“Silencing not only hurts the Church; it’s also not working. We’re not being silent, and more and more people are speaking up.”
Sr. Louise Akers
December 9, 1942 – February 7, 2018
Akers came to national prominence in 2009, when Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, then archbishop of Cincinnati, ordered her to publicly renounce her support for women’s ordination (women to become priests) or be prohibited from making presentations at archdiocesan-sponsored events, conducting retreats or reflection days, or teaching courses at sites directly related to the archdiocese. She refused. This was especially hurtful as she was friends with the archbishop and they had had a mutual respect.
For most of her life she advocated for the poor and for women. She was committed to social justice and equality, especially gender and racial equality. So, women’s ordination was an issue in line with making sure women, in the hierarchy of the Church, enjoyed the same level of leadership and authority.
She really did believe in The Church and thought it possible to make changes within its structure. But, unfortunately, Sr. Louise Akers died of melanoma and could not continue the fight. And the Church still does not allow women’s ordination, but her fierceness in taking on the patriarchy of such a powerful institution as the Catholic Church and refusing to back down we feel is worth recording.
On a personal note, Sr. Louise was my “Morality” teacher at my high school. I was so struck by her positive energy, kind heart and crystal blue eyes. She really advocated for all of us at our all girls Catholic school. I wish that she could have lived long enough to have enjoyed a more positive outcome. For me, it was one more reason to NOT be a part of this archaic system if they truly could not see the Christ in what she was fighting for. –Suzanne