Catherine of Siena Virtual College

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Available Courses

  • icon
    This course examines the sources (Quran and Hadith) and the practice of Islam with a special emphasis (a) upon how women have shaped and continue to shape Islam and (b) upon current issues wherein Muslim women are re-examining their traditions. This course takes non-Muslims into the heart of Islam and allows them to build bridges of solidarity with Muslim women. Muslims, meanwhile, will find a fresh ways of appreciating and evaluating their local Islamic traditions.

  • iconAll ages and cultures have used story as a means of telling new generations about the past and educating children about desired codes of behavior. Story telling seems to have been important to human beings even before writing became a means to preserve these tales. Accordingly this course will begin by examining the oral and written narratives used by mothers to inculturate their daughters. You will learn to decipher the hidden wisdom and to discern the social conditioning implied in stories such as "Little Red Riding Hood." Then, once learned, these skills will be applied to modern English literature designed for children. Overall, this course will enable women to recover their past in order to better design the future for their mothers, sisters, and children. Cross-cultural component=+4 3 cr.hrs. Dr. Pat Pinsent

  • iconThis course explores the concepts of development, gender and microfinance. Globalization, neo-liberal economic policies and neo-colonialism are all examined in terms of their effects on women and especially the increase in the numbers of women living in poverty. Among the multitudes of interventions focusing on poverty alleviation, microfinance has gained traction worldwide largely through the efforts of Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank. Yet, recognising gender issues in microfinance, as in any project intervention, means more than creating a programme that targets women. Examining microfinance through a gender lens means examining the position of women in relation to the position of men as actors in the family, in society and in the political realm where women's roles are often defined by laws and custom.

    This course was designed by Dr. Anurekha Chari and outfitted for interactive learning by Dr. Aaron Rose-Milavec.

  • iconVatican II massively changed the way Catholics worship and the way Catholics thought of themselves regarding Jews, Muslims, and Protestants. The Council's four sessions from 1962 to 1965 and its 16 landmark documents renewed the priesthood and religious life, enhanced the roles open to women, and identified the church as the "people of God" attuned to the problems and hopes of the world. These changes, in large part, were inspired by a fresh understanding of the Scriptures. This course will explore this in depth along with the contributions that women have made following upon the Council. Sections of the Vatican documents will be read by way of confirming this new reading of the Scriptures.Click here for full details.

  • iconLeadership in the Jesus Movement, as instituted by Jesus Christ, has developed in many ways during the long history of the Church. What was Jesus' original vision? What practices go back to the first century?

    As always, the Church is being nourished and challenged by going back to its sources. Small wonder that theological scholars in our own times are re-examining the data provided by the inspired Scriptures. In particular, modern scholarship focuses on the position of Christian women. What functions and ministries, if any, were open to them? How did their participation provide an outreach and a charism that was unique to them as women?

  • MM

    Leadership in the Jesus Movement, as instituted by Jesus Christ, has developed in many ways during the long history of the Church. What was Jesus' original vision? What practices go back to the first century?

    As always, the Church is being nourished and challenged by going back to its sources. Small wonder that theological scholars in our own times are re-examining the data provided by the inspired Scriptures. In particular, modern scholarship focuses on the position of Christian women. What functions and ministries, if any, were open to them?  How did their participation provide an outreach and a charism that was unique to them as women?    Dr. Aaron Milavec


  • iconThis course focuses upon the integral role that "acting justly" plays in the self-understanding promoted by the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faith traditions. Guided by the feminist writing of Dr. Mary Grey, this course enables participants to rediscover the pivotal role that peace-making, doing justice, and sharing resources have with the prophetic spirituality of the Abrahamic faiths. 3 cr.hrs.


  • iconThis course has the following learning objectives: (a) to trace the historical stages of development in women’s involvement in Christian ministry; (b) to become aware of the various social and cultural prejudices that gradually caused the ban on women’s ministerial leadership to be enshrined in Church law; and (c) to be prepared to assess the correct rules of assessing what is, and what is not, genuine Christian Tradition. 3 cr.hrs. Dr. Aaron Milavec


  • iconGender based theories of violence against women focus on a prevalent belief system across cultures and religious systems where males are understood to be superior to women and entitled to maintain their authority over women using a variety of controlling and coercing means, including violence. The gender-based analysis recognizes the ways in which women have been conditioned to accept this belief system and the importance of educating women and men to the dangers and limitations of gender role conditioning. This course connects many forms of male violence against women, such as domestic violence, trafficking, female foeticide and infanticide, dowry deaths, and more.

