (John 20:1-9) on Easter Sunday morning. Verse 10 is never read and the rest of the narrative (verses 11-18) is not read on any Sunday — but instead is read on Easter Tuesday. Years ago, the days of Easter Week were holy days of obligation, and so all Catholics would have heard John 20:11-18 on Easter Tuesday. Yet, because Easter Tuesday is no longer a holy day of obligation, the vast majority of Roman Catholics never hear John’s full resurrection narrative as told in 20:1-18 and never hear the story of Mary of Magdala’s witness of Jesus’ resurrection nor Jesus commissioning her to deliver the news of his resurrection to the community.

In Canada, the entire narrative is read on Easter Sunday. In 1992 the Canadian Catholic Bishops updated their lectionary to include John’s full resurrection story. This amendment restored the story of the Apostle to the Apostles to its prominent role in the lectionary. Thus Canadian Catholics hear the whole story and learn from Jesus’ example of inclusive ministry and his faith in the leadership of women.

John 20:10-18 is significant because it makes clear that only Mary of Magdala was in the garden with Jesus and that she was directly commissioned as the primary apostolic witness to the community. It is John’s account of Jesus’ inclusive model of leadership that most strikingly and without reservation portrays Mary of Magdala, a woman, as the primary witness of the resurrected Jesus and the first one commissioned by him to “go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and yourFather, to my God and your God’ (Jn 20:14-17).”

Download our Gospel Restoration Project to help bring the whole Easter story to your community!


Dorothy Day

Thanks to this woman known as ‘the conscience of American Catholicism’ many Catholics now know the power of nonviolent resistance and direct action in opposing injustice. What is less well known is that her conversion happened as a result of the birth of her child: “No human creature could receive or contain so vast a flood of love and joy as I often felt after the birth of my child. With this came the need to worship, to adore. I came to know God.”

Essay by Stephen Krupa, SJ;  Prayer by Christine Schenk, CSJ



Clare of Assisi

Clare Offreduccuo (1193 -1253) was born into a wealthy aristocratic family in Assisi. An attractive noblewoman she was expected to improve the fortune of her family by marrying into one of even greater influence. Clare instead “gave the world a bill of divorce.” At age 18 she set forth on a radical path that most women of her position dared not choose.

Essay and Prayer by Sr. Francis Therese Woznicki SSJ-TOSF