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Daughters of Wisdom: Women and Leadership in the Global Church

Held April 6-8, 2018, this 10th annual conference brought together lay and religious speakers from India, Uganda, Argentina, Singapore, Mexico, Venezuela, the U.S., and the Philippines. Topics included women's use of Scripture, the ecclesiological basis for women in Church leadership, and the leadership roles that women are already exercising in grassroots church communities, faith-based social movements, and theological education. 

Conference Speakers

​Keynote Speakers

Rosemary Nyirumbe, SSHJ (Gulu, Uganda)

  • Director of St. Monica Girls' Tailoring Centre serving girls formerly held captive by the Lord's Resistance Army
  • One of TIME's 100 Most Influential People of 2014

Melinda Roper, MM (Darién, Panama)

  • Past president of the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation
  • Longtime missionary within Panama's mestizo and indigenous communities
Video Message from Marguerite Barankitse (Kigali, Rwanda)
  • Founding president of the Maison Shalom network for orphans of Burundi's civil war
  • Inaugural recipient of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity

Roundtable Speakers

  • Maricarmen Bracamontes, OSB (St. Scholastica's Center for the Development of Women—Torreón, Mexico)
  • Agnes M. Brazal (De La Salle University—Manila)
  • James J. Carney (Creighton University—Omaha, NE, U.S.A.)
  • Rekha Chennattu, RA (Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth Pontifical Institute—Pune, India)
  • Tandiwe Lucia Chipoka (International Order of St. Luke the Physician—Harare, Zimbabwe)*
  • Emilce Cuda (Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina—Buenos Aires)
  • Neomi DeAnda (University of Dayton—Dayton, OH, U.S.A.)
  • Wendy M. Louis (Office of Laity & Family, Federation of Asian Bishops Conference—Singapore)
  • Charity Musamba (University of Zambia—Lusaka, Zambia)*
  • MarySylvia Nwachukwu, DDL (Godfrey Okoye University—Enugu, Nigeria)
  • Jeane C. Peracullo (De La Salle University—Manila)
  • Ahida Pilarski (Saint Anselm College—Manchester, NH, U.S.A.) 
  • Barbara Reid, OP (Catholic Theological Union—Chicago)
  • Maria del Pilar Silveira (Andrés Bello Catholic University—Caracas)
  • Niceta M. Vargas, OSA (Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University—Manila)
*Unable to attend due to extenuating circumstances; papers presented by session moderators.

Conference Sessions

​Friday, April 6


KEYNOTE PRESENTATION—Sewing Hope

Rosemary Nyirumbe, SSHJ
Moderator: Mary Jeanne Larrabee (Professor of Philosophy and Peace, Justice & Conflict Studies—DePaul University)

Saturday, April 7


ROUNDTABLE—Scriptures
  • Barbara Reid, OP—Reading the Bible with the Mind, Eyes, and Heart of a Woman
  • Rekha Chennattu, RA—Women's Leadership in the Church: Biblical Insights from an Indian Perspective
  • Ahida Pilarski—Challenging Hope: The Journey of Latin American Women in Theology & Biblical Studies
(Moderator: Victoria Agunod, MA Candidate in Women's & Gender Studies, DePaul University)

ROUNDTABLE—Ecclesiology
  • Agnes M. Brazal—Church as Sacrament of Yinyang Harmony: Toward a More Incisive Participation of Lay/Women in the Church
  • Neomi DeAnda—A Woman's Leadership in 17th-Century Mexico: A Model for Latina Leadership Today
  • MarySylvia Nwachukwu, DDL—The Rebekah Figure of Genesis 27: A Mirror to Understanding Women's Leadership in the African Church
(Moderator: Lilian Dube, Associate Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, University of San Francisco)

ROUNDTABLE—Grassroots Church Communities
  • Tandiwe Lucia Chipoka—Pillars of the Church
  • María del Pilar Silveira—The Marian Devotion Led by Latin American Women
  • Wendy M. Louis—Women's Leadership in BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities): Complex & Countercultural
(Moderator: Victoria Agunod, MA Candidate in Women's & Gender Studies, DePaul University)

KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONThe Wind Blows Where It Will (John 3)

Melinda Roper, MM
(Moderator: Lilian Dube, Associate Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, University of San Francisco)

Sunday, April 8


ROUNDTABLE—Faith-Based Social Movements
  • Jeane Peracullo—Catholic Women's Movements in Asia: Redefining Faith for the 21st Century
  • Emilce Cuda—The Woman and the People: A Symbolic Language in the New Populist Style
  • James J. Carney—Solidarity on the Streets: Catholic Women's Leadership in Modern Uganda
(Moderator: Mary Jeanne Larrabee, Professor of Philosophy and Peace, Justice & Conflict Studies, DePaul University)

ROUNDTABLE—Theological Education
  • Niceta M. Vargas, OSA—The Theological Education of Women in Leading Schools of Theology in the Philippines
  • Maricarmen Bracamontes, OSB—Women, Education, and Theology in Latin America and the Caribbean: An Initial Approach
  • Charity Musamba—Enhancing the Role of Catholic Women Lay Groups in Rural Zambia
(Moderator: Slavica Jakelic, Associate Professor of Humanities & Social Thought, Christ College at Valparaiso University)