Award-winning author Kristin Heyer to deliver Fairfield University's 10th Annual Anne Drummey O'Callaghan Lecture On Women in the Church

Kristin Heyer
Fairfield University's Anne Drummey O'Callaghan Lecture was established ten years ago to acknowledge and advance the role of women in the Catholic Church and provide a forum to converse on other important related religious issues. This year's lecture, taking place on Wednesday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m., will turn its attention to the experiences of two distinct groups of women: those who are engaged in political advocacy for national healthcare, and women who struggle to cope with their migrant status.

In a talk entitled, "Reservoirs of Hope and Resilience: Catholic Women's Witness," award-winning author Kristin E. Heyer, Ph.D., associate professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University, will share moving stories about the religious women aligned with NETWORK, a catholic social justice lobby, as well as the plight of migrant women. Ultimately, both groups of women serve as beacons of Christian hope, she said.

Free and open to the public, the event is co-sponsored by the O'Callaghan Family, Fairfield University's Department of Religious Studies and the Center for Catholic Studies. It will take place in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, on the Fairfield campus.

Dr. Heyer said of the topic: "I look forward to the opportunity to reflect with the Fairfield community about the witness of Catholic women in a historical moment ripe for their example of integrity."

At a time when temptations to despair abound in church, the witness of Catholic women offers a source of hope, she continued. By their lives, words and actions, these women stand up for the true and the good in the world and thus make visible to the larger community the compassionate face of God, especially in regards to poverty, hunger, war and injustice.

Thrust into the national spotlight by their role in the health care reform debate, the women of NETWORK have consistently brought their prophetic vision to Capitol Hill and beyond. They model integrity and a tireless commitment to defend the vulnerable. Migrant women witness to female resilience in the face of formidable challenges and exploitation.

Before joining the Santa Clara University faculty in 2009, Dr. Heyer was an associate professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University, which like Santa Clara, is a Jesuit institution in California. She received the College Theology Society's Best Book Award for "Prophetic and Public: The Social Witness of U.S. Catholicism" (Georgetown University Press, Moral Traditions Series, 2006). She co-edited (with Michael Genovese and Mark Rozell) the book, "Catholics and Politics: The Dynamic Tension between Faith and Power" (Georgetown University Press, 2008). She earned a Ph.D. in Theological Ethics from Boston College and an A.B. in United States History from Brown University.

The Anne Drummey O'Callaghan Lecture On Women in the Church began in October of 2001 with speaker Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J., Ph.D. This lecture honors the memory of O'Callaghan, formerly of Norwalk, who dedicated herself to religious education, especially as it relates to liturgy. She served as youth minister and director of religious education at both St. Jerome and St. Joseph parishes in Norwalk. Active on numerous catechetical boards and committees of the Diocese of Bridgeport, she was chair of BRED, the professional association of Bridgeport Religious Educators. She was particularly interested in church history and was passionate about the role of women in the church.

For more information about this event and the Center for Catholic Studies, please visit or call (203) 254-4000, ext. 2364.

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

Posted on September 14, 2010

Vol. 43, No. 44

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