“In Conversation” presentation to be held

Eva Mihelich, Staff writer

In 2014, Mercyhurst University began the Chittister Lecture Series at the same time the Helen Boyle Memorial Archive was dedicated in the Hammermill Library.  

Both the archive space and the lecture series were endowed by the Boyle family. Helen Boyle was a good friend of Sister Joan Chittister, who will be hosting another guest speaker at the next lecture series.  

Sister Joan will host Dr. Mary McAleese, Ireland’s former president from 1997-2011. She created history by being only the second female president of Ireland and the first president from Northern Ireland.  

Now, Dr. McAleese spends her time as a professor at the University of Glasgow, Scotland and the Chancellor of Trinity College Dublin. This is obviously someone who has had plentiful experience, so she has a lot to speak about. This is not a dialogue to be missed. 

The “In Conversation” presentation will be held on April 22 at 7 PM in the Performing Arts Center.  

Students and faculty are buzzing about this presentation due to the intellectual richness of both speakers – Sister Chittister has been an acclaimed speaker and author for 50 years, winning her many awards, and Dr. McAleese holds a master’s, doctorate, and licentiate in Canon Law.  

Both women are passionate and vocal about social justice issues, particularly about women in the Catholic Church.  

They actually have taken the stage together before in 2019 in a program titled “The Women the Vatican Could Not Silence” where they “discussed their views on the many issues besetting the Catholic Church today and the possible solutions for change, particularly how to make the Church an equal place for women” according to the Mercyhurst website.  

This was a largely popular program, leaving fans of both speakers anxious to find out what will be spoken about at this lecture. With how fast the world is evolving today, there is likely much to be discussed about the state of women and the Church since the last time they hosted a dialogue about the issue.  

Both women are faithful Catholics but are also fierce feminists. They speak on the importance of both things, which is a very relevant issue today with the piercing divide between both groups that many people are trying to relinquish.  

In their program, “The Women the Vatican Could Not Silence,” the two bright women shared their standpoints on women’s role in the Church, or lack thereof.  

When asked about her view of women and the Catholic Church, Sister Joan said, “I love my church. I love the Jesus story. I am embedded in my community. I may be a radical, but I’m not a revolutionary… But at the same time, you have to wake up. You have to ask what you’re looking at and you have to say what you see and what I see is that the Catholic Church for women is a totally owned subsidiary of pious males.”  

After discussing this for some time, the mediator asked Dr. McAleese what her ideal church looks like, to which she responded, “Us. All of Us.”  

The “In Conversation” Lecture will likely give us more insight into their standpoints on the issue of women’s lack of inclusion in the Church, and what their solutions look like.  

With what was seen the last time they took the stage together, Dr. McAleese and Sister Joan have an uplifting, hopeful, and inclusive outlook that should not be missed.  

The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets will be available at the PAC office beginning April 12.