Prominent theologian and director of Black Catholic Studies to deliver seventh annual Anne Drummey O'Callaghan Lecture


Jamie PhelpsSr./Dr. Jamie T. Phelps, O.P., director of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies and professor of systematic theology at Xavier University in Louisiana, will deliver the seventh annual "Anne Drummey O'Callaghan Lecture on Women in the Church" at Fairfield University on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 8 p.m. in the Kelley Theater of the Quick Center for the Performing Arts. The event is free and open to the public.

A member of the Adrian Dominican Congregation since 1959, Dr. Phelps is known as a woman committed to systemic change for social justice, founding several institutional programs to encourage a continued growth of theology and ministry in the black Catholic community. She is also a founding member of the National Black Catholic Sisters' Conference, founder of the Augustus Tolton Lay Ministry Program at Catholic Theological Union, and founder of the renewed Black Catholic Theological Symposium.

She has also served on the boards of several organizations such as the Catholic Theological Society of American and the Center for Research in the Apostolate.

Dr. Phelps has been the recipient of many fellowships and awards, including the Kujenga 25th Anniversary Award to honor her work on the Kujenga Youth Retreat in Chicago; the Distinguished Visiting Professor Fellowship from the University of Dayton; the Harriet Tubman Award for outstanding leadership from the National Black Sisters' Conference; the Adrian Dominican Academic Leadership Award from Barry University; the Thea Bowman Humanitarian Award from the Knights and Ladies of St. Peter Claver in Chicago; and numerous other honors.

A prolific writer, she is the editor of "Black and Catholic: The Challenge and Gift of Black Folk: Contributions of African American Experience and World View to Catholic Theology" and the author of more than 50 theological articles on issues of the mission of the Church, evangelization, inculturation, Christology and spirituality. These have appeared in scholarly books and journals, including "The Bible Today," "New Theology Review," "Theological Studies," "U.S. Catholic Historian," and "Spiritual Traditions for the Contemporary Church," among others.

Among the many courses she has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels are "The Church: Tradition and Challenges," "God in the Modern World," The Development of the Black Catholic Church in the United States," "Women in Religion: Women in Theology in Dialogue," "Christology," and "Contemporary Theology of the Church." She taught at many schools prior to her post at Xavier, including the University of Notre Dame, the University of Dayton, Loyola University Chicago, and the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where she completed a 12-year term as tenured Professor of Doctrinal and Mission Theology and Director of the Augustus Tolton Lay Ministry Program.

She has lectured throughout the country on many religious topics, including, "Redemptive Suffering: Loving Your Enemies," "Theological Underpinnings of Martin Luther King's Legacy," "Poverty in America and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development in Light of the Meaning and Mission of Jesus Christ," "Women As Peacemakers And Justice Seekers," "The Emergence Of Black Catholic Women: A Spiritual Journey of Liberating Consciousness" and "The Catholic Church in the 21st Century."

Dr. Phelps earned an M.S.W. from the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle and holds the designation of Certified Psychiatric Social Worker (C.S.W.) with the State of Illinois. She also holds a master's degree in theology from St. John's University, Collegeville, Minn., and a doctorate in systematic theology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Phelps will be participating in the Anne Drummey O'Callaghan Lecture on Women in the Church, a program that began in October 2001 in honor of O'Callaghan's dedication to religious education. A Norwalk resident, O'Callaghan served as youth minister and director of religious education at the St. Jerome and St. Joseph parishes. In honor of her interest in church history and the role of women in the church, this lecture series acknowledges the advanced role of women in the church and provides a forum for discussion of other religious issues.

For additional information, please contact Jocelyn Collen at (203) 254-4000, ext. 3415.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 24, 2007

Vol. 40, No. 53