I was thinking of doing a post on this today before I realized it was International Women's Day. Some Catholic women of note do get mentioned by the media. No matter what you think of her positions Sr. Carol Keehan, has to be viewed as one of the most important Catholic women in the USA currently.
What is amazing about that meme is Catholic women are often the heart , soul, and leadership of the pro life movement. As a Catholic political voice the women in the Pro-life movement are perhaps the most powerful of any cause the Catholic Church champions.
The names are too many to mention here ,but Helen M. Alvaré . an Associate Professor of Law , is just one example of hundreds that are a force. Among her many achievements she she worked at the Office of General Counsel for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, where she drafted amicus briefs in leading U.S. Supreme Court cases concerning abortion, euthanasia and the Establishment Clause. She worked with the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities at the NCCB. Professor Alvaré chaired the commission investigating clerical abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and is an advisor to Pope Benedict XVI's Pontifical Council for the Laity. She is still going strong.
2- Mary Ann Glendon as a Catholic woman of influence in the Church ,and in American Politics has to be at the top of the list. That influence will continue to grow if Mitt Romney is elected President of the United States as she is a close adviser. Her accomplishments are many.
From early civil rights worker in Mississippi in the 60's to Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Glendon has had quite a life. . She was also the former American Ambassador to the Holy See. She was the first female President of the Roman Catholic Church's Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Glendon was the Vatican representative to the international 1995 Beijing Conference on Women sponsored by the United Nations. She was on President Bush's President's Council on Bioethics. She also was selected by the University of Notre Dame as the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Laetare Medal. American Catholicism highest honor
3- Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo is part of the new generation of Catholic women that is at the forefront of serving those most in need. Dr Woo, dean of the business school at the University of Notre Dame, has been recently selected by the Catholic Relief Services to be it's president and CEO. Forbes magazine just two days ago called her "The Best Kept Secret" of the Catholic Church. I would argue that she at this time is one of the most important people in the American Catholic Church that is women. She also thus has a major impact on the international Stage.
4-Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review is one of the prominent voices of Catholic women in politics. She is no shrinking violet as I find out when I was working on the Huckabee campaign ( She was not a fan) . Katheryn Lopez is perhaps the most prominent in bringing Catholic affairs into the view of the political mainstream through her work at the America's most prominent conservative political journals in the United States.
5. Sister Mary Ann Walsh is the Director of Media Relations for United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. She has been in this position is some very good times and very tough times. I also put her on this list to represent something else. That females are often holding important positions in the Chancellery office of the America's Dioceses running very important programs and imprinting on it their Catholic Vision . Including as we see more and more the Chancellor position itself.
6. The Dominican Nuns -Mother Mary Assumpta Long, O.P. and others.
As we see certain Female Religious orders go into extinction other Orders are going gangbusters and spreading their influence. The Dominican Sisters here in the USA are a prime example. Often not seen on the media shows these Sisters are everywhere. From nursing homes, to youth ministry, and especially education. Including in the New Orleans French Quarter my state of Louisiana serving some of the most at risk children. The Mother House at Nashville is not the only place where Dominican action is taking place. As we can see in Ann Arbor they are growing, and in fact not shy about being in the public square on such issues as the HHS Mandate.
Jeanette De Melo
Canon Law Grad Finds Meaningful Work
10- Sister Helen Prejean- I am a Louisiana guy so I got to give some PR to important Louisiana Native. That is Sister Helen Prejean. To say the least she is the most recognizable face of the Anti State execution movement in the United States. It's hard to imagine where the movement would be without her. I have had on several occasions the blessin to meet her. Though we no doubt disagree on some theological matters , her importance in the Catholic Church on this issue is still without measure.