Book series calls women to holiness in everyday life




Elizabeth Dreyer, Ph.D., professor of religious studies at
Fairfield University, is the lead-off author and the general editor of a series of books being published over the next ten months under the theme, "Called to Holiness: Spirituality for Catholic Women." Her book, "Making Sense of God: A Woman's Perspective," is the first to be published, along with "Grieving With Grace: A Woman's Perspective," by Dolores R. Leckey and "Living a Spirituality of Action: A Woman's Perspective," by Joan Mueller. All are being published St. Anthony Messenger Press.

A long-time scholar of women's spirituality, Dr. Dreyer was in Palm Beach, Fla., three years ago at the annual conference of FADICA (Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities) where she talked about the need for more research and promotion of women’s spirituality. Thus were sown the seeds of the project which were nourished with funding from FADICA. "As laity, we have a responsibility to call each other forth in our journeys toward holiness," said Dr. Dreyer. "Women have always loved God, served others, and struggled to be holy, but the historical context has often been less than friendly in terms of women's dignity, acknowledgement of female gifts, and empowerment by church and society."

Other topics covered in the series include Latina spirituality, prayer, family life, finding one's voice as a young adult woman and women's middle years. The books encourage women to recognize and interpret their spiritual experiences and affirm their gifts within their communities. In addition to the books, there is a double CD of songs that may be used to accompany the rituals in each of the books. The selections were made by David Haas of GIA Publications in Chicago.

In pulling the project together, Dr. Dreyer and her associate editor, catechetical expert Jean Marie Hiesberger of Kansas City, Mo., polled Catholic women theologians from across the country for possible themes and authors, eventually narrowing the 30 suggested ideas to eight and confirming the authors.

While the series is grounded primarily in the Roman Catholic tradition," said Dr. Dreyer, "it is our hope that Christian women from many denominations will hear about the books, and benefit from reading them. The authors are committed to a truly ecumenical, global perspective."

In January 2009 St. Anthony Messenger Press will release "Embracing Latina Spirituality: A Woman's Perspective," by Michelle A. Gonzalez, and "Awakening to Prayer: "A Woman's Perspective," by Clare Wagner. In August 2009 the final three volumes in the series will be released: "Creating New Life, Nurturing Families," by Sidney Callahan, "Weaving Faith and Experience: A Woman's Perspective on the Middle Years," by Patricia Cooney Hathaway, and "Finding My Voice: A Young Adult Woman's Perspective," by Beth M. Knobbe.

For more on the series, go to www.CalledtoHoliness.org, an interactive website which features two articles per month by series authors, a link to communicate with authors, author bios and photos, reading guides for each book in the series, interviews with each author, reviews of the books, a schedule of author speaking events and free e-greetings based on the series.

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

Posted on October 7, 2008

Vol. 41, No. 86