Visions and Vocations

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Visions and Vocations

Visions and Vocations is collection of essays that are in time for the 2018 Synod on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment. The essays and articles are short and accessible to a non-academic readership, with a combination of theological reflections and more personal narratives on the Synod themes, written by an international range of contributors.

This is the second book published by Catholic Women Speak to coincide with a Synod of Bishops. The first book, Catholic Women Speak: Bringing Our Gifts to the Table, was published by Paulist Press in 2015 in time for the Synod on the Family.

More than 60 Catholic women and girls from 20 different countries shared their personal stories and theological reflections on themes relevant to the Synod. The book is intended to showcase the diversity of what it means to be Catholic and female in the modern world, and to raise awareness about the wisdom and insights that women would offer if they were full and equal participants in the formation of church teaching and practice. 300 copies of the book were made available in the Synod venue free of charge, as an invitation to the bishops participating in the Synod to engage more fully with women’s voices and to enter into dialogue and collaboration with women from different contexts and cultures. We were delighted when Cardinal Bo of Myanmar held up a copy of Visions and Vocations at a Synod press conference and said that he was reading it.


Gaya Lobo Gajiwala, “Am I Catholic Enough?”

Tina Beattie, “Women’s Cultures, Women’s Callings”

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.” (Lk 5: 37-38)

Mary McAleese (Ireland), “The Time is Now for Change in the Catholic Church”

Carolina del Río Mena (Chile), “Conversion and a New Consciousness: The Challenge of Women’s Equality for Sexuality, Society and Church”

Anne Arabome (Nigeria/USA), “In Search of Eternal Life: Reading the Scriptures through Women’s Eyes”

Colleen Hennessy (USA/Ireland), “Irish Women and a Church in Crisis”

Jennifer Reek (USA), “Standing on the Threshold: Where Do Women Belong in the Community of Disciples?”

Sara Parvis (UK), “What Young Catholic Women Should Hear”

 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. … God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”(Jn 4: 21-24) 

Ursuline High School, Wimbledon (UK), “A Letter to Pope Francis – from Ten Young Catholic Women, Ages 14-17”

Gayatri and Astrid Lobo Gajiwala (India), “’Feminine Genius’ and the Role of Women: An Indian Daughter and Mother in Conversation”

Zuzanna Radzik (Poland), “How a Visit to a Bookshop Changed My Life”

Giulia Galeotti (Italy), “A Church of Women: Memories, Frustrations and Hopes on the Journey of Life”

Mishal Francis (Pakistan/UK), “Fire in my Heart: A Young Pakistani Woman Discovers Her Vocation”

Leslye Colvin (USA), “Life, Freedom and Dignity: Reflections of a Black American Catholic”

Anna Kasafi Perkins (Jamaica), “Confessions of a Jamaican ‘Flatalik'”

Irim Sarwar (USA/UK), “Staying In, Struggling On: A Woman’s Pilgrimage from Islam to Catholicism”

Clare Keogh (Australia), “Everything is a Process: Learning to Live, to Change and to Grow”

Samantha Tillman (USA), “Does God Bless your Transsexual Heart?”

Gertrude Yema Jusufu (Sierra Leone), “My Story: Hoping for a Path that Leads to Life”

Johanna Greeve (Netherlands), “Living in Extra Time: A Journey from Despair to Hope”

Cristina Gangemi (UK), “A Space to Grow: The Church and Women Who Are Intellectually Disabled”

“For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matt 12: 50)

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jn 10: 10)

Emily Kahm (USA), “Sexuality and Discernment: Learning from the Stories of Young Catholic Women in the US”

Tina Beattie, “Staying In and Reaching Out: Interview with Ruth Hunt (Stonewall UK) and Jeannine Gramick (New Ways Ministry, USA)”

Nontando Hadebe (Southern Africa), “Whose Life Matters? Violence Against Lesbians and the Politics of Life in the Church” 

Julett Broadnax (USA), “Parenting Is Not For Cowards – Losing Greg”

Susan Harford (USA), “What Does It Mean to Mother?”

