New Fairfield University project supports Catholic women writing about faith and spirituality

New Fairfield University project supports Catholic women writing about faith and spirituality

An exciting new grant program at Fairfield University, entitled "Catholic Women Alive in the Spirit: Spirituality for the 21st Century," is underway and will support research and writing projects by and for Roman Catholic women. The resulting series of publications will provide an excellent opportunity for Catholic women to explore new ideas in theology and spirituality related to everyday life.

Fairfield University and Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities, Inc. (FADICA), a non-profit association working to strengthen Catholic life, worked together to secure funding for this grant program. To date, about $63,000 has been raised.

Dr. Elizabeth A. Dreyer, Professor of Religious Studies of the College of Arts and Sciences and program director, notes that throughout history, ideas about theology and spirituality have emerged primarily out of male experience, so it's imperative that women make their own contribution by exploring their experiences on these topics. Dr. Dreyer intends the series to offer support, creative ideas and hope as women share the specific ways they encounter God, and hear the call of the Gospel. There has been abundant interest in spirituality in the United States in the past three decades.

Dr. Dryer notes that there has been an incredible array of writings and activities, and it is timely that this material be complemented with a series by and for Catholic women, who make up 82 percent of non-ordained ministerial positions in the Church.

This program will invite Catholic scholars to produce literature on theological spirituality to share with the wider faith community.

The program will acknowledge, honor and express gratitude to women who seek creative spiritual support for their work in society, the home and the Church. "This is a series by and for Catholic women in a world context with serious global and ecumenical concerns," said Dr. Dreyer, who will administer the individual grants with Jean Marie Hiesberger of JMH Associates of Kansas City, MO, and Noel Appel, Director of Foundation Relations at Fairfield.

The project will engage women scholars to write short volumes on various topics aimed at assisting individuals, groups, and diocesan and parish leaders responsible for nurturing the spiritual growth of Roman Catholic women. Themes are likely to include spirituality for young adult women; women over 50; Latina spirituality, and work and family life. The publications will be aimed at a broad audience of women of faith.

Fairfield's choice to host this program fits in well with the Jesuit commitment to women. The project is also in tune with FADICA's commitment to enhance the role of the laity as leaders in the Church.

Fairfield University will serve as the institutional base for the administration of this grant over a two-year period, with hopes of continuing the work after that.

Posted On: 09-11-2006 10:09 AM

Volume: 39 Number: 28