Scholarships for women
“Now is the time for women to seriously commit to theological education… If people want to be involved in decision-making they must be informed and educated, speaking the same ‘language’ as those in positions of authority. Otherwise, what we have is a mere pretence of involvement, without any real authority.”
So says Dr Fáinche Ryan, lecturer in theology in the Loyola Institute TCD as she announced the details of two scholarships for women interested in studying theology, at an online event to mark St Brigid’s Day, Tue 1 February 2021.
The details of the Sisters Angèle-Marie Littlejohn and Bibiane Leclercq Scholarship and the Bridget Clancy Scholarships and a series of other scholarships are available on the Loyola Institute TCD website.
Read further below from Dr Fainche Ryan (photo: back row right) as she underlines the importance of educating women in theology, especially the work of women theologians.
The key to empowering women in the Church
‘Theological education key to women’s empowerment in the Church’. Thus the Pan-African Women’s Ecumenical Empowerment Network (PAWEEN) noted at a meeting in
Norway (2016). In his New Year’s sermon last year (2020) Pope Francis declared that women “should be fully included in decision-making processes” in the Church. The two go hand in hand.
If people want to be involved in decision-making they must be informed and educated, speaking the same ‘language’ as those in positions of authority. Otherwise, what we have is a mere pretence of involvement, without any real authority.
Theological education of women is key for the future flourishing of the Church, not only for women in the Church. Many studies show that investing in girls’ education transforms communities, countries, the entire world. Investing in theological education will transform the Church.
We are delighted to offer two scholarships, specifically for women. Thanks to the generous support of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles African women can apply for the Sisters Angèle-Marie Littlejohn and Bibiane Leclercq Scholarship, and due to the generous support of the Sisters of St John of God Irish women can apply for the Bridget Clancy Scholarship.
These are two excellent opportunities for women to travel further along the path of theological education, and truly to make a difference.
There is a second aspect, just as important, when it comes to theology and women: the study of women theologians. We have many in our tradition, but they are often overlooked. This week students on our MPhil in Christian Theology studied the Trinitarian theology of Catherine Mowry LaCugna (1952 – 1997).
There are many other women to study: Egeria’s record of her pilgrimage to the Holy Land impacted the development of Easter Week ceremonies globally, the works of the Doctor of Catherine Mowry LaCugna (1952 –1997) a feminist Catholic theologian and author of God For Us. LaCugna’s passion was to make the doctrine of the Trinity relevant to the everyday life of Christians. The Church Abbess Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179), the preaching women of the radical Beguine movement.
Leaving the last word to another Doctor of the Church, Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), Teresa suggests that if “one or two … fearlessly do what is best” things will begin to change. Now is the time for women to seriously commit to theological education.
Dr Fainche Ryan
Trinity College Dublin