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Driven Toward Madness with Professor Nikki Taylor

Dr. Nikki M. Taylor, Ph.D. joins FutureChurch for this Women Witnesses for Racial Justice presentation on her book Driven Toward Madness: The Fugitive Slave Margaret Garner and Tragedy on the Ohio. In her presentation, Dr. Taylor shares the story of Margaret Garner and the trauma that enslaved women experienced. She also discusses the process of writing the book, both academically and personally.


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Professor Taylor specializes in 19th century African American History at Howard University. Her sub-specialties are in Urban, African American Women, and Intellectual History. Educated at the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Duke University (MA, PhD, Certificate in Women’s Studies). Dr. Taylor has won several fellowships including Fulbright, Social Science Research Council, and Woodrow Wilson. She is also the Principal Investigator of two institutional grants, including the $5 million Mellon Just Futures grant (2021) and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program Grant ($480k in 2017) Nikki M. Taylor is currently completing her 4th monograph, “‘Brooding Over Bloody Revenge:’ Enslaved Women, ‘Wild Justice’ and Lethal Resistance to Slavery.” The manuscript examines enslaved women who used lethal violence to resist slavery from the colonial to antebllum eras, challenging all previous interpretations about the nature of their resistance.  

Her first book, Frontiers of Freedom: Cincinnati’s Black Community 1802-68 (2005) uses the backdrop of one of the nineteenth-century’s most racist American cities to chart the emergence of a very conscientious black community–a community of people who employed various tactics such as black nationalism, emigration, legislative agitation, political alliances, self-education, and even armed self-defense to carve out a space for themselves as free people living in the shadow of slavery.

Professor Taylor’s second book, America’s First Black Socialist: The Radical Life of Peter H. Clark (2013), is a political and intellectual biography of one of the foremost African American activists, intellectuals, orators, and politicians in the nineteenth-century–a man whose name once was spoken in the same breath as Frederick Douglass, Dr. McCune Smith, and John Mercer Langston. This book charts Clark’s journey from recommending that slaveholders be sent to “hospitable/ graves,” to advocating for a separate black nation, to forging alliances with German socialists and labor radicals, to adopting the conservative mantle of the Democratic Party.

Driven Toward Madness: The Fugitive Slave Margaret Garner and Tragedy on the Ohio (2016) is Dr. Taylor’s third monograph. This book is a biography of Margaret Garner, an enslaved wife and mother who, along with her entire family, escaped from slavery in northern Kentucky in 1856. When their owners caught up with the Garner family, Margaret tried to kill all four of her children–and succeeded in killing one–rather than see them return to slavery. Using black feminist and interdisciplinary methodologies, this book tetells this harrowing story from the perspective of Margaret Garner–a woman who could not read or write and left little of her own voice in the historical record. Ultimately, Driven Toward Madness examines why this fated act was the last best option for her as an enslaved mother. Inspired by Garner’s story, Dr. Taylor’s current research is about enslaved women who used armed violence to resist slavery.


A Post-Benedict, Post Pell with Paul Collins

Historian, writer, and commentator Paul Collins joins FutureChurch to share his insights on the legacies of Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal George Pell and what the future holds in a post-Benedict and post-Pell Church.

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Biography: Born in Melbourne and now living in Canberra, Paul Collins is an historian, broadcaster, and writer. For many years he has worked in varying capacities in TV and radio and has written regularly for most of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines, as well as for print media in the UK, the United States, Germany, and Austria. He has a Master’s degree in theology (Th.M.) from Harvard University, and a Doctorate in Philosophy (Ph.D) in history from the Australian National University (ANU), and is a Fellow of Trinity College of Music, London. He is the author of fourteen books and in March 2001 he resigned from the active priestly ministry of the Catholic Church after thirty-three years service due to a doctrinal dispute with the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith over his book “Papal Power (1997).” While he is well known as a commentator on Catholicism and the papacy, he also has a strong interest in environmental and population issues. Nowadays he works as a freelance writer, speaker and broadcaster on environmental issues, social ethics, theology, history and media.

Screening of The Women Fighting to Be Priests with Guest Father Anne

On International Women’s Day 2023, FutureChurch hosts a screening of the BBC documentary “The Women Fighting to be Priests” with special guest Father Anne Tropeano. This recording includes Fr. Anne’s opening remarks and the Q&A session following the screening. To view the film, visit the BBC YouTube Page:

Father Anne, born Anne Tropeano, was ordained on October 16, 2021 in Albuquerque, NM through the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests and is now an independent Roman Catholic priest. She has a deep love of the Society of Jesus and Ignatian spirituality, which blossomed over twelve years of ministering with Jesuits. She earned a Master of Divinity from Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA, and has worked in several parishes in the Jesuits West Province. To learn more about Father Anne, visit her website at


Professor Mark Newman Discusses “Desegregating Dixie”

In honor of Black History Month, FutureChurch hosted Professor Mark Newman of the University of Edinburgh to discuss desegregation and the Catholic Church from his book, Desegregating Dixie: The Catholic Church in the South and Desegregation, 1945-1992.

Winner of the 2020 American Studies Network Book Prize from the European Association for American Studies, Mark Newman draws on a vast range of archives and many interviews to uncover for the first time the complex response of African American and white Catholics across the South to desegregation.

CLICK HERE for a transcript of his remarks on February 23, 2023.

CLICK HERE for a link to a Cambridge Journal article he wrote about the Vatican’s role in Desegregation.