  • ixonThis course is intended for women and men who want to understand and change the ways women’s sexuality and bodies have been shaped and controlled by religion and culture in negative ways. This course explores ways of enabling women to recover and regain control over our bodies, made good in the image of a good Creator (imago dei). While the course focuses on the issues from a woman’s perspective, it welcomes those men who wish to engage with these issues.

  • iconThis course examines how the current social, economic, and religious systems that promote the subordination of women also favor the domination and destruction of the environment. These systems are progressively depleting non-renewable resources, destroying the ozone layer, favoring global warming and the irreversible disruption of the planet’s long-term capacity to nurture its abundant life forms. Returning to the example of indigenous peoples and a women’s approach toward nurturing planetary life, this course explores alternate forms of environmental belonging that foster a reexamining of the myths that we live by and promote a renewed “religious” wonder, acceptance, and subservient living in alignment with our Mother Earth.
  • iconWe hear a lot about how women and girls have been socialized to think and to act in ways that put them at a disadvantage within their own cultures—but what about men and boys? What kinds of social conventions do males learn? Which ones are harmful, and what positive alternatives are available? We will explore a dozen case studies in order to understand how men have been damaged by the ideal of manhood into which they been socialized. Historical, sociological, psychological, biological, and anthropological perspectives will be examined and alternative visions in which new andmore discerning versions of masculinity will be envisioned.

  • iconThis course explores the human rights of women in India and provides the tools for developing the critical gender analysis needed to observe, evaluate, and act. Based on the work of various Indian scholars, this course allows participants to explore the images of women in the media, the dignity of women, women’s bodies, violence, working conditions, women’s spirituality and more. Because these sessions were crafted by and for women in India, one has the benefit of becoming aware of the joys and pains of women living within this cultural setting. The issues, however, transcend the Indian culture and bring insight and healing to women everywhere in their own native cultures.


  • iconThis course explores the human rights of women in India and provides the tools for developing the critical gender analysis needed to observe, evaluate, and act. Based on the work of various Indian scholars, this course allows participants to explore the images of women in the media, the dignity of women, women’s bodies, violence, working conditions, women’s spirituality and more. Because these sessions were crafted by and for women in India, one has the benefit of becoming aware of the joys and pains of women living within this cultural setting. The issues, however, transcend the Indian culture and bring insight and healing to women everywhere in their own native cultures.

  • iconThis course enables you, in the safe company of other women, to explore how to hear and respond to your own inner voices in the face of religious, cultural, and family expectations. This five-week course uses case studies and women-to-women interaction by way of illustrating the innovative learning style of Catherine College. Inter-cultural component = +8- 1 cr.hr. Note: This five-week course is especially designed for those who want (a) to explore their readiness for online learning and (b) to taste the innovative and interactive learning at Catherine College.

  • iconWomen writing, lives changing is a creative writing class that supports the lives of women for whom writing is, or is becoming, an important creative and spiritual practice. This class is designed to provide a safe and supportive space for women who want to explore their writing voice. Women are encouraged to tell their stories in whatever written form they wish to pursue, whether it is fiction, poetry, journal, essay, or drama. This opportunity to write, listen and be heard among a diverse, international, and intercultural community of writers gives voice to the depth and breadth of each woman’s story. 2 cr.hrs. Note: This course involves an online writing circle once each week.

  • iconThis course develops your managerial skills. It is designed to coach you in the basic skills that will be useful to you when planning projects or undertaking leadership responsibilities. 2 cr.hr. Dr. Nirmala Draksha Note: This course runs for seven weeks; our other courses run for ten weeks.
  • iconThis course explores particular issues affecting women and provides the tools for developing the critical gender analysis needed to observe, evaluate, and act. Based on the work of Indian scholar Virginia Saldhana who crafted these in offering workshops for uplifting women all over India. This course allows you to explore the images of women in the media, the dignity of women, women’s bodies, violence, widowhood, women’s spirituality and more. Because these sessions were crafted for women in India, one has the benefit of becoming aware of the joys and pains of women living within this cultural setting. The issues, however, transcend the Indian culture and bring insight and healing to Christians in their own native culture.

