Women, Religion and Leadership : Female Saints as Unexpected Leaders book cover
1st Edition

Women, Religion and Leadership
Female Saints as Unexpected Leaders

Edited By

Barbara Denison

ISBN 9780367890124
Published December 5, 2019 by Routledge
222 Pages

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Book Description

Women, Religion and Leadership focuses on women from the traditional context of women as leaders with chapters observing various aspects of leadership from specifically chosen religious female leaders and going on to examine the legacies they leave behind.  

This book seeks to identify and analyse the gendered issues underlying the structural lack of recognition for women within the church and to examine the culturally constructed narratives related to these women for evidence of their leadership despite the exclusionary rules applied to force their submission to the dominating forces. Finally this book intends to draw out of these women’s stories the various lessons of leadership that invoke current relevancies among prevailing leadership paradigms.

Written by experts from disciplines as varied as leadership and communication studies to sociology, and history to medievalist and English scholars; Women, Religion and Leadership will prove key reading for scholars, academics and researchers is these and related disciplines.

Table of Contents

1.Performing Sanctity: Exemplary Leadership in the Lives of Medieval  Female Virgin Martyrs

Shari Horner

2. Hilda of Whitby (614 - 680): Unexpected Leadership by the "Mother of Bishops"

Barbara Jones Denison

3. Clare of Assisi (1191-1253): Breaking Through Societal Barriers for Women

Karen Monique Gregg

4. Catherine of Sienna (1347-1380): Political Persuasion and Party Leadership of the Intellectual Mystic

Sally Mayall Brasher

5. Kateri Terakwitha (1656 -1680): She Who Bumps Into Things and the Power of Servant Leadership

Jessica Huhn

6. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821): A Proto-Feminist Servant-Leader for the Nineteenth Century – And Today

David Von Schlichten

7. Catherine McAuley (1778 – 1841): Exhibiting Mercy Through Service and Authentic Leadership

Patrick J. Hughes

8. Katharine Drexel (1858-1955): Philanthropist and Transformational Leader

Jessica Huhn

9. Edith Stein (1891 – 1942): Empathetic Leadership and Saint Edith Stein’s Phenomenological Perspective

Jen Jones

10. Pauli Murray (1910 - 1985): A Person and Her Typewriter

Kristin Pidgeon

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Professor Barbara Denison, is Department Chair of Sociology and Anthropology at Shippensburg University, USA


"Women, Religion and Leadership offers prescient insight into devout Catholic women who realized their religious aspirations despite remarkably difficult impediments to their success. The legacies of these inspirational women do not excuse the sin of patriarchal oppression in the name of religion. But these womens' lives highlight avenues of effective resistance that are essential to our pursuit of a more just and egalitarian world."John P. Bartkowski, University of Texas at San Antonio, USA

"In the end, the collection is most successful when seen as a series of case studies of conventional leadership studies models... several chapters would make fine readings for undergraduate or introductory seminary courses related to leadership and religion, or women in religious history. I imagine this book will find a place on syllabi in the field of leadership studies, especially at schools that combine a Christian lens with leadership."Emily Zimbrick-Rogers is an independent scholar whose published work investigates gender and theology in Madeleine L'Engle and the experiences of evangelical woman theologians.

"Within the context of a patriarchal church, women’s leadership is subversive and often political. This addition to the "Routledge Studies in Leadership Research" series takes the novel approach of exploring the lives of female saints in the context of leadership studies theory. Denison (director, graduate program, organizational development and leadership, Shippensburg Univ.) gathered scholars from various backgrounds in humanities and social sciences to explore the expression of leadership in individual case studies of 13 selected female saints. Arranged chronologically, the volume begins with a chapter on "medieval female virgin martyrs" and ends with one on Pauli Murray, the first black woman Episcopal priest (and the only non-canonical woman included). Refreshingly, most of th