Inspiring scholar gives insight to Latinas being the key to future of Roman Catholic Church

Lecture honors memory of Norwalk woman

Image: Natalia Imperatori-LeeFairfield University welcomes scholar Natalia Imperatori-Lee, Ph.D., on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. to speak to students and the community about how Hispanic Americans are greatly impacting many facets of the Church. Many observers agree Hispanics are key to the future of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, especially considering that most young Catholic Americans are Hispanic.

Free and open to the public, the event - the 14th Annual Anne Drummey O'Callaghan Lecture on Women in the Church - will be held in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room. The lecture honors the memory of O'Callaghan, a Norwalk woman who dedicated herself to religious education and was very active in the Diocese of Bridgeport. The event is co-sponsored by the O'Callaghan Family, Fairfield University's Department of Religious Studies, and the Center for Catholic Studies.

Dr. Imperatori-Lee, associate professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College in Riverdale, N.Y., will give a talk entitled, "Cuéntame: Counting (and Recounting) the Latino Presence in U.S. Catholicism."

"The talk will focus on shifting U.S. Catholic ecclesiology away from an expansionist/colonial model and toward a hemispheric model that accounts for the realities of a heavily Hispanic church - in numbers, in influence, in styles of worship and practice," Dr. Imperatori-Lee said. "The work of Latina writers and Latina theologians is vital to this task, and the talk will discuss how narratives (especially women's narratives) can usher in a new paradigm for American Catholic ecclesiology." 

Extensively published, Dr. Imperatori-Lee's most recent article, "Father Knows Best: Theological Mansplaining and the Ecclesial War on Women," will appear in the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion in January 2015. She is currently working on a book for Orbis Press on the importance of narrative in Catholic ecclesiology. Her research area is contemporary ecclesiology, including the impact of U.S. Latinos/as on the North American ecclesial landscape, and feminist theologies. She earned a Ph.D. in systematic theology from the University of Notre Dame.

For more information, call (203) 254-4000, ext. 3415, or visit

The 14th Annual Anne Drummey O'Callaghan Lecture on Women in the Church - "Cuéntame: Counting (and Recounting) the Latino Presence in U.S. Catholicism"

Natalia Imperatori-Lee, Ph.D., associate professor of religious studies, Manhattan College
Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Dolan School of Business Dining Room 

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

Posted on September 15, 2014

Vol. 47, No. 53

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