CWS Regional Representatives
The Catholic Women Speak Network is currently developing a range of activities (workshops, study groups, public lectures, seminars), through its international network of supporters and contributors to Catholic Women Speak: Bringing Our Gifts to the Table. If you would like to link up with the Network and/or to invite a speaker or to organise an activity in collaboration with us, please contact your nearest representative from the list below.
Claire Scott-Walkley is a Catholic Religious Education teacher based in Manchester, United Kingdom and a Theology graduate from the University of Chester, where she also studied for her PGCE. As a teacher she is passionate about her subject and believes that it allows young people to explore their own religious views, as well as those of others, promoting tolerance in our society. At present Claire is on Maternity leave after delivering her and her husband’s beautiful son Jude in February this year.
Alison Concannon Kennedy is the CEO of the Watermead Music and Publishing Apostolate, which she co-founded in 1992. The apostolate encourages people’s gifts and talents by publishing the inspirations that come to them through living their faith – sharing them with the wider Church family as recordings, books, cards, etc. The apostolate also arranges spiritual retreats and pilgrimages, whilst working with and supporting local, national and international charities. Alison has composed many hymns, along with music for meditation, and wrote the music for the musical “The Parables of Jesus”. She is also a graphic artist and cartoonist and the creator of the genderless “Little Saint” characters. Alison has held a several working positions from local government administration to peripatetic music tuition in schools and people’s homes, taking a few years out to be a full-time mother when her children were born. Today, alongside running the Watermead Apostolate with her son, she works as pastoral assistant in a large multi-cultural and very busy parish in the city of Leicester (the English Midlands), where she is also organist and choir leader.
Madeleine Fredell, OP, is a theologian and secretary general of the Swedish Justice and Peace Commission. She has been working with feminist issues since the 80s; she lectures and writes on a freelance basis and is presently prioress of the Swedish Vicariate of Saint Dominic’s Roman Congregation. Professionally, she started as a foreign correspondent and then became teacher in Latin and French with a special interest in medieval liturgical texts. She is equally passionate about 20th century history and politics always with a focus on women’s issues. She has had several international commitments for both Justice and Peace and her Congregation.
Rhonda Miska is a lay minister, former Jesuit Volunteer, freelance writer, and graduate of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. Her past ministries include: leading retreats for returned missioners, coordinating justice and peace ministries in a Catholic parish, coordinating a community with adults with intellectual disabilities, and accompanying Spanish-speaking immigrant community. Currently, Rhonda is serving as Program/Development Coordinator at Shalom Spirituality Center in Dubuque, Iowa.
Maureen Wood is a lifelong Catholic and the Director of Religious Education at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist and St. Peter Church in Canton, OH. Some of her duties include youth ministry, adult faith formation, children’s ministry and sacramental preparation, and RCIA. She received her bachelor of arts in theology and philosophy from Walsh University in North Canton and her master of arts in theological studies from the University of Dayton. Maureen is passionate about various liberation theologies, especially postcolonial and feminist theology.
Katie Grimes is an assistant professor of theology at Villanova. Her research centers primarily on the relation between white supremacy and the Catholic Church and also considers questions of sexual ethics. Katie is originally from the small town of Marion, Ohio. The region she represents is the Philadelphia area, located in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Margaret Susan Thompson is a professor of history at Syracuse University, where she is a Senior Research Fellow in the Campbell Institute of Public Affairs, and where she also holds appointments in political science, religion, and women’s & gender studies. She received her AB from Smith College, and her MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She served as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow, and has written extensively on the history of U.S. legislative behavior (including The “Spider Web”: Congress and Lobbying in the Age of Grant [Cornell University Press]). Most of her recent work has been on the history of American Catholic women religious, on which she has spoken and published extensively.
Sheila Peiffer has an M.A. in Theology and over twenty-five years of experience in pastoral and campus ministry. For the past fourteen years she has been active in various U.S. based Catholic reform groups, including Voice of the Faithful, American Catholic Council and Women’s Ordination Conference, on which she currently serves as a Board member. Sheila is the part-time Coordinator of Social Justice for the New York Annual Conference of the Methodist Church. Sheila’s husband of forty-three years, Steven, is a Methodist minister and they live in Wallingford, Connecticut. They have four adult children and three grandchildren.
Dr Nontando Hadebe is a lay Catholic woman theologian based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She obtained her doctorate from St Augustine College of South Africa. Her topic was “A Trinitarian Theological Response to gender challenges in the context of HIV & AIDS”. Nontando chairs the Southern African Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians and has for the last three years participated in the Theological Colloquium of Church, Religion and Society in Africa which brought together African Catholic theologians both women and men, laity (women and men), bishops and priests to reflect critically on the role of the Catholic Church in Africa. Nontando is passionate about liberating theologies that respond to the experiences of women and working towards the full inclusion of women in the Church. She writes that “I love men very much and believe that they too need a liberating theology and spirituality that can free them from oppressive masculinities. Ultimately both Church and Society can learn from the Trinitarian model of relationship where difference coexists with equality, interdependence and loving communion”.