Women Erased Series

Over the next several months, FutureChurch will host multiple online presentations which will uncover the many ways women's leadership, witness, and ministries have been erased from our Church's Scriptures and Lectionary, historical record and memory, and communities. These sessions, featuring leading Scripture scholars and Church historians, will not only name and explore the history, but also put forth resources for correcting the record and telling the true story of women's central role in shaping and spreading Christianity from its beginnings to today. 

Please use the registration form following the presentation descriptions to sign up to join us. 

Women Erased from the Lectionary

Wednesday May 6, 2020 at 7pm Eastern Time
The books, witnesses, stories, and accomplishments of Biblical women are disproportionately underrepresented in the assigned Scripture readings for the Church year. Some women are omitted entirely, others are only read at weekday mass, and still others are made "optional." Who are these women? And how can we recover their stories? Michael Peppard, PhD, associate professor of New Testament Studies at Fordham University, will offer insights from his research on the women of Romans 16 and previous studies of women omitted or made optional in the Roman Catholic Lectionary. Read Michael Peppard's Commonweal article, "Household Names: Junia, Phoebe, & Prisca in Early Christian Rome" by clicking here.  



Women Erased:  Reading the Bible "Against the Grain"

Thursday June 18, 2020 at 8pm Eastern Time 

For centuries, readers and interpreters of the Bible have traditionally read the text “with the grain.”  Many have sought to use the Bible for personal and spiritual enrichment and nourishment Today, however, we live in the twenty-first century globalized world, and if we want to achieve global justice, then we have to begin reading the biblical text “against the grain.” and interpreting it critically. New interpretation theories help us to see how cultures and cultural attitudes have shaped the Bible and how the Bible, as the most read book in the world, continues to shape and re-inscribe various oppressive cultural attitudes today that have had an effect on our political, social, economic, and religious institutions. In other words, how does one’s reading of the Bible and its use contribute to present-day patriarchy, kyriarchy, abusive hierarchy, racism, gender discrimination, heteronormatism, ethnocentrism, classism, ableism, anti-Semitism, imperialism, and marginalization in our world today? This presentation explores new ways of reading the “Scripture” “against the grain” and offers us new understandings of many of the stories and poems can become uncanningly “prophetic” to move us forward in our work for global justice. Included in our discussion is the topic of the gendering of “God” as we explore hegemonic power.  Professor Carol J. Dempsey, OP is an internationally recognized and award-winning scholar who teaches courses in Biblical Studies, specifically in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. With particular expertise in the Prophets, Professor Dempsey’s interests lie in a feminist and liberation approach to biblical texts, gender studies, biblical theology, literary and rhetorical criticism, and environmental/ecological studies. She teaches an introductory course in Bible as well as courses in the Prophets, Wisdom, Gender, Biblical Spirituality.   Prof. Dempsey is the author of eight books and the editor/co-editor of 12 books. The former Vice-President of the National College Theology Society, she serves on the editorial board of The Catholic Biblical Quarterly and Old Testament Abstracts. She is active in several professional societies and has lectured widely, both nationally and internationally. She is currently working on two commentaries on Isaiah among other contracted research projects.


Women Erased: In Search of the Majority

Tuesday July 14, 2020 at 8pm Eastern Time
Throughout the early (2nd-6th) Christian centuries, the lives of most women were lived in silence, while the few elite ascetic women got at least some attention. What about the rest? Dr. Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ, Catholic Professor of New Testament emerita at Brite Divinity School and past president of the Catholic Biblical Association, will explore the lives of these early Christian women, paying attention to how prevailing cultural norms and philosophies - not the gospel of Jesus - silenced them. 


Women Erased: Restoring the Memory of Black Catholic Women in Our Tradition and History

Thursday August 27, 2020 at 8pm Eastern Time
Black Catholic Women have been instrumental in shaping the life and faith of the Church, yet, our collective memory of their work, courage, challenge, generosity, and faith is too often made "invisible" in our Catholic education, Catholic liturgy, and Catholic art.  Sr. Anita Baird, a native of Chicago, IL,  and a member of the Religious Congregation of the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary will share the stories of some of the Black Catholic Women who challenged the Church, challenged their communities, and brought enormous change to this country as they stood against racism and for a more just Catholic Church and world.

Sr. Anita has served as Regional Superior of her community, Provincial Councilor, and most recently as United States Provincial.

She is a member of St. Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago where she has served in many different leadership roles including chair of the Spiritual Life Institute and as a member of the preaching staff. 

In 1997 Sister Anita became the first African American to serve as Chief of Staff to the Archbishop of Chicago. In 2000, Cardinal Francis George appointed her the founding director of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Racial Justice, which directed the Archdiocese’s initiatives to eradicate racism in its structures and institutions. Sister Anita also served as Cardinal George’s liaison for race relations to the city of Chicago.

Sister Anita has been recognized for her religious and community activism around the nation. In 2002 she gave the opening keynote address at the Ninth National Black Catholic Congress in Chicago. She is a past president of the National Black Sisters’ Conference and recipient of the organization’s Harriet Tubman “Moses of Her People” Award. Other honors include the NBC-5 Jefferson Award for outstanding community service and the Fresh Spirit Award in recognition of her outstanding spiritual and community leadership in the city of Chicago.

In May 2013 Sister Anita was awarded an honorary Doctor of Minister (D. Min) degree from Catholic Theological Union in recognition of her outstanding contributions in the work for racial justice in the Church and the city of Chicago.

Sister Anita’s first love is preaching God’s Word, which she has done around the country for more than a decade. Her motto of faith is “Do whatever He tells you.” Sister Anita strives to live her life listening to God’s word, acting upon God’s word, and doing whatever God instructs her to do!

Sister Anita earned a B.A. in Sociology from DePaul University, and an M.A. in Theological Studies from Loyola University Chicago.



***Additional presentations forthcoming. After registering just once below, we will send you updates about future presentations and links to join.*** 

Registration Form