A New Home for the Women’s Leadership Institute

Helping women to develop their leadership skills and expand their ministries is one of hundreds of ways in which Medical Mission Sisters around the world try to be a healing presence to others today.

On September 11, 2010, Sister Miriam Therese Winter welcomed over 150 visitors to the new home of the Women’s Leadership Institute, which she founded 15 years ago and continues to direct. The newly renovated space in Hartford, Connecticut, is a “gift of love” from graduates and friends. A special, hour-long outdoor ceremony blessed this new space for learning, sharing and growing.

The Women’s Leadership Institute: A Program in Applied Spirituality (WLI) enables participants to develop and strengthen leadership skills while exploring a feminist perspective in religion and society. The new space will also have room for WLI2– an ongoing program for alumni that will celebrate the transformative ministries of its participants and offer a variety of programs for women through the year.

As Sister Miriam Therese explains, “The strength of this experience-based program lies in its capacity to speak honestly to the deepest of needs, to listen to and affirm women wherever they are on their journey, and to offer a rich mix of theory and theology, prayer and practical application, as the basis for facilitating leadership, and as substance for transformative change.”

Sister Miriam Therese was already well-known as an author, singer and composer when she became the first woman on the faculty of the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut in 1980. She continues there as Professor of Liturgy, Worship, Spirituality and Feminist Studies in the Center for Faith in Practice.

Participants in WLI are required to enroll in a Hartford Seminary course; complete a cross-cultural immersion experience; design and implement a leadership project; and attend 9 weekend seminars over the course of 9 months. This is a certificate program, although undergraduate and graduate students can receive academic credit for it.

Sister Miriam Therese reflects, “The heart of my ministry here is learning, and helping others to learn, how to be in conversation, and eventually in community, with those who are different and consequently force us out of our comfort zone…with Anna Dengel (our Foundress) we continue to envision a more just, compassionate, equitable world, where the light of God’s all encompassing spirit is there for everyone.”

October 1, 2010