Hedgerow Initiative - Spring 2013

The Hedgerow Initiative offers sustained, systematic programming in feminist theological education, spiritual integration, and leadership for a just and holy world. In a particular way, the Initiative highlights the scholarship of women who since the 1950s have worked to reclaim women’s presence and significance in scripture, church, history, theology and culture. The Initiative takes its name from the hedgerow schools in Ireland that kept alive the language, faith, culture and community of the people during the time of the British penal codes. A hedgerow is a biosphere and a haven.

Women & Christianity

Mondays, February 18 through May 6, 6:30-8:30pm

Women have never been absent from history in the making, but until the rise of the women’s movement, often from its telling. This 12-week seminar reweaves Christian history with her stories of vocation, courage, compassion, and wisdom, using Mary T. Malone’s three-volume work Women & Christianity. How do women find their voices, claim authority, act creatively, confront, and participate in the challenges of their times? What are their legacies? What do their lives inspire in us who seek God today? Where have women found the movement of the Spirit? What do these leaders, visionaries, mystics, and activists have to tell us about their journeys and ours?

Weekly topics:

February 18 - Women of the New Testament and Gnostic Writings
Disciples, Apostles, Prophets, Deacons, House Church Leaders

February 25 - Women of Courage and Community in an Age of Persecution (Martyrs, Deaconesses, Widows, Virgins)

March 4 - Queens and Abbesses, Light in the Dark Ages (Marriages mix culture and religion; monasteries make places for learning, security, and prayer. Clotilde, Hilda, Brigid)

March 11 - The 1200s: Great Women of a Century Not for Women (Marriage and celibacy in the Gregorian Reform; the creativity of Hildegard, Doctor of the Church, and other visionaries; Eleanor of Aquitaine)

March18 - Activists Rising, Women Challenging Church (Beguine Spirituality; Marguerite Porete, First Burned / Two Remarkable Convents: Helfta and Assisi)

March 25 - Catherine of Siena, Preacher, Doctor of the Church (Catherine keeps preaching with authority without authorization)

April 1 - Women on the Edge: Heresy and Prostitution (Recluses and Pilgrims: Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, The Virgin Mary and Mary of Magdala, their Medieval Legends)

April 8 - Women and the Reformation (What happens to women in marriage, in unions of unequals? How does reform take hold for everyday Christians? Teresa of Avila and Catholic Reform)

April 15 - New Circles of Women in Action: Catholic and Protestant (Missionaries, Philosophers, Mystics). Presenter: Cathy Steffens, CSJ.

April 22 - The Marian Age and the Feminist Challenge (How do women find and ground their authority and exercise their creativity?). Presenter: Mary Bednarowski.

April 29 - Spiritualities that Must Survive and Move Toward an Inclusive Global Ethic (Christianity lived from the margins rather than privileged positions looks at history from the bottom up and builds inclusive community in our world). Presenters: Barbara Lund and Jessica Lopez Lyman.

May 6 - What kind of future will the authority of our experience, our compassion, and our creativity create?  What would it look like and what do we need to do it bring it about?


Instructors include: Joan Mitchell, CSJ, Ph.D.; Mary Bednarowski, Ph.D.; Mary Kaye Medinger; Joan Pauly Schneider; Rev. Barbara Lund; and other guest presenters throughout the series.

Texts: Women & Christianity by Mary T. Malone - Volume I, The First Thousand Years; Volume II, From 1,000 to Reformation; Volume III, From Reformation to the 21st Century

Speaking With Authority, Catherine of Siena and The Voices of Women Today, 2001 Madeleva Lecture in Spirituality by Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP.

Texts available through Good Ground Press: www.goodgroundpress.com.


WHEN:  Mondays, February 18 through May 6, 6:30-8:30pm

COST: $25.00/session or $240.00/all 12 sessions