The God-Quest and the Gift of Religious Life to the Church

  • Janet K Ruffing Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT, USA
Keywords: God-Quest, Religious Life, Ivone Gebara, Mary Jo Leddy


This essay describes a certain disconnection between the experience of women religious in the US and the Vatican’s official statements. It notes the distance between the lived experience of women religious in the depth of their contemplative living and the connection between the way they experience God/Jesus both in prayer and in ministry. It draws on the work of Sandra Schneiders on religious life and the God-quest and the feminist cultural and theological insights of Ivone Gebara and Mary Jo Leddy. It places a singlehearted relationship with God at the heart of religious vocation and connects this with ministerial creativity and fresh ways of understanding God in the present context. Thus, it links the mystical and the prophetic, and engagement with culture and the concrete suffering of others.


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