Sr. Christine Schenk, CSJ, executive director of FutureChurch, to deliver a lecture at Fairfield University


"Women and the Word: Putting Women Back in the Biblical Picture at the 2008 Synod"

Sr. Christine Schenk, CSJ, executive director of FutureChurch, a national coalition of parish-centered Catholics working for full participation of all Catholics in the life of the Catholic Church, will deliver a lecture at Fairfield University on Wednesday, April 1, entitled, "Women and the Word: Putting Women Back in the Biblical Picture at the 2008 Synod."

The event, free and open to the public, is sponsored by Fairfield University's Center for Catholic Studies. It will take place in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business Dining Room, on the Fairfield campus, at 8 p.m. For more information, please call (203) 254-4000, ext. 3415.

Since 1990, Sr. Christine has led the Lakewood, Ohio-based FutureChurch, which educates Catholics about the seriousness of the priest shortage, the centrality of the Eucharist and the systemic inequality of women in the church. She has been instrumental in transforming a diocesan network of 28 parish councils and 100 parish leaders into a national organization reflecting the values of Vatican II. Among the many initiatives of the organization are four national dialogue projects: Women in Church Leadership, The Future of Priestly Ministry, Celebrating Women Witnesses, and the new Save Our Parish Community project designed to preserve vibrant parishes in a time of fewer priests.

Sr. Christine spearheaded a "Women and the Word" campaign leading up to the Synod on the Word, which was held in Rome in October, 2008. Catholic Bishops were urged to "put women back in the biblical picture" and restore women leaders, such as Mary of Magdala, to Lectionary texts from which they have been deleted. This effort included asking church leaders to invite women biblical scholars to the Synod on the Word. FutureChurch members were very encouraged when Bishops invited to the Rome Synod the greatest number of women ever to participate as auditors and biblical experts. Also, for the first time, the Synod "recognized and encouraged the ministry of women of the Word," and discussed the need to restore women's stories to the Lectionary. Sr. Christine will discuss these stunning developments at her Fairfield talk, as well as the international campaign that led to this new dialogue. She said, "We're encouraged that the Vatican did invite women experts to the Synod. Now we hope the Holy Father will agree to take another look at the Lectionary texts that completely delete women leaders or make them optional. We need to recognize the many "women of the Word" who played such important roles in our earliest history."

She has coordinated a number of national initiatives including an effort to restore awareness of St. Mary of Magdala as the first witness to the Resurrection and as a respected leader of the early church. This past summer, approximately 300 "Mary of Magdala" celebrations were held, including 22 international celebrations in Canada, Australia, Ireland, Uganda, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. Fairfield University's Center for Catholic Studies will host a "Mary of Magdala" celebration on Thursday, April 16 at 5 p.m. in the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius of Loyola, on the Fairfield campus.

A Sister of St. Joseph, Sr. Christine worked as a nurse midwife in Cleveland for 20 years. She earned a master's degree in theology with distinction from St. Mary's Seminary and Graduate School of Theology in Cleveland; a master's degree from Boston College and a B.S.N magna cum laude from Georgetown University.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726,

Posted on March 18, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 257

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