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16th-Annual Rita Cassella Jones Lecture on Women and U.S. Catholicism

Tuesday, October 20
6 – 7 p.m.

Join us for “In the Shadow of the Cross: Black Women and the Making of U.S. Catholicism,” the 16th-Annual Rita Cassella Jones Lecture on Women and U.S. Catholicism, presented by Villanova University’s Shannen Dee Williams, Ph.D.

Contrary to popular belief, Black women and girls have never been inconsequential figures in the history of the U.S. Catholic Church. In this talk, Williams will trace the lives, labors, and struggles of African American Catholic women and girls from their earliest appearance in the historical record in 16th-century Spanish Florida to the present day. Drawing upon a host of previously ignored sources, including archival records and oral history, Williams will demonstrate why any narrative of the U.S. Catholic experience that marginalizes or ignores Black women and girls is woefully incomplete—and perhaps even intentionally insincere.


This event is open to alumni, faculty/staff, parents, students, and the public.