Equity and Inclusion


In response to the proposal from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) that congregations focus on the dismantling of racism, the Adrian Dominican Sisters began by identifying resources that can assist us in raising our consciousness of white privilege and white supremacy, both personally and systematically.

From January 2021 through June of 2023, our Toward Communion: Undoing Racism and Embracing Diversity Committee and our Justice Promoters collaborated on a project to provide information on prominent Black and Indigenous Catholics who have made significant contributions to the church and society, along with reflection questions and a prayer.

In May of 2022, Kevin D. Hofmann was named the founding Director of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion for the Congregation. With the goal of normalizing conversations about race and culture and discussing what it means to feel included and excluded, Kevin began contributing to this blog in June of 2022. He shares his unique experience of growing up Black in a white family in Detroit and educates on topics of equity and inclusion.

Equity and Inclusion Project

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Black Catholic Project: Dr. C. Vanessa White

Graphic with quote from and an image of Dr. C. Vanessa White

Black Catholic Project: Dr. C. Vanessa White

Dr. C. Vanessa White comes from a family of ministers of various faith traditions. She has known from a young age that she was being called by God and that God was close to her. As a young child, her mother read to her from a Bible storybook and Vanessa found that she loved hearing the stories of men and women of great faith and courage.

She was baptized as a young child into the Catholic faith, and at 16 years old she embraced her first ministry as lector. She attributes her love of Scripture as well as her love of liturgy and service to her mother, Doris Foster, and her aunt, Vivian Reed.

Currently, Dr. Vanessa White, D. Min., is a tenured Associate Professor of Spirituality and Ministry at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and Director of the Certificate in Black Theology and Ministry. She holds a dual appointment as Associate Director of the Master of Theology program at Xavier University’s Summer Institute for Black Catholic Studies.

As a womanist practical theologian, her research is focused on the intersections of spirituality and praxis and is attentive to issues of discernment, health, women’s spirituality, racial justice, diversity/intercultural dialogue, leadership development, spiritual and ministry formation, spiritual practices, lay ministry, adult faith formation, and issues pertinent to the life of Black Catholics.

She also serves as an advisor/consultant for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Subcommittee for Certification of Ecclesial Ministry, which approves the standards for various ministries throughout the U.S. She was also a member of the advisory team for Fetzer Institute’s Study on American Spirituality, published in 2020.

In February of 2023, Vanessa became the first lay woman invited to preach a nine-day solemn novena in honor of St. Jude at the National Shrine of St. Jude, which was live streamed globally. Her articles and essays have appeared in New Theology Review, U.S. Catholic, America Magazine, and National Catholic Reporter. Her reflection on the Feast of Pentecost can found in Catholic Women Preach (Volume 1) that was published by Orbis Books (2022).

 

Reflection Questions

1) How do you (we) affirm, encourage, and collaborate with our congregational ecclesial members, family, friends, and colleagues, to continue the Mission of Jesus Christ in today’s ecclesial, social, and global contexts?

2) How have you encouraged Black and non-Black young adults, adults, and elders to participate in the evangelization, social justice, and ecological ministries of our church?

3) How have we Adrian Dominicans encouraged Black Catholic youth, young adults, and elders to collaborate with us in our ministries within the Black-American, Hispanic-Latinx American, Asian-American, European-American other local and global ethnic-racial Catholic and non-Catholic communities?

 

Prayer

God of justice, in your wisdom you create all people in your image, without exception.

Through your goodness, open our eyes to see the dignity, beauty, and worth of every human being.

Open our minds to understand that all your children are sisters and brothers in the same human family.

Open our hearts to repent of racist attitudes, behaviors, and speech which demean others. 

Open our ears to hear the cries of those wounded by racial discrimination, and their passionate appeals for change.

Strengthen our resolve to make amends for past injustices and right the wrongs of history.

And fill us with courage that we might seek to heal wounds, build bridges, forgive and be forgiven and establish peace and equality for all in our communities.

In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen.

– Excerpted from Prayer for Racial Healing, Catholic Charities USA

 

Resources

Articles

A Portrait of Black Catholicism: Celebrating 40 years of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium, C. Vanessa White, America Magazine, January 9, 2018 
https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2018/01/09/portrait-black-catholicism-celebrating-40-years-black-catholic-theological

An Interview with C. Vanessa White, M.T.S., D.Min., Gordon Nary, Profiles in Catholicism, October 14, 2018
https://www.catholicprofiles.org/post/an-interview-with-c-vanessa-white

Authentically Black and Truly Catholic, C. Vanessa White, CNN, September 5, 2010
http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/09/05/white.catholic.black/index.html

Augustus Tolton: Pioneer Pastor, C. Vanessa White, U.S. Catholic, February 14, 2014
https://uscatholic.org/articles/201402/augustus-tolton-pioneer-pastor/

Videos

Black Spiritual History: A conversation with Dr. C. Vanessa White - National Black Catholic Congress, December 3, 2021
https://youtu.be/SXCQoKnscyI

Podcasts

Dr. C. Vanessa White: Discipline Leads to Freedom - Messy Jesus Business Podcast, January 27, 2022
https://messyjesusbusiness.com/2022/01/27/dr-c-vanessa-white-discipline-leads-to-freedom/

On Care for Our Common Home' Podcast: Dr. C. Vanessa White - September 19, 2019
Podbean: https://learnatctu.podbean.com/e/on-care-for-our-common-home-podcast-dr-c-vanessa-white/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdf55MSXdKc

 

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People of African Descent on the Path to Sainthood

Printable bookmark of African Americans on their Way to Sainthood (PDF)

U.S. Black Catholic History Links

Black Catholic History page by Seattle University

Timeline from the National Black Catholic Congress

Sister Jamie T. Phelps, OP, discusses Black Catholics in America with Dr. Paul Lakeland for Fairfield University's "Voices of Others" video series

News report on one of the oldest Black Catholic parishes in the U.S., St. Elizabeth Catholic Church (formerly St. Monica) in Chicago, Illinois