America's Real Sister Act: The Hidden History of Black Catholic Nuns in the United States

Apr 27, 2023
Swift Hall, 3rd Floor Lecture
1025 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Shannen D. WilliamsUniversity of Dayton

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact

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, America Media, the Center for Gender Studies, the Center for Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, the History Department at the University of Chicago, the Thea Bowman Foundation, and the Catholic Theological Union. 

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 minister as consecrated women of God in the Roman Catholic Church.