Socio-historical Module

Socio-historical Module

The subjectivity of Women in the Church: cultural historical process


The first module offers some fundamental coordinates of historical evolution in which to place the issues and themes addressed, focusing on the strengths and weaknesses, the acquired convictions and the problematic nodes of the inculturation of the Catholic faith in its social dialogue, to look forward with a proactive spirit.

Listening, discerning, acting: the process indicated for the course is reflected in this module in which the critical spirit is refined based on historical analysis attentive to socio-cultural changes.

Horizon: it will always be kept in mind that the different contexts (history and geography, civil and ecclesial, economy, cultural and religious traditions) affect the relationship between women and the Church, creating differences of temporal dislocation in the different processes. Transversal themes will include, among others: sociology of women’s culture, construction of the masculine and feminine in society, education and social processes, woman and media, priestly potestas.


Objective of the module in the ratio of the Course

At the end of the socio-cultural module, the student can grasp in broad outline the process of development of the relationship between women and the Church, focusing on the complexity and peculiarities of the contexts, so as not to expire in ideological generalizations.

Students will also have greater awareness of the novelty of Christianity in relation to women (peculiarities with respect to different cultures), of the problems that have been accentuated in recent decades about the ecclesial institution and of the prospects that are opening, in the light of the processes of renewal underway, on the world horizon.

A historical thread is proposed that serves as a basis for the socio-cultural coordinates in which the combination of women and the Church develops.


Three thematic cores:

  1. Historical core: from the beginning of Christianity until about the mid-1900s. Newness of the Gospel; the consequences for women in the process of inculturation of the Church in different contexts; Middle Ages; lay pauperistic movements, second orders and arrival of the cloister for nuns (Boniface VIII; Paul V); opportunities for women in monasteries; prominent religious figures; new forms of charity and consecration; age of secularization; contribution of religious congregations to the evolution of the female model in society.
  2. Socio-cultural core: more recent issues. Crisis of the women-Church alliance since the cultural revolution of 1968; the Church’s prophetic voice of promoting and developing the human being, also thanks to the service of many consecrated missionaries; Asian and African contexts: a new awareness of women’s dignity; the commitment of many Catholic congregations and associations to the challenges.
  3. New perspectives: new awareness, acquisitions at least in theory. From the Mulieris Digitatem onwards, with some openings to the presence of women in some traditionally male tasks in ecclesial institutions. The voice of the young women of the Synod on young people, women in the Synod on the Amazon; before the Laudato si’; the new model of development (also specifically economic); evangelization; ecclesial life, in the many peripheries and in the center.




Monday, June 21 Tuesday 22 June Wednesday 23 June





  Women and the Church: from its origins to the French Revolution In the age of secularization

(1800-1960 approx)

In the postmodern (’68…): alliance crisis and new openings
15:00 – 15:40


Newness of the Gospel and first generations of communities: price of inculturation.

Adriana Valerio

New alliance between women and the Church (impoverished): between traditional magisterium and hard work.

S. Grazia Loparco

Reasons for women’s detachment from the Church: sexuality, divorce, abortion, contraceptives. Maria Luisa Aspe
15.50 – 16.30


Free women in patriarchal society.

Adriana Valerio

Religious congregations of active life: faith and charity; apostolate, centralization, missions, work.

S. Nicla Spezzati

Changes in families in relation to faith and religious practice.

Maria Luisa Aspe



Christian women in the Middle Ages: lay, nuns, tertiary, heretics.

Adriana Valerio

Contribution of women to women’s emancipation in society.

S. Nicla Spezzati

Spaces and responsability in the Church: from listening to recognition

Consuelo Flecha



Modern age: women of faith, nuns and commitment in the world.

S. Grazia Loparco

Lay Associations: Daughters of Mary, Catholic Action.

S. Grazia Loparco

Spaces and responsability in the Church: from listening to recognition

Consuelo Flecha




18:10 – 19:00 ·     Catherine of Siena.

S. Mirella Soro

·     Mary Ward.

S. Patricia Murray

·   Francesca Cabrini.

S. Grazia Loparco

·   Magdeleine Delbrel S. Nicla Spezzati

·   Magdeleine of Jesus.

Paola Francesca (postulant).

·   Chiara Lubich.

Rita Moussalem


3rd session – New processes: experiences in progress, paths, perspectives:


19-00-19:15 Agenda of international bodies regarding women issues and further ecclesial reflections/reactions

Marta Rodriguez introduces the various interventions, and presents some bodies or associations

19.15- 20:00 Violence against women: how it is set by the United Nations / resonance and reaction of the Church.


Autonomy vs dependence in the economic field (and not only) / resonance and reaction of the Church. Development and new models and paradigms.





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