Beyond the Altar: Canadian Women Religious Confront Patriarchal Power in the Roman Catholic Church

This lecture will illustrate how Ontario-based Canadian women religious overcome sexist subjugation by side-stepping the patriarchal power of the Roman Catholic Church. Experiential accounts will counter the stereotypical image of Catholic nuns as being loyally compliant with the Church. We will meet women religious who challenge their institutional religion’s precepts and engage in transformative strategies to effect change both within and outside the Roman Catholic Church. We will learn what women religious have both endured and accomplished through their resourcefulness, resilience and resistance. These Canadian sisters indomitably, strategically, and sometimes subversively, innovate their spiritual spaces.



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CHRISTINE GERVAIS (PhD Sociology) is an Associate Professor in Criminology in the Faculty of Social Sciences and a member of the Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory on the Rights of the Child in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. Her teaching and research areas include children’s and women’s rights in Latin America, social justice, the collateral consequences to relatives of youth who sexually offend, as well as gender-based discrimination and criminalization in religious institutions. Her interdisciplinary studies have been published in Signs, Sociology of Religion, Religions, Review of Religious Research, Canadian Woman Studies, Journal of International Women’s Studies, Children & Society, Journal of Youth Studies, Child Abuse & Neglect and the Journal of Family Violence. She is the author of the recently published book, Beyond the Altar (Wilfrid Laurier University Press).

Friday, December 7, 2018 - 7:30pm
Vanstone Lecture Hall, St. Jerome's University Academic Centre