Unruly Catholic Feminists

Prose, Poetry, and the Future of the Faith

Edited by Jeana DelRosso, Leigh Eicke, and Ana Kothe

Subjects: Women In Religion, Women's Studies, Christianity, Gender Studies, Fiction
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9781438485003, 175 pages, September 2021
Hardcover : 9781438485010, 175 pages, September 2021

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Table of contents

Acknowledgments and Permissions

Introduction: Living with the Past, Envisioning the Future

Part I: Domestic and Global Social Justice

Elizabeth Brulé Farrell

You Don't Belong Here
Lauren Frances Guerra

Dawn Morais

Citizen Voices
Jennifer Hall Lee

Dinorah Cortés‑Vélez

A Person is a Person

My Better‑Late‑Than‑Never Confirmation
Sofia Zocca

Let Us Pray Together
Julianne DiNenna

Part II: Sexuality and Motherhood

From the Womb of Christ
Pat Brisson

Feminism, Faith, and My Mother's Church
Valerie Wexler

Raising Valerie
Celia Viggo Wexler

Applying for Sainthood
Megan Merchant

Mystic Trinities
Kelly Hedglin Bowen

My Mary
Adrienne Keller

Losing My Religion
Anita Cabrera

The Enunciation
Devin E. Kuhn

Jeannine Marie Pitas

Maryanne Hannan

Our Hail Mary Pass
Devin E. Kuhn

Part III: Spiritual Activism and Utopian Vision

Not Faith
Jillian Egan

I Could Have Been a Psalmist
Pat Brisson

On Desire and Direction
Lindsey White

The Heretic
C. R. Resetarits

Marci Madary

La Llorona
Jeannine Marie Pitas

The Lydian Woman Speaks to the Dead Saint
Becky Gould Gibson

Summer Solstice
Teresa Delgado

She Will Rise
Lizzie Sextro

Notes on Contributors

Third- and fourth-wave feminists write about their experiences with Catholicism and their visions for the future of women in the Church.


A collection of creative pieces, Unruly Catholic Feminists explores how women are coming to terms with their feminism and Catholicism in the twenty-first century. Through short stories, poems, and personal essays, third- and fourth-wave feminists write about the issues, reforms, and potential for progress. Giving voice to many younger writers, the book includes a variety of geographic and ethnic points of view from which women write about their experiences with Catholicism and their visions for the future. While change in the church may be slow to come, even the promise of progress may provide hope for women struggling with the conflicts between their religion and their sense of their own spirituality. Rather than always only oppressing or containing women, Catholicism also drives or inspires many to challenge literary, social, political, or religious hierarchies. By examining how women attempt to reconcile their unruliness with their Catholic backgrounds or conversions and their future hopes and dreams, Unruly Catholic Feminists offers new perspectives on gender and religion today—and for the days yet to come.

Jeana DelRosso is Sister Maura Eichner Endowed Professor of English and Professor of Women's Studies at Notre Dame of Maryland University. Leigh Eicke is a writer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ana Kothe is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Together, they are the coeditors of Unruly Catholic Women Writers: Creative Responses to Catholicism and Unruly Catholic Nuns: Sisters' Stories, both also published by SUNY Press.


"…Unruly Catholic Feminists is a great example of how lived experiences can be utilized to explain complex ideas, such as the intersection between the Catholic faith and feminist ideals. This book is a great resource for a wide variety of readers, whether they are students studying topics like religion or gender studies, or whether they are simply interested in literature and poetry." — Reading Religion

"Divine unruliness from the divine devout, as valiant in their feminism as in their faith. This is the Word from women brave. Writ, spoken, heard. And it is good!" — Sandra Cisneros

"These 'unruly' Catholic feminists challenge the constraints and cruelties of contemporary clerical culture while reclaiming the riches of a shared heritage and, in doing so, beautifully and boldly embody the radical and essential tradition of Christian social justice." — Sonja Livingston, author of The Virgin of Prince Street: Expeditions into Devotion