WEEK SIX—WEDNESDAY, 6TH APRIL

WOMEN’S VOCATIONS: OBSTACLES AND OPPORTUNITIES

All video lectures for this course will be available free of charge here, with a new lecture uploaded each Monday during Lent. Only those registered with Catherine of Siena College can access all the course materials, but the materials here are free. 

For this last week, we consider women’s vocations in the context of the Church. There are of course many, many vocations outside church institutions and structures, but we focus on how women’s Catholic identities and stories shape their vocations within Catholic roles and institutions. Before working through the materials, you might like to read the biographies of contributors to Visions and Vocations, to get some sense of the rich range of callings represented there. Some of these offer positive accounts of how they have been encouraged and sustained in their vocations, but many tell of a more difficult struggle to find acceptance as they seek to offer their gifts in the service of the Church. For those who feel called to priesthood, this constitutes a particularly painful form of denial.

You might like to focus on these questions this week, as a way of integrating the learning experiences of the past six weeks:

  • Where does a sense of vocation belong within women’s identities and stories?
  • What do we mean by vocational life, and in what different ways might women exercise vocations within the Church and society?
  • How do church institutions, structures and teachings limit the opportunities available to women, and which of these limitations seem to you unjust or unnecessary?
  • How might women’s vocations shape the Church of tomorrow if their skills and gifts were fully embraced and nurtured?

Upon completion of this week’s studies, you should have some understanding of the following:

  • Vocational life as a dynamic way of becoming a purposeful and meaningful self through a constantly evolving story
  • The experience of being called by God and the ways in which women respond to this call
  • The ways in which different vocations call for different skills and different gifts
  • The relationship between women’s vocations and identities, and church institutions, structures and practices

Please remember that the lectures include references to coursework and other aspects of the course which you can ignore, since these relate to students who sign up for the Certificate of Continuing Professional Development. We are offering the course as a resource for a wider audience.

You can download a PDF of the lecture with slides at this link.