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The Vatican and the Nuns

Date of Lecture: February 5, 2013

About the Speakers:

Sr. Jane MorrisseySr. Jane Morrissey is co-founder and executive director of Homework House, Inc., a free after-school tutoring and mentoring program for at-risk students with three sites in Holyoke and Springfield, Mass. A sister of Saint Joseph of Springfield, she is a former president of her congregation and has worked among the poor in several Latin American countries and closer to home in Springfield. She has studied at Oxford University and the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies in Toronto and earned her doctorate in English from the University of Massachusetts.

Sr. Donna MarkhamSr. Donna Markham is vice president of behavioral health services at Catholic Health Partners in Cincinnati. She is a past president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and former prioress and general councilor of the Adrian Dominican Congregation. She holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and has consulted at Mercy Hospital, Chicago, and served as special assistant to the president at Georgetown University.

The discussion was moderated by Virginia Ryan, visiting assistant professor of religious studies at Holy Cross.

About the Talk: Last year, the Vatican released a critical report on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella organization representing 80 percent of American sisters, citing "serious doctrinal problems" and "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith." It appointed a team of U.S. bishops to overhaul the sisters' governance and programs. The sisters rejected the takeover but have voted to open dialogue with the bishops and Vatican to seek a resolution. This panel discussion explores how the role of women religious has changed since Vatican II, investigations that led to the Vatican's report, the response of women religious worldwide, and the strategies in place to move forward. It also considers what we can learn from these events and what can we learn from women religious about discipleship in the Roman Catholic Church in the 21st century.

Watch the talk below or download it free from iTunes U.