Feminist Theology within the Canadian Mosaic
Sister Ellen Leonard describes the essay she contributed to a collection of writings on feminist theology.
Feminist Theology with a Canadian Accent is a collection of 19 essays about feminist theology in Canada, the first of which is mine. These essays reflect the diversity of our great country, stretching from sea to sea, embracing persons with many different accents. As officially bilingual, we have two official languages, French and English, but our reality is multilingual, beginning with First Nations peoples. This mosaic of persons and languages is our context, one that challenges us to learn to listen to many voices.
In my essay, I describe the emergence of Canadian contextual feminist theologies. The feminist awakening of Christian women in Canada was part of the larger women's movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Women gathered and shared their experience. Churchwomen struggled to be both Christian and feminist. Although we were influenced by the work of our U.S. Sisters, we realized that our experience and our context were different from theirs. As women undertook theological studies, written works with a feminist perspective appeared. In the 1980s and 1990s, a number of feminist theses and books were published.
Canadian contextual feminist theologies are ecumenical and interfaith. Within the Canadian context, other voices are arising and need to be heard as we struggle to respond to the challenges facing Canada in the 21st century.
Feminist Theology With a Canadian Accent is available through Novalis.
by Ellen Leonard CSJ
Photo by Gisela Côté