Sr. Janet Eisner, SND Speaks at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry Commencement
June 03, 2010
Emmanuel College President Sister Janet Eisner, SND was honored as the first-ever speaker for Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry Commencement, held on the university’s Brighton campus on May 24th. Sr. Janet, who holds a Master of Arts degree from Boston College, spoke about her ministry as a college president and woman religious and civic leader.
Sr. Janet discussed the joys of serving Emmanuel College as president and the mission and legacy of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur that continues to inspire her. She expressed the importance of having places such as Emmanuel College and Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, “where faith and reason are in dialogue and pursued through the complexity of contemporary science, philosophy and social science.”
“Catholic colleges and universities are not only educating the future leaders for our church and society, but they provide a place for informed open debate on central issues to the church in an environment which welcomes a diversity of insight,” she said. “This is a gift to the church.”
Initially asked by members of the graduating class about what it is like to be a woman in the church today, she described how it has meant being engaged beyond her primary role as Emmanuel’s president – serving on committees for reconfiguration of churches, new leadership and planning for Catholic schools, and most of all, “building relationships of trust between laity and clergy to effect change and further the mission of the local church.”
She cited recent examples of people working together to do just that, namely: Sr. Carol Keehan, the CEO of the Catholic Health Association, who supported the Congressional legislation on the health bill and has worked to expand health coverage; The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents religious communities and took a stand to support legislation on behalf of the poor, especially women and children; and Boston’s “2010 Initiative,” established by Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., five years ago with the assistance of the business, philanthropic and educational community, which has raised $50 million for Boston Catholic Schools.
“Clearly, when we come together as engaged laity working with bishops and pastors on behalf of the mission….we are at our best and the mission flourishes,” Sr. Janet told the Class of 2010. “There are still complex issues to be resolved, but there are many more people at the table and more voices part of the dialogue.”