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Subversive Habits Book Study

Join us as we take a deep dive into Dr. Shannen Dee Williams groundbreaking research, Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle. We will explore the lives, experiences, struggles, and advances Black Catholic women religious made in the long struggle for freedom.  This series will include prayer, study, and guest speakers.  Please join us for an exciting exploration of our Catholic history and the women who changed the course of our faith.

If you haven’t already registered, we invite you to catch up using the videos and materials on this page and to register using the link below and join us in the coming weeks.

Register for Remaining Sessions

Session One: Preface and Introduction

This first session covers the preface and introduction to Dr. Williams’ book. Deborah Rose, co-director of FutureChurch, provides a summary of the material and our guest, Sr. Anita Baird, DHM, offers her personal reactions.

View the Prayers, Questions, and Large Group Responses

Women Erased: Women in Second Temple Judaism

Dr. Amy-Jill “AJ” Levine presents this FutureChurch “Women Erased” session to clear up the popular, but false and toxic, perception that Jesus was a first-century feminist working to liberate Jewish women from an oppressive Judaism that made the Taliban look progressive. Professor Levine digs into the sources and what they reveal about women in Second Temple Judaism, reconstructing the lives of these women, and offering good news for women today.

Amy Jill Levine is Rabbi Stanley M. Kessler Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Hartford International University of Religion and Peace and University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies Emerita, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies Emerita, and Professor of New Testament Studies Emerita at Vanderbilt.

Articles for Further Reading:

Books for Further Reading:

2022 Mary Magdalene Virtual Liturgy

FutureChurch celebrates the 2022 Feast of St. Mary of Magdala. Our virtual liturgy, “Confronting Gun Violence” was led by Crystal Catalan with preaching from Kimberly Lymore, D.Min.

Dear friends, as we gather today
to celebrate the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene,
we do so in a world plagued by horrific violence of every kind
and still in desperate need of the Easter Good News
first proclaimed by Mary Magdalene some two thousand years ago.

Today, as we reckon with the violence raging around us,
and especially the gun violence that day after day, night after night,
claims lives, shatters families, and terrorizes communities, we remember that Mary – along with other women – remained with Jesus, keeping vigil as he suffered the horrific violence of the cross and left the safety of the upper room to anoint his broken body, and was blessed and sent forth to share the news of Resurrection.

And we pray for the same faith, strength, and courage to
bear witness, to stand vigil,
and to confront evil and violence in our midst.
That we too might become bearers of the Good News:
That light dispels the darkness, that truth exposes the lies,
That love conquers hate, that hope overcomes despair,
That death gives way to new life.

View/Download the Worship Aid

Plaque Replicas of Bronze Relief by Sister Margaret Beaudette, SC (1928-2017) available for purchase here.




The Crisis of Catholic Communications

David Gibson, longtime Catholic journalist and currently director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University, discusses his recent National Catholic Reporter article on the decision by the USCCB to shutter Catholic News Service and what it says about their financial priorities, their pastoral priorities, and the entire project of evangelization and communications.

David Gibson was appointed the director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham in July 2017, coming to New York’s Jesuit university after a long career as an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He’s also a convert to Catholicism, and came by all those vocations by accident, or Providence, working at the English Program at Vatican Radio in Rome in the late 1980s. He returned to the United States in 1990 and worked for newspapers in the New York area and has written for a variety of magazines and periodicals. He is the author of two books on Catholicism: The Coming Catholic Church: How the Faithful are Shaping a New American Catholicism, and The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World. Before coming to Fordham, Gibson worked for six years as a national reporter at Religion News Service specializing in coverage of the Vatican and the Catholic Church. Gibson is a frequent media commentator and op-ed writer on topics related to the Catholic Church and religion in America.

2022 Mary of Magdala Virtual Art Tour with Dr. Christine Axen

FutureChurch begins its 2022 celebration of the Feast Day of Saint Mary of Magdala with a virtual art tour, comparing artistic depictions of Mary Magdalene in the East and West and two homilies that helped to shape those cultural and artistic imaginations.

The misidentification of Mary as reformed public sinner achieved official standing in a homily delivered by Pope Gregory I (540-604). Henceforth, Mary of Magdala became known in the west, not as the strong woman leader who accompanied Jesus through a tortuous death, first witnessed his Resurrection, and proclaimed the Risen Savior to the early church, but as a wanton woman in need of repentance and a life of hidden (and hopefully silent) penitence. The Eastern church, however, never identified her as a prostitute, and honored her throughout history as “the Apostle to the Apostles.” Dr. Axen’s presentation explores how these disparate treatments influence artistic representations of Mary Magdalene.

