1st Edition

Women's Faith Development Patterns and Processes

By Nicola Slee Copyright 2004

    Presenting a rich account of women's faith lives and, mapping women's meanings in their own right, this book offers an alternative to dominant accounts of faith development which failed to account for women's experience. Drawing on Fowler's faith development theory, feminist models of women's faith and social science methodology, the text explores the patterns and processes of women's faith development and spirituality in a group of thirty women belonging to, or on the edges of, Christian tradition.    Integrating practical theological concern with Christian education and pastoral practice, this book will be of interest to all concerned with women's faith development, spirituality, education and formation, and those working in the fields of practical theology, pastoral care, adult theological education, spiritual direction and counselling.

    Contents: Preface; The nature and aims of the study; Women's faith development: a framework; Developing a feminist research methodology; The processes of women's faith development; The patterns of women's faith development: alienation; The patterns of women's faith development: awakenings; The patterns of women's faith development: relationality; Conclusions and implications for Christian education and pastoral practice; Bibliography; Indexes.


    Nicole Slee is an Honorary Research Fellow at The Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham, UK.

    'This book is a gem! Carefully nuanced and critically insightful, the chapters flow with grace and energy. Nicola Slee is a gifted author and researcher, and this work is truly representative of her finest efforts. Slee probes the riches of women's spirituality through the honest and revealing conversations she has had with women from various life settings. This book will be required reading in several of my courses. Nicola Slee has done us all a great service in this work.' Gloria Durka, Professor, Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, Fordham University, USA 'When reading this book, I am haunted by the question as to why it has never been written before. There is a passionate energy to it, sustained until the last page, since Nicola Slee responds to this glaring omission from the study of spiritual development  and tackles the fact that women's faith lives have been given little attention. Nicola Slee offers rich material for spirituality and an original re-thinking of faith development: the implications are far-reaching for pastoral practice on many levels. A book with far-reaching implications for Christian education.' Mary Grey, D.J. James Professor of Pastoral Theology, University of Wales, Lampeter 'Occasionally a book comes along that, like those long-neglected mothers one finds in the desert with diligent trekking, offers cause for hope, even rejoicing. Such a book is Nicola Slee's Women's Faith Development: Patterns and Processes... In addition to use in practical theology, adult theological education, spiritual direction and counseling, I highly recommend this work for teaching courses in women and religion, women mystics, and feminist theology.' Reviews in Religion and Theology 'This book is an important contribution to development research in critically exploring through honest and revealing conversations with women, a previously unexplored area of faith development. This book provides useful research into spirituality, and takes women's experience seriously.' Crucible 'Nicola Slee has contributed significantly to our understanding of the practices and processes that characterize women's faith development. Her focus on a small number of women at substantial depth provides a richness in texture and detail that a broader study could not have captured: religious experience needs this level of particular attention to yield its wealth.' Theology & Sexuality 'Slee says it is her desire that this study, in its attempts to attend to and broadcast the repressed voices of women's spirituality, can contribute to the larger work of empowerment and justice-making. It is my opinion that she does this in a very powerful way... I felt that the effort was really worth while and the book fills a gap in the area of women's faith development and spirituality whilst providing concrete ideas and methods for practical pastoral and educational practice on many levels.' Catholic Women's Network Magazine '... has a real place in the ongoing construction of models of faith development. I recommend this book for pastors, academicians, and anyone interested in the faith lives of women.' International Journal of Practical Theology '... well-researched and well-written book...' Church Times '... carefully researched... The reader of this book will be provided with a solid resource of feminist sources for research... This is a valuable work which makes a distinctive and timely contribution to an important area of consideration in church and society.' Australian Religious Studies Review 'Slee writes with enthusiasm and passion for her subject in a clear, lucid, readable style. She also reveals sensitivity to both the process which women use to describe their experiences and the actual generative elements of the experience itself. One can only hope that she will continue her research and develop her ideas on the faith experience of women.' Journal of Contemporary Religion 'As Slee indicates in her final chapter, these findings have significant implications for religious education and pastoral practice. Anyone involved in theological teaching, preaching, pastoral care, religious formation or spiritual direction needs to take into account this new addition to the literature.' Journal of Adult Theological Education