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Women in the past with a vocation to the priesthood

Women in the past

with a vocation to the priesthood

We can be sure that there have been many women in the past who had a vocation to the priesthood. But on account of the social and cultural climate of the day, these vocations were nipped in the bud and their record wiped from history.

It is all the more remarkable that the vocation to the priesthood of a few key figures has, to some extent, survived the relentless anti-feminine censorship of history.

Women Priests in the South of Italy and in Sicily
150 - 550
a parable of things to come?
St. Clare of Assisi
1194 - 1253

Doctor of the Church
St. Catherine of Siena
1347 - 1380

Sister Caroline Clément

1825 - 1887

Saint Magdalena Sofia Barat
foundress of the Nuns of the Sacred Heart
1779 – 1865
"I wish I could be a priest!"
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Sister Isabel of Trinidad
Spanish mystic

Mother Ignacia Nazaria,
foundress of Missionaries of the Papal Crusade
1889 – 1943

Li Tim_Oi,
first anglican woman ordained priest
1907 – 1992

Gertrud Heinzelmann
1914 - 1999

Sr. Irene McCormack RSJ
missionary from Australia
1938 - 1991

Died as a martyr for her people in Peru
on 21 May 1991.

Sr. Irene was called by her community to preside at the eucharist.


Signs of a Vocation A woman's journey Steps to take Answering critics Writing your story
Six options for Catholic women who feel called to the priesthood?

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic ResearchThis website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars' declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

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