  • iconA manager's greatest asset is themselves and their relationships because a manager's first job is not to do things but to make them happen. The manager does this by making, maintaining and developing relationships within their team and with those outside their team which enable the tasks they need to do to be carried out effectively, efficiently and efficaciously.

    Our capacity to make, maintain and develop relationships begins to grow in young childhood and can continue to grow throughout our lives. So however far you are in your personal journey, there will always be ways in which you can develop this capacity.

    By the end of this course you will have greater understanding of yourself and
    your relationships and you will have developed your skills in a number of
    areas which enable you to manage yourself, lead your particular team and
    represent your team to others more effectively. - John Hudson

  • iconGrant proposals are a part of any fundraiser's portfolio. To achieve optimal success your grant proposals should be part of your overall fundraising plan. Grants may be from a variety of sources (such as a foundation or a government entity), but most require the same information. Here are the most common sections of grant proposals, and the information you should include.
  • iconThis five-week online seminar examines clergy sexual abuse of women, its history and dynamics, as well as offering resources to aid in the work of seeking justice and healing for victims.This seminar will create a safe-environment for critical inquiry and self-disclosure for a dozen participants. Participants will explore case studies and share their reflections online at a time of their own choosing three hours each week. Then, on five Thursdays (beginning July 14th at 09:00 New York time=18:30 India time), everyone will come together for a 90-minute live chatroom exchange.

  • iconIn September 2009 the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India officially approved The Gender Policy of the Catholic Church of India which officially rejected discrimination against women of all types as "contrary to God's intent and purpose (p. xi)." According to the document:

    The Christian understanding of gender equality is based on the biblical account of creation....Equality between women and men is seen both as a human rights issue and as a pre-condition for, and indicator of, sustainable people-centred development.

    In spite of man and woman being created equal by God, unfortunately, both in history and in today’s world there is gross discrimination against women. Still worse, justifications are given for discriminating between man and woman, boy and girl. Sometimes this is also done on the grounds of religious tradition.


    In this seminar we will explore the background for the construction of the document, its content and implications for the Catholic Church in India, the extent to which it has been implemented, and next steps for the future.

    Moderator: Ms. Deborah Rose-Milavec

  • iconIn this seminar we'll explore a variety of readings from feminist, womanist and mujerista theologians who were pioneers in the field such as Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza,Ada María Isasi-Díaz, Mary Daly, Emilie Townes, Letty Russell, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Elizabeth Johnson, Phillis Trible and others. You'll learn about the historic beginnings of feminist/womanist/mujerista theology and discover how the field has evolved over time.
  • iconModern notions of masculinity are being challenged as never before. Many believe the most stubborn and destructive problems facing the planet are linked to distorted notions of masculinity.

    In this four week seminar you'll have the opportunity to explore readings by Matthew Fox, Richard Rohr, Michael Kimmel and others. This seminar is for both men and women who want to explore new landscapes of masculinity for our time.

  • iconIn this first Madeleva seminar on spirituality, you will have the opportunity to engage with readings from the Madeleva Lecture Series. Named after the legendary Sister Madeleva Wolff, CSC, president of Saint Mary’s College from 1934 to 1961, the series is well known both nationally and internationally. Some of the most influential women scholars of the past twenty-five years are past-Madeleva Lecturers.

    In this seminar we will read the works of:

    1. Susan A Ross - For the Beauty of the Earth: Women, Sacramentality, and Justice

    A feminist theological and ethical exploration of women and beauty that draws on women's practices of beauty as sources of insight into the nature of beauty and as inspiration for connecting beauty and goodness.
    2. Kathleen Norris - Quotidian Mysteries, The: Laundry, Liturgy and Women's Work
    The bestselling author of The Cloister Walk reflects on the sanctifying possibilities of everyday work and how God is present in worship and liturgy as well as in ordinary life. Definitely not “for women only.”

    3.
    Sandra M. Schneiders - With Oil in Their Lamps: Faith, Feminism, and the Future

    The author examines the transformative effects of feminism on both twentieth-century America and the postconciliar Church and explores how a Gospel-informed feminism can offer a new vision of humanity, Church and a world for a new century.

    4. Elizabeth A. Johnson - Women, Earth, and Creator Spirit
    Makes the point that the social domination of women and the ecological domination of the earth are inextricably fused in theory and practice.



