Catherine Mooney teaches church history and the history of Christian spirituality at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry. She has a Master’s in Theological Studies (M.T.S.) from Harvard Divinity School, and an M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in medieval history from Yale University. She has taught at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, MA. She is an international lecturer at both scholarly and religious venues. She has served on boards for the Society for Medieval Feminist Studies, Monastic Matrix, and the Franciscan Friars, and has received research awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Harvard Divinity School, and the Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University, NY.
Besides her scholarly work, Mooney has engaged in a variety of human rights activities. While living in rural Argentina during its military dictatorship and “Dirty War” during which thousands of Argentines were “disappeared” in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, she advocated for an exploited indigenous group and continues involved in their struggle today. For twenty-seven years she has been a board member on the Ignacio Martin-Baro Fund for Mental Health and Human Rights, a fund named for one of the Jesuits assassinated in El Salvador in 1989. The Fund has distributed well over a million dollars to grassroots-led groups around the world working to counter the psychological harm that institutionalized violence inflicts on vulnerable communities.
Mooney’s publications include Gendered Voices: Medieval Saints and Their Interpreters (1999), a book in which she and other scholars discuss the ways in which the portrayals of medieval holy women were variously embellished, recast, or distorted by later writers. Her book Philippine Duchesne: A Woman with the Poor (1990; 2007) chronicles the life of a woman, canonized in 1988, who did pioneering work in education and justice on the American frontier. Now translated into Japanese, Korean, and Bahasa Indonesia, the book will soon appear in Spanish. Mooney’s most recent book, Clare of Assisi and the Thirteenth-Century Church: Religious Women, Rules, and Resistance (2016), explores how Clare and her allies variously negotiated and resisted a papal program bent on regimenting, enriching, and enclosing religious women. Mooney is currently writing a book about how the historical Clare of Assisi’s image was refashioned after her death to suit the differing agendas of popes, Franciscans, and others. Mooney has also published many essays about saints, spirituality, and social justice efforts.
How, like Jesus, can we – even at great risk to ourselves -- stand up to today’s kings and Pharisees ready to oppress others? And how, like Jesus, can we let love and life-giving service be the hallmarks of our own exercise of authority?VIEW