Professor Natalia Imperatori-Lee explores how dominant narratives about Catholicism in the United States often render the stories of its significant and growing Latinx membership, especially that of Latina women invisible or irrelevant. Few U.S. Catholics understand that Latinx/Hispanic Catholics encompass both the oldest Catholic inhabitants of this land and its newest arrivals. Through the literary and artist works of Latina women like Rosario Ferré and Yolanda López, as well as the popular faith practices such as the devotion to Guadalupe, Imperatori-Lee illustrates how the sensus fidelium subverts institutional notions of holiness and offers a more truthful, complicated, but wholistic understanding of the intuitions and holiness of the laity, in general, and women in particular.
Natalia Imperatori-Lee is Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College in the Bronx, NY, where she also coordinates the Catholic Studies program. She is the author of Cuéntame: Narrative in the Ecclesial Present (Orbis Books, 2018). Her work has appeared in Theological Studies and The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. A Cuban-American native of Miami, Florida, Imperatori-Lee has served on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Theological Society of America and the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the US. She lives in the Bronx with her spouse and two sons.
FutureChurch celebrates the life and witness of Anna Madre Bates with this prayer service for Mother’s Day. We celebrate the motherhood of Anna Bates, founder of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Detroit, MI and lament our Church’s failure to “mother” all her children, particularly Black Catholics. Our prayer is led by Vickey McBride with witnesses from Shirley Slaughter Harris and Dr. Kimberly Lymore.
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In the spring of 2012, the CDF, under the leadership of Cardinal Gerhard Müller, issued a statement accusing Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) of promoting “radical feminist themes” and “corporate dissent.” Most U.S. nuns vigorously rejected this misrepresentation as thousands of Catholics in the United States and around the globe rose up in their defense.
After the election of Pope Francis and the shift in priorities in Rome, on April 15, 2015, in a report issued jointly by officers of LCWR and the three bishops who had been mandated to investigate the group’s doctrinal orthodoxy, both sides agreed that the mandate had been accomplished and their conversations had “borne much fruit.”
Sr. Sandra Schneiders has written extensively about the impact of feminism as a comprehensive framework for the Catholic Church, Vatican II, and the prophetic nature of religious life. After the dust settled from the 2009 Apostolic Visitation, and more acutely, the 2012 Vatican investigation, Sr. Schneiders wrote that the upheaval ultimately strengthened the bond between women religious and helped them to define the feminist principles that served as a foundation for their work in the Church.
In her Madaleva Lecture, “With Oil in Their Lamps: Faith, Feminism, and the Future”, Sr. Schneiders extols the promise of a Gospel-informed feminism on the life of the Church and the work of the Gospel in the world. Yet, she holds no illusions about the inevitability of feminism’s impact. “We cannot predict the future, we can only create it.”
In her presentation for our Women Erased series, Sr. Scheiders will explore the questions surrounding feminism’s role and efficacy in the Catholic Church today.
Where have Catholic feminism(s) and Catholic feminists made inroads? What more can needs to be accomplished?
Does feminism, in general, and religiously committed feminism make a positive contribution to the future of the human family and our universe, or is it destined to be suppressed or fade away, leaving the world still structured by patriarchy, torn by violence, divided between the have and have nots, and driving by individualism, greed, and hedonism?*
*Schneiders, Sandra M., With Oil in Their Lamps: Faith, Feminism, and the Future (New York, Paulist Press, 2000), p 83.
Sandra M. Schneiders is professor emerita of New Testament studies and Christian spirituality at Jesuit School of Theology, Santa Clara University, Berkeley, Calif., and author of Prophets in Their Own Country: Women Religious Bearing Witness to the Gospel in a Troubled Church (2012), among other publications. She is a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan.
Sr. Schneiders was one of the first two nuns to receive a theology doctorate from a pontifical university after Vatican II, and went on to become the first non-Jesuit female professor to be tenured at JST. She is a pioneering, and often-cited theologian of St. John’s Gospel and in the field of “hermeneutics,” or how to interpret texts. She helped establish the country’s first doctoral program in Christian spirituality, at the Graduate Theological Union, and is a highly regarded and sought-after expert in Biblical studies and the modern-day theology and spirituality of women religious.
Her extraordinary life and work were featured last year in a gallery exhibit at Santa Clara University’s Learning Commons, and her professional papers have been donated to Santa Clara University’s official archives—the first collection of its kind at SCU.
Join Olga Marina Segura joins FutureChurch to discuss her book, Birth of A Movement: Black Lives Matter and the Catholic Church, Her presentation offers insights into the founding of the Black Lives Matter movement, the church’s involvement with slavery, and the Catholic Church’s response to the recent deaths of Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor.
Olga Marina Segura is a freelance writer and the opinion editor at National Catholic Reporter. She is the author of Birth of A Movement: Black Lives Matter and the Catholic Church, which will be published on February 17, 2021. You can pre-order here. Previously, she was an associate editor at America Media, where she wrote and solicited articles on race and culture. She is a co-founder and former co-host of the podcast, “Jesuitical.” Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Latino Rebels, Shondaland, Sojourners, Refinery29, and The Revealer. Prior to working at America Media, Olga was an intern at the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations. She graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Arts in Italian Language and Literature. She speaks Italian and Spanish fluently and was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
FutureChurch marks Good Friday with a special presentation of the Stations of the Cross, following Jesus’ passion and the Black Catholic women who bore that cross in pursuit of racial justice in the Church and society. As a sign of our commitment to learn, grow, and take up the work of anti-racism and our intention to be an example to other potential allies in the pursuit of racial justice, FutureChurch deliberatly chose to have white voices share these important stories.
Art of Janet McKenzie and Chloe Marie Becker used with permission. Visit:
Heidi Schlump, executive editor for the National Catholic Reporter, joins FutureChurch for this “Women Erased” series presentation to discuss the historically under-represented role women have played in choosing, reporting on, and analysing Catholic news in the Catholic media landscape. Presenting encouraging statistics, she also offers a path forward and vision for the future.
Biography: Heidi Schlumpf was named NCR’s executive editor in 2020, after serving as the publication’s national correspondent for three years. As national correspondent, Schlumpf did in-depth coverage on the influence of money in the church, sex abuse, politics, women’s issues, racism and young people in the church. Her work has included investigations into Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) and popular Catholic author Matthew Kelly. She previously wrote an opinion column for NCR for almost a decade. Schlumpf has three decades of experience covering religion, spirituality, social justice and women’s issues, having previously served as managing editor of U.S. Catholic magazine and as a reporter at Chicago’s archdiocesan newspaper and secular newspapers in California and Wisconsin. Her work has been published by CNN Opinion, Sojourners and Huffington Post. She taught journalism as an associate professor of communication at Aurora University in Illinois. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she also earned a master’s of theological studies from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary at Northwestern University, where she studied with feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether. She is the author/editor of three books, including Elizabeth A. Johnson: Questing for God (Liturgical Press, 2016), the Notre Dame Book of Prayer (Ave Maria, 2010) and While We Wait: Spiritual & Practical Advice for Those Trying to Adopt (ACTA, 2009). Schlumpf is based in Chicago, where she lives with her husband, Edmund, and their two children, and where she is a member of St. Gertrude Parish.
Join FutureChurch and other members of our community as we gather online on Sunday evenings at 7pm ET for Liturgy of the Word and Faith Sharing. We will pray together, listen to the readings, view the weekly preaching from Catholic Women Preach, and break out into small groups to respond to a question based on the readings or preaching.