Mark Newman received his PhD from the University of Mississippi and is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Higher Education Academy. His book Getting Right with God: Southern Baptists and Desegregation, 1945-1995 won the Lillian Smith Book Award for nonfiction from the Southern Regional Council, the American Studies Network Book Prize from the European Association for American Studies, and the Anne B. and James B. McMillan Prize from the University of Alabama Press, and the book Desegregating Dixie: The Catholic Church in the South and Desegregation, 1945-1992 the American Studies Network Book Prize from the European Association for American Studies.  His article “The Catholic Church in Mississippi and Desegregation, 1963 – 1973” won the Willie D Halsell Prize from the Mississippi Historical Society, the article “Toward ‘Blessings of Liberty and Justice’: The Catholic Church in North Carolina and Desegregation, 1945-1974” received the R. D. W. Connor Award of the Historical Society of North Carolina, and the article “The Catholic Church in the Diocese of Galveston-Houston and Desegregation, 1945-1984” won the Paul Foik Award from the Texas Catholic Historical Society. His research interests include Twentieth century United States: African American history, the civil rights movement, and religion and race relations in the US South.


Sr. Anita Baird Introduces “Going Home Like a Shooting Star”

Speaking prior to a FutureChurch viewing of the documentary, “Going Home Like a Shooting Star: Thea Bowman’s Journey to Sainthood,” Sister Anita Baird, DHM offers remarks and reflections on her own experience and relationship with Servant of God, Sr. Thea Bowman. FutureChurch hosted the viewing in celebration of Black History Month as a part of its Women Witnesses for Racial Justice series.

Watch the Documentary

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Women Erased: The Historical Development of Complementarity

Professor Mary Anne Case joins FutureChurch for this “Women Erased” presentation, which focuses on the historical development of Complementarity and the Marian and Petrine principles.

In a recent interview with America Magazine, Pope Francis reaffirmed the church’s embrace of complementarity’s constructs — the Marian and Petrine principles — for organizing ecclesial life, ministry, and governance.   The language and framework he cites is a rather recent invention in the history of the Catholic Church.  Professor Case offers an overview of the history, timeline, as well as the nuances of papal thought on the topic.

Professor Mary Anne Case is the Arnold I. Shure Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

View/Download the Transcript

Synod Continental Discernment Session

Participants came together in prayer, to listen, dialogue, and discern if the Continental Phase Document authentically reflects our concerns, hopes, and priorities for the future of the Church.

Read the letter we submitted to the North American Synthesis Writing team based on your input.

Session One: Toward a Missionary Synodal Church

FutureChurch hosts the first of two sessions dedicated to discerning the contents of the Synod Continental Phase Document, Enlarge the Space of your Tent. After song, scripture, and prayer, FutureChurch co-director, Deborah Rose offers a summary of the context of the document and the contents of section three, “Towards a missionary synodal church.”

“All Are Welcome” by Marty Haugen. Copyright 1994 by GIA Publications Inc. Music displayed and streamed with permission under OneLicense #A-737115.

Additional Resources:

  • Continental Phase Document Read More. (It would be very helpful to read Section III as completely as possible)
  • Highlights and notes from Section I, II, and III of the Continental Phase Document (Deb Rose’s slides) Read more
  • Summary of FutureChurch Synods Sessions – What Our Participants Said. Read more
  • In Our Own Words Full Synod Report Read more
  • Prayers used for this session Read more
  • FutureChurch Questionnaire (now closed)

Session Two:

FutureChurch hosts the second of two sessions dedicated to discerning the contents of the Synod Continental Phase Document, Enlarge the Space of your Tent. After song, scripture, and prayer, FutureChurch co-director, Deborah Rose offers a summary of the responses provided last week’s participants and invites participants to discern the three questions asked of the Synthesis drafting team:

  • Which intuitions resonate most strongly with the lived experiences and realities of the Church in your continent?  Which experiences are new or illuminating to you?
  • What substantial tensions or divergences emerge as particularly important in your continent’s perspective?  Consequently, what are the questions or issues that should be addressed and considered in the net steps of the process? 
  • Looking at what emerges from the previous two questions, what are the priorities, recurring themes and calls to action that can be shared with other local Churches around the world and discussed during the First Session of the Synodal Assembly in October 2023?

“Sing a New Church” by Delores Dufner, OSB, © 1991, The Sisters of St. Benedict. Published by OCP. All rights reserved. Music: J. Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music, Part II, 1813. Music displayed and streamed with permission under OneLicense #A-737115.

Additional Resources:

  • Continental Phase Document Read More.
  • Overview of participant responses to week one (Deb’s slides) Read more
  • FutureChurch Questionnaire (Now Closed)
  • Opening Scripture and Prayer Read More.


Respect Women: A Catholic Plan for Justice with Emily Reimer-Barry, Ph.D.

Emily Reimer-Barry, Ph.D. presents FutureChurch’s first Respect Women Lecture. In her presentation, Dr. Barry addresses obstacles to women’s full participation in the leadership and decision-making of the Church and the justice consequences of such exclusion. She also presents an action plan for structural change and the full inclusion of women.

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Dr. Emily Reimer-Barry is an associate professor and the chair of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego. She teaches courses in Catholic theological ethics, including sexual ethics, feminist ethics, war and peace, and ethical responses to HIV and AIDS. Reimer-Barry’s research explores the intersection of sexuality and social justice. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.A. 2000), Weston Jesuit School of Theology (M.T.S., 2002), and Loyola University Chicago (Ph.D., 2008).

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