From the Pews in the Back is a book filled with questions about Catholic identity. How do young Catholic women see or define themselves? What is their relationship to the church? What are their struggles and joys? In a church that often consigns them to the pews in the back, what place are young women claiming? This collection of twenty-nine essays approaches these questions from a multitude of angles. These brief memoirs, together with the insights of editors Kate Dugan and Jennifer Owens, offer a glimpse into what it means to be young, Catholic, and female in today’s church. These women wrestle with the Catholic faith and with the church. They ask hard questions of the institution and are not willing to take easy answers.
From the Pews in the Back is a new chapter in the dialogue about the role of women in the church. The voices of these women range from inspiring and energetic to challenging and wounded. Ultimately, though, these women are stubbornly hopeful. They are claiming a place in the church and are calling other Catholics to talk with them about this claim.
Kate Dugan was baptized, made First Reconciliation, received First Communion, was confirmed, and married in Immaculate Conception Parish in Watertown, South Dakota. She graduated from the College of St. Benedict and received her Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. This fall, she will begin a PhD program in religion at Northwestern University.
Jennifer Owens has spent most of her academic life and all of her teaching career in Catholic schools in Southern California. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in teaching from Loyola Marymount University. Jennifer recently completed her Master of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School and will begin doctoral studies in systematic and philosophical theology at the Graduate Theological Union this fall.