Fordham Notes: Catholic Women and Ecological Theology

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Catholic Women and Ecological Theology

A recent article in The Atlantic spotlighted an unconventional group of Catholic nuns: “Green Sisters,” who live in self-sustaining agricultural communities and champion eco-justice. These communities represent a brand of environmentalism that is not only responsive to current ecological crises, but is also deeply spiritual, locating God within nature itself and requiring humans to be caretakers of the earth.

While some may consider such a lifestyle as remote in today’s consumerist society as the farmlands that these Sisters inhabit, many Catholic theologians are calling for greater attention to be paid to the natural world.

Next week, the topic of ecological theology will take center stage at Fordham’s ninth annual Rita Cassella Jones Lecture. This year’s lecture will feature Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Theology.

“So Much is in Bud”:
Catholic Women’s Contributions to an Emerging Ecological Theology
Monday, Oct. 28
6 p.m.
Tognino Hall | Duane Library | Rose Hill Campus

The presentation will explore Catholic ecology as it is grounded in women’s theology. In particular, Sister Johnson will examine how this thinking considers the natural world as kin, values the sacredness of the body, forges strong links between the alleviation of poverty and eco-justice, and rethinks divine immanence as the Spirit dwelling within ecological processes.

A prolific scholar and internationally known teacher and lecturer, Sister Johnson is the past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and the American Theological Society, and is the recipient of numerous honorary doctorates and awards for her contributions to academia and to the church.

She is a prize-winning author whose works include She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse (The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992) and Truly Our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints (Bloomsbury Academic, 2003). Her latest book, Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014), is forthcoming.

The annual Rita Cassella Jones lecture is sponsored by the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies and by the Jones family. The lecture explores women’s issues in the North American Catholic community.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Curran Center website.

— Joanna Klimaski

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