2018 Speakers


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Mary McAleese (Ireland)

Former president of ireland

 

"“God gave us two wings so that humanity could soar to great heights and feel the power and see the beauty of his creation in all its wonder. Yet our Church insists on flying on one wing, overlooking and wasting the talents and insights of so many wonderful, faithful, Godly women. Why? Can this tragic dysfunction really be what God wants? I think not. Let us now begin to imagine a completely different future.”


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Ssenfuka Joanita Warry (Uganda)

LGBT Advocate and founder  

 

I hope to preach love not hate and to remind the Church and women that we are made in the like and image of God, and therefore equally important as men in the Church.”


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Zuzanna Radzik (Poland)

theologian and author 

 

Women are the Church, more than half of it, and yet they have been excluded from shaping it for most of history. Why should the Church matter in women's lives if it keeps discriminating them?


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Joana Gnomes (Portugal)

PROJECT DIRECTOR, JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICES, CHAD, AFRICA

 

“I am the only female project manager of the four camps in Chad. I came here prepared, knowing it was going to be a challenge to be a woman. I believe it is my responsibility to show the role women can and must have as leaders. I try to help the community to see women differently to what society has taught them.”


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Gaya Lobo Gajiwala (India)

HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATOR AND FACILITATOR

 

“I've always thought of Jesus as the original rebel against patriarchal structures, welcoming women, children, the disabled and the otherwise disenfranchised into his love. I'd like to think Jesus would speak to me, rather than about me! I wait for women's role in the church be acknowledged independently of men in the same way. The question I ask myself is do I really need to be part of a system that expects me to minimise myself in order to support, rather than give the best of myself? If Jesus could see us as more than mere scaffolding, surely the church can also see that we aren't here simply to support the men of the church. We are the church too!”


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Nivedita Lobo Gajiwala (India)

EXECUTIVE TECH RECRUITER 

 

"We live in tumultuous times where women are fighting for a seat at the table in every industry imaginable. To see the Church stick its heels in the ground and continue with it's old fashioned gender normative ways makes it feel removed from reality. Jesus was a humanist. He treated women as equal to men and since women were considered inferior in those days it was almost like he was elevating them. A church that doesn't have space for strong, opinionated, fierce women has a lot to learn."


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Alina Oehler (Germany)

There was a time when I lost any interest in the Church and even felt rejected because I am a woman. But the sacrament of the Eucharist and the biographies of some Saints kept fascinating me. In my studies, I was surprised to discover how highly women are appreciated in the Christian tradition, especially by Jesus himself. Nevertheless most women I know still think of the Church as a men’s club where they are not heard or understood. To change that the Church has to have women in the first row, showing that the Catholic faith and its understanding of femininity can keep up with the life a modern woman wants to lead”.


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Father Luke Hansen SJ (USA)

Jesuit and writer

 

Faithful women, gifted by the Holy Spirit, are ready to serve. It is time to recognise their vocation to leadership and ministry. Our Church needs them for the Gospel to reach new frontiers.”


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Elisa Orbananos Hernando (Spain)

REGIONAL PROGRAMS OFFICER, JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE, GREAT LAKES.

 

“I see my work as an extension of my faith. To fight power is a daily battle. I do not want to see power as negative, but women have to say something. I’m a young woman and I feel frustrated because to the Church I seem to count less.”


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Nicole Sotelo (USA)

journalist and author

 

"If we Christians are called to lift up women in society, then we also need to lift up women in the Church"


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Tina Beattie (London)

DIRECTOR, CATHERINE OF SIENA COLLEGE

 

Tina Beattie is a British theologian, writer and broadcaster. She is Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Roehampton in London and Director of Catherine of Siena College.


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Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson

Producer for CBS News

 

Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson, a producer for the CBS News legendary news programme, 60 Minutes, moderates the first session of the 2017 edition of Voices of Faith.


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Chantal Goetz

managing director, voices of faith

 

"We believe the Church would thrive if and when women are welcomed to leadership conversations and were able to use their expertise and talents to drive better engagement and inclusion. The full potential of women in the Church is still not realized by our current leadership, and that’s a shame"