Roehampton academic brings women’s voices to the Synod in Rome

  • Sunday, October 21, 2018

Visions and Vocations, a book curated by Professor Tina Beattie, has been published to coincide with the male-dominated Synod of Bishops, to give voice to the diversity of Catholic women from around the world.

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The second book in the Catholic Women Speak series showcases what it is to be a Catholic woman today, as part of a global conversation about gender. The book Visions and Vocations, which was launched in Rome on 1 October 2018 to coincide with the opening of the Synod of Bishops, consists of writings from over 60 women, both academic and non-academic, reflecting the wealth of experience and the diversity of opinions of Catholic women from different backgrounds.

A small number of women are invited to participate in the Synod but they are not permitted to vote.  This book has empowered women to make a contribution to the Synod theme of “Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment”. It is a unique celebration of diversity within Catholic publications in that it offers such a range of multi-cultural insight into Catholic women’s stories and reflections, including accounts from women who have been marginalised through race, sexuality and identity, and those who have not.

For the launch, Professor Tina Beattie, of the University’s Humanities department, raised nearly £40,000 to bring contributors and speakers to the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome, while others funded their own journeys. Participants included more than 50 members of Catholic Women Speak, a global forum founded by Professor Beattie to increase the prominence of women’s voices in the Catholic Church.

Tina Beattie said, ‘This is a unique publication that contains writings of over 60 women from 20 countries, with ages ranging from 14 to 85, and both academic and non-academic voices. Contributors include a Jamaican Catholic woman writing on Rastafarian culture, a Black Catholic woman from the American South where Black Catholics constitute a small minority of the Christian population, a transgender woman, the CEO of Stonewall and other LGBT campaigners’.

The previous award-winning collection, Catholic Women Speak: Bringing Our Gifts to the Table, was published in 2015, and focused on the topic of family, the theme of that year’s Synod. You can find out more about Visions and Vocations and read extracts from the book on the website of Catholic Women Speak.

Catholic Women Speak is an online forum for theological dialogue and collaboration, administered by the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Catholic Studies, part of the University of Roehampton. The University offers a variety of courses in the Humanities, including courses in Theology and Religious Studies.