Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.


Women as Deacons

Women as Deacons

More From Theresa

In this video

Kane looks at the history of the Catholic Church to understand why it's been slow to bring women into the ministries.

Theresa's Biography

Three Attributes to Describe Herself: Peaceful, partygoer, and social
Proudest Accomplishment: Her life decision to become a Catholic nun.
Special Guests: Her mother, sister, and niece traveled from New York to be in the audience during her 1979 papal greeting.
Back to School: She went back to school in her mid-50s for a Master's in Women's Studies. 

In 1979, Sister Theresa Kane was serving as President of the US Leadership of the Women Religious when she was invited to publicly address Pope John Paul II during his visit to the National Shrine in Washington DC. She came before the Pope and the packed pews and said quietly: “We have heard the powerful message of our church addressing the dignity and reverence of all persons. As women, we have pondered these words." The Church, "must respond by providing the possibility of women as persons being included in all ministries.” While the Pontiff himself did not immediately respond, Sister Theresa’s words were broadcast and televised around the world. They continue to reverberate today. She says her plea was “a surprise” to the public, “but not to professional theologians or those in the sisterhood…we were looking at the role of women in the church and society and I was quite imbued in that culture.”
She has continued to speak, to teach, and to lobby for the expansion of women’s roles within the Church. And she left an impression: When a member of Sister Theresa’s order met with the Pope nineteen years later, he made note of the connection and asked if the sister knew her. The reply was “yes.” John Paul II asked the sister—not once, but twice—to “give my regards to Sister Kane.” 

Related Videos

Marlen Esparza
Marlen Esparza

Growing up in Houston, Texas, Marlen Esparza knew she wanted to be in the boxing ring. With the support of her father and coach - along with her hard work - Esparza has managed to ...

Sherry Lansing
Sherry Lansing
Pioneer Studio Executive & Philanthropist

Sherry Lansing was a trailblazer, visionary, and leader in the motion picture business for almost 30 years and involved in the production, marketing, and distribution of more than ...

Wendy Clark
Wendy Clark
Former Senior Marketing Executive, Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola Company's plans to double its revenue by 2020, and Wendy Clark, SVP of integrated marketing communications and capabilities, is at the heart of making that happen...

Hu Shuli
Hu Shuli
Investigative Journalist

Hu Shuli grew up and studied in Beijing, where she proceeded to become an investigative journalist, founding her own financial magazine. A five month trip to the United States earl...