The Table

WOWlogo1As we get closer to the Women’s Ordination Worldwide conference, I’d like to highlight some of our speakers’ work and voices over a series of posts on the WOC blog. The roster of speakers continues to grow with familiar and some less familiar names, all bringing incredible research and unique insight to the Catholic Church and its reform movements.

I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know our speakers more, and share the invitation to join us at WOW 2015 with your networks. If you haven’t already, please register today.

Dr. Shannen Dee Williams

Shannen Dee Williams, Ph.D., is a scholar of the black Catholic diaspora and an assistant professor of history at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She is currently completing the manuscript for her first book, Subversive Habits: Black Nuns and the Long Struggle to Desegregate Catholic America, ​which unearths the forgotten history of black Catholic sisters in the fight to dismantle racial and gender barriers in the U.S. Church. In December of 2014, Dr. Williams, in a guest blog on Patheos, publicly criticized the U.S. Catholic theologians’ statement on racial injustice that initially excluded black women and girls as victims and opponents of state and vigilante violence.


Dr. Shannen Dee Williams

Daily Theology Blog: The Church is Not Yet Dead: An Interview with Dr. Shannen Dee Williams

Global Sisters Report: Forthcoming book documents history of black sisters in the U.S.

Pathos: Dear U.S. Catholic Theologians: Lives of Black Women and Girls Always Matter

Religion Dispatches: Dear Hollywood: It is time to start making films about real black Catholic nuns

We are honored to have Dr. Williams as a presenter during our academic seminar on Friday September 18th, with Drs Mary Hunt and Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza.

Entrevista a Teresa Forcades, impulsora i candidata de Procés Constituent

Sr. Teresa Forcades

Sr. Teresa Forcades, (keynote speaker)

Sr. Teresa Forcades is a Benedictine nun and a prominent activist for social justice. She is a medical doctor, has a master’s degree from Harvard and is a feminist theologian who has been reprimanded by the Vatican for supporting reproductive rights.

Sister Teresa has gained a huge international following through her criticisms of pharmaceutical companies and her political campaign for the region of Catalonia to gain independence from Spain.

In a recent statement on the situation for women in the Catholic Church, Sister Teresa describes it as ‘an institution in which patriarchy is rampant. All the decision-making is linked to something called ordination, and ordination is linked to something called gender.”

The Church is misogynistic and God is also a woman

The Hon Kristina Keneally, (speaker and panel moderator)

”I’m a Catholic Feminist and my Church needs me more than ever”  

The Hon Kristina Keneally, liberation theologian, Catholic feminist, and former Australian politician who was the 42nd Premier of New South Wales. Keneally will be a presenter and the moderator during the “Break the Silence” panel with male priests. 

A Catholic feminist is a bit like a conscientious objector. She loves what sits at the heart of her faith, and fights what she cannot, in good conscience, accept in her church.


The Hon Kristina Keneally

“Sometimes people ask me why I don’t just leave such an anachronistic institution and join a Christian church where women can have a say, serve as ordained minsters and formally contribute to theological and moral teachings. Sometimes I ask myself the same question. It’s not easy being a Catholic feminist – sometimes it is downright infuriating – but I love the sacraments and the liturgy of the Catholic church, and I love the value it places on scripture and tradition. Why should I abandon my expression of faith to the all-male hierarchy? Why not stay and advocate for a more inclusive church, better theology, and teachings more reflective of the lived experience of women?” 


An interview with Kristina Keneally on the upcoming Synod on the Family

imageRemember to register for the WOW conference! The invitation is open to all to stand in solidarity for gender justice in religion. Register here.

WOW’s third international conference is set to take place in Philadelphia from 18-20 September 2015. Advocates for women’s ordination from around the world will gather to celebrate, be inspired, and join together as we grow our movement and go forward.