Sandra Schneiders: Religious Women and Expertise in Ministry

Theologian Sandra Schneiders has become one of the most cogent voices for articulating Catholic women religious’ life in the contemporary U.S.

Professor emerita at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif., and a member of Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Mich., Schneiders is speaking to a much larger audience than only nuns. For any Christian who is passionate about living the gospel and makes sacrifices to follow that call, Schneiders can help you understand your role in modern America.

For faithful women clustered around the cross and active in The Way, whatever your denomination, Schneiders has something to say to you about internal authority, mutual freedom, life in tension.

Schneiders recent speech titled The Future of Religious Life is addressing themes in the American Catholic church, but it conveys more broadly. Below is one section I found helpful in my own thinking, but I hope you’ll read and be encouraged by the whole article.

Increasingly, religious women have taken their expertise into ministries that, while still in continuity with those of the past and arising directly out of their communities’ charisms, are not ones most Catholics tend to associate with “the Sisters.”

Schneiders grouped them into four “clusters”:
*Social justice ministers focused on systemic or structural change, whose “theological glue” tends to be Catholic social teaching. These include social scientists, activists, lawyers, political and community organizers, economists and sociologists, urban farmers and legislators.

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