This event is co-presented by the Lumen Christi Institute and the Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion. Cosponsored by St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Chicago, and others.
For most people, Whoopi Goldberg’s performance as Sister Mary Clarence in Sister Act is the dominant interpretation of an African American nun and the desegregation of white Catholic sisterhood in the United States. In this presentation, Dr. Shannen Dee Williams will explore the story of America’s real sister act: the story of how generations of Black women and girls called to the sacred vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience fought against racism, sexism, and exclusion to become and minster as consecrated women of God in the Roman Catholic Church. In so doing, she will turn attention to women’s religious life as a stronghold of white supremacy and racial segregation, and thus an important battleground in the long African American freedom struggle.
Dr. Shannen Dee Williams is Associate Professor of History at the University of Dayton. She is the author of Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle, which was published by Duke University Press in 2022. Subversive Habits was named a top five book published in religion by Publishers’ Weekly in 2022. It also received the 2022 Letitia Woods Brown Award for Best Book in African American Women’s History from the Association of Black Women Historians.
Find more information and registration links for both, online and in-person event, at https://www.lumenchristi.org/event/2023/04/americas-real-sister-act-hidden-history-of-black-catholic-nuns-in-united-states-shannen-dee-williams