Dr. Christine Axen, Ph.D. is a medievalist with a specialization in French religious history and female religiosity in the Middle Ages. She received her doctorate from Boston University, and currently teaches art history at St. John’s University in Queens, NY. She also gives guided tours of the Met Cloisters, the medieval branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and is interested in the depiction of women in medieval art, and the messages that art conveys about social order.


Opening Prayer
Closing Prayer

Dark Money in the U.S. Catholic Church


National Catholic Reporter’s Brian Fraga joins FutureCurch to speak on the web of “dark money” flowing from conservative and right wing sources to Catholic organizations in the United States. Several of these same donors have also funneled money to far-right groups that the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have described as white nationalist organizations. Some of those recipients worked to spread false information about election fraud and were involved in planning demonstrations that preceded the Jan. 6, 2021, assault at the United States Capitol.

Brian Fraga is a staff reporter at National Catholic Reporter. He covers news pertaining to the Catholic Church in the United States. He was previously a contributing editor at Our Sunday Visitor and has written for a variety of Catholic publications over the last decade. Brian was also a reporter for daily newspapers in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Mexico.

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Fertile Ground: The Synod, Vatican II, and the Future of the Church

Sr. Maureen Sullivan, OP joins FutureChurch for another engaging four-week series exploring Vatican II documents as the foundation for the 2023 Synod. As we get more familiar with the documents of Vatican II and engage in the synod process, we make the Second Vatican Council a greater reality today.

Dr. Maureen Sullivan is a Dominican Sister of Hope from New York and Professor Emerita of Theology at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. She received her master of arts in Theology from Manhattan College in the Bronx and her PhD in Theology from Fordham University, also in the Bronx. The Second Vatican Council, along with its impact on our Church, is at the center of her theological research. She has written two books on this topic: 101 Questions and Answers on Vatican II (2002) and The Road to Vatican II: Key Changes in Theology (2007), both published by Paulist Press.

Session One: Vatican II and Synodality

In this first session, Sr. Maureen provides a foundation, exploring Vatican II and synodality. Ongoing sessions will explore a number of Vatican II documents in depth and come to understand how Vatican II serves as the foundation for the upcoming Synod on Communion, Participation, and Mission. 



Session Two: Dignitatis Humanae and Synodality

In this second session, Sr. Maureen discusses the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Liberty – Dignitatis Humanae – and how it lays a foundation for the Synod on Synodality.



Session Three: Dei Verbum and Synodality

In this third session, Sr. Maureen discusses the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Divine Revelation – Dei Verbum – and how our understanding of Scripture and Tradition bolster a synodal vision of Church.


Session Four: The Legacy of Vatican II

In this fourth and final presentation, Sr. Maureen discusses the legacy of Vatican II as an unfolding reality that the Synod on Synodality continues today.




Women Erased: The Forbidden Call Screening and Conversation

FutureChurch hosted a special screening of THE FORBIDDEN CALL, a documentary short by AnaMichele Morejon. We were joined by AnaMichele and Diane Whalen, the film’s subject, for conversation and questions and answers following the screening. Because THE FORBIDDEN CALL is still in the festival circuit, we are unable to present the film itself. This recording, however, captures the conversation that follows.


Diane Whalen experienced a call to priesthood when she was very young and answered that call in whatever ways were available to her in parish ministries, as a Jesuit Volunteer, social worker, and spiritual director. She completed a BA in Religious studies, Masters in Social Work, MA in Ministry and D.Min in Spiritual Direction and continues her work of spiritual direction. She and her husband, Bill have been happily married for 45 years and have two adult daughters. Diane loves people and finds great joy serving Holy Wisdom Inclusive Catholic Community in Olympia, WA. Visit to learn more.

AnaMichele Morejon is a filmmaker from South Florida who is fascinated by stories of people who challenge the norm. A deep curiosity about the world motivates her creative work, which explores themes at the intersection of identity, belief, and modern culture. A recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University, AnaMichele currently executes online engagement strategy as an Assistant Producer for PatchWorks Films. Visit for more information about AnaMichele and her work.


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