Revai Elizabeth Mudzimu (Zimbabwe), Motherhood as Mirage: The Role of the Catholic Church and African Culture in Shaping Zimbabwean Girls’ Vocation”

Martha Mapasure (South Africa), “I Mourn My Faith: A Single Mother’s Story”

Thérèse M. Craine Bertsch (USA), “Crossing Borderlines: Parish Friendships with Homeless Single Mothers and Their Children” 

Alison Concannon Kennedy (UK), “A Matter of Conscience: My Encounter with Abortion”

Alana Harris (UK), “The Writings of Querulous Women:” Dr Anne Bieżanek’s Catholic Birth Control Clinic”

Cristina Lledo Gomez (Philippines/Australia), “Adults for the Faith: Priesthood, Femininity and the Maternal Church”

“Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” (Lk 2:19)

“There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.” (Mk 15: 40-41)

Jeannine M. Pitas (USA), “Vocation: An Ongoing Journey”

Jessica Coblentz (USA), “The First Ten Years: Becoming a Woman Theologian”

Maeve Louise Heaney (Australia), “From the Particular to the Universal: Musings of a Woman Theologian”

Cettina Militello (Italy), “Seminaries and Priestly Formation: A Woman Theologian Reflects”

Jennifer (Jen) Owens-Jofré (Bolivia/USA), “Who Will Heal the Wounds of the Church? – Women’s Lay Ministry and Priestly Power”

Katie Humphrey (UK), “A Church that Welcomes Young People? – What a Difference a Priest Makes”

Ruth Fehlker (Germany), “I Sang the Exsultet: Representation Matters”

Marion Morgan (UK), “Affirming Laity: Women in Parish Life”

Ginny Jordan-Arthur (UK), “A Vocation to Hospitality: Reflections of a University Chaplain”

Sarah Pearce (UK), “Chaplaincy in a Women’s Prison” 

Catherine Cavanagh (Canada), “Hospitality and Hope: Reflections of a High School Chaplain”

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. (Matt 19: 29)

Madeleine Fredell (Sweden), “From Knowledge and Power to Wisdom and Authority: Religious Vocation in the Life of the Church”

Mary Deepika (India), “A Journey Towards Wholeness: Sharing the Fullness of Life with Poor and Marginalized Women”

Judith Barwick (Australia), “New Beginnings and the Reconciling Love of God: Why We Need the Third Rite of the Sacrament of Reconciliation”

Margaret Susan Thompson (USA), “I Came Because of the Sisters – and Stayed Because of the Sisterhood”

“Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.” (John 20:18)

“Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” (Luke 24:10-11)

Melissa Carnall (USA), “I am Called to be both Sister and Priest”

Cynthia (Sam) M. Bowns (USA), “‘Who I am Called to Be’ – my Vocation to the Diaconate”

Celia Viggo Wexler (USA), “Stories of Hurt and Hope: Women Called to Priesthood”

Colette Joyce (UK), “Women’s Ordination to the Priesthood – From Rejection to Vocation”

Kate McElwee (Italy/USA), “The Taboo of Women’s Ordination”

Sheila Peiffer (USA), “Musings in an Art Gallery: Responsibility, Freedom and Choice”

“Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?” (Luke 8: 25)

Melanie Newbold (UK), “Laudato Si’, Veganism, and the Interconnectedness of All Things”

Mary Colwell (UK), “Faith and Nature: Would Jesus Weep for an Eider Duck?”


Martha Pollard (UK), Poem – “The Feast of Saint Luke”

Product Preview

Format: Paperback book
Product code: PA154166
Dimensions: 5.4" x 8"
Length: 256 pages
Paulist Press
ISBN: 978-0-8091-5416-6
1-2 copies $20.66 each
3-5 copies $19.51 each
6+ copies $18.36 each
Written by The Catholic Women Speak Network