  • iconThis Madeleva Lecture Series focuses on topics related to ethics and theology by some of the best experts nationally and internationally. Join the conversation!

    1. Margaret A. Farley - Compassionate Respect: A Feminist Approach to Medical Ethics and Other Questions
    This book addresses current tensions in medical ethics as it has developed in the past thirty years.
    2. Lisa Sowle Cahill - Women and Sexuality
    This book addresses the ethics of sexualityfrom a feminist Christian standpoint.
    3.
    Joan Chittister -
    Job’s Daughters: Women and Power

    A
    historical/sociological review of women's powerlessness, taking Job as the prototype of the innocent victim and using May's classifications of power to find the integrative power of the future.
    4. Mary Catherine Hilkert - Speaking with Authority: Catherine of Siena and the voices of Women Today
    This book reflects on the person and impact of Catherine of Siena as a means to examine the challenges facing contemporary women of faith.

  • iconThe Madeleva Lecture Series is rich with insights into feminist spirituality. In this four week seminar you'll explore the following readings:

    1. Barbara Fiand -
    Awe-Filled Wonder: The Interface of Science and Spirituality

    Enter into the spiritual transformation and the expansion of consciousness that the extraordinary discoveries especially in quantum physics and cosmology are opening up for us today and inviting us to apply to our God quest, to our personal understanding of ourselves, and to our view of the world we live in.

    2. Sandra Marie Schneiders -
    Women and the Word: The Gender of God in the New Testament and the Spirituality of Women

    Working to resolve
    the problem of an exclusively male God-image that are both faithful to the tradition and liberating for women.

    3. Mary Collins - Women at Prayer

    Women have a special intuition of God that has been too long neglected by the churches but which can be recognized today in the experiences of remarkable women witnesses.
    4.
    Sidney Callahan - Women Who Hear Voices: The Challenge of Religious Experience
    This book explores women's experiences of community from God by considering recent psychological and theological thinking.

  • iconIn this seminar we'll explore a variety of readings from feminist theologians whose writings are rooted in the lived experiences of women from around the world. Chung Hyun Kyung, Kwok Pui Lan, Mercy Amba Oduyoye, Ursula King and other world class theologians will challenge us to engage in new ways of understanding each other, our communities and our relationship to God. We'll explore classical texts, as well as, new and notable texts.
  • Over the course of this five-week seminar participants will explore Indian culture, specifically through the lens of those traditions that threaten the physical or psychological health of women. Using case studies drawn from contemporary experiences of Indian women, participants will develop strategies for creating, discovering, or improving interventions. While this special seminar focuses on India, it provides participants with the tools for understanding and overcoming traditions in every culture that undervalues and underestimates the value of women.
  • book cover

    For those who have enjoyed reading Milavec's book, please consider sharing your thoughts, feelings, and personal stories at this exchange center. Persons distressed by what they have read are especially welcome. The website features open discussion, published reviews, insightful commentary, and spiritual nurture. Be my guest!


  • This course will introduce participants to the processes involved in a formal online learning course.

    It seeks to evaluate a pedagogical model designed for an open university in Nepal, based on the geographical, regional and linguistic diversity of Nepalese learners.

  • We are living in the second generation wherein Christians and Jews are able to engage in open and probative dialogue across the boundaries. Yet, on both sides, people come to the table with unexpressed suspicions, fears, and prejudices. The objective of this course is to create a safe place whereby the "tough questions" can be asked, where a whole new level of probative responses, challenges, and gut-feelings can be explored.

  • Francis with ClareI am interested in bringing together a group of scholar/teachers to search for St Francis of Assisi in as rich a historical context as possible, to know him as he was understood by his companions and near contemporaries.  -- Dr. William Cook


Welcome to Catherine of Siena Virtual College!

Catherine of Siena Virtual College is an international inter-religious non-profit educational enterprise specializing in gender justice education for women and men that transforms both individuals and society.

Our gender studies courses enable you to see clearly the origin of social, religious and cultural prejudices that have stifled the voices of women and subverted their dreams.

You will develop an informed awareness of the dynamic nature of societal and religious structures and acquire the analytical competencies necessary to subject these same structures to a process of examination, testing, and renewal.

Courses in progress are normally closed to visitors.

Our motto:

Empowering women for life and leadership

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