Orange Alert

“What Are Nuns Really Up To?”

Feminist Theologian, Sandra Schneiders, Headlines Borgognoni Lecture

Sept. 16, 2016, by Renée K. Gadoua

Sandra Schneiders
Sandra Schneiders

Sandra Schneiders, pioneering feminist theologian and New Testament scholar, will deliver the Joseph and Amelia Borgognoni Lecture in Catholic Theology and Religion in Society.

She will present a talk titled “What are Nuns Really Up To?” on Monday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. in Maxwell Auditorium. It is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow the lecture. For more information, contact the Department of Religion in the College of Arts and Sciences at 315.443.3863.

The lecture is made possible by the Borgognoni Fund, held in the religion department.

Schneiders is professor emerita in the Jesuit School of Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan, a Catholic women’s religious community.

“Sandra Schneiders brings both scholarly and deeply lived experience to her work on the place of nuns in contemporary life and in the Catholic Church,” says Margaret Susan Thompson, chair of the Borgognoni Fund's faculty steering committee. Thompson is based in the Maxwell School, where she serves as associate professor of history and political science and as a senior research scholar of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute.

Schneiders received a doctorate in 1975 from Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. She was one of the first two nuns to receive a theology doctorate from a pontifical university, which until then had been off limits to women. She also was the first non-Jesuit and first woman professor to be tenured at the Jesuit School of Theology.

In 2015, she donated her professional papers to Santa Clara University. The gift highlights her importance as an expert in modern theology and spirituality of women religious, says Amanda Kaminski, Schneiders’s research assistant. Her life and work “is both a model and a rich microcosm of the growth in ‘faithful feminism’ and Christian spirituality after Vatican II,” Kaminski says in a university website story.

An exhibit of pieces from Schneiders’ collection is on display at Santa Clara through Dec. 2. The exhibit includes items that reflect the opposition she faced from critics who accused her of holding “radical feminist” or anti-Catholic views.

In 2014, Schneiders received the Yves Congar Award for Theological Excellence from Barry University in Florida. In 2013, she received the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities Monika K. Hellwig Award for Outstanding Contribution to Catholic Intellectual Life, and in 2012 she was honored by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious as recipient of their Annual Outstanding Leadership Award. She also won the 2006 John Courtney Murray Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Catholic Theological Society of America.

Schneiders is the author of more than a dozen books and countless scholarly articles. Publications include “Jesus Risen in Our Midst: Essays on the Resurrection of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel” (Michael Glazier, 2013), “The Resurrection: Did It Really Happen and Why Does That Matter?” (Tsehai Publisher, 2013), “Prophets in Their Own Country: Women Religious Bearing Witness to the Gospel in a Troubled Church” (Orbis Books, 2011) and an authoritative three-volume work on the theology of women’s religious life.

The Borgognoni Lecture, now in its fifth year, is made possible by the late Monsignor Charles L. Borgognoni (a.k.a. Father Charles), longtime Roman Catholic chaplain of the St. Thomas More Campus Ministry. Before his death in 2007, Borgognoni established a fund in memory of his parents, Joseph and Amelia, to promote the study of Catholic theology and religion in society at Syracuse.

The Borgognoni Fund also relies on the generosity of friends and alumni, including Judith Pistaki Zelisko ’72, a member of the College of Arts and Sciences’ board of visitors, and Charles Borgognoni ’76, nephew of Father Charles, both of whom spearheaded fundraising efforts.

For more information about the Borgognoni Fund or to contribute, contact Karen Weiss Jones at 315.443.2028 or

Media Contact

Robert M Enslin