Sr Louise Akers – recognized and admired – again.
Sister Louise Akers Named as “Enduring Spirit Recipient”MUSE is proud to announce this year’s Enduring Spirit Award Recipient, Sr. Louise Akers.
Who better personifies the characteristics of the MUSE Enduring Spirit Award than does Sister Louise Akers? Sister Louise exemplifies the highest order of people whose professed beliefs (creeds) match seamlessly their actions (deeds) in the pursuit of peace and justice for all, and women in particular.
Akers is a member of the Sisters of Charity religious community and is founder of the Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation [OPJIC]. The mission of OPJIC is to work for justice as agents of change. Their priority issues are 1. Earth: awareness of the interconnectedness of all human and non-human life and the urgency of our global responsibility; 2. Women: awareness of the sexist attitudes and behaviors which violate the dignity of women and the injustices that they promote; 3. Active Nonviolence: awareness of the interconnectedness of personal, societal and global violence done to humanity and earth; 4. Political and Church Systems: awareness of the effects of dominant power structures so that we may work toward deconstructing existing systems and construct a new paradigm; 5. Anti-Racism: awareness of personal, societal, global, systemic oppression that dehumanizes the “other.”
Sister Louise joined the Sisters of Charity in her teens, committed at a young age to make connections in her own life as well of the lives of the people she would teach. Her 1974 master’s thesis in theology was titled the “Prophecy of Martin Luther King, Jr.” In 1996 she completed her doctorate in ministry, as a true a feminist theologian, with her
dissertation “Patriarchal Power and the Pauperization of Women.”
We know Sister Louise Akers questioned many traditional beliefs within the church while adhering to doctrine. Perhaps she wondered how she might breathe real life into what she believed and to what her conscience dictated. How would she move from mere creeds to deeds, from study and contemplation to effective and significant actions. How would she take a stand?
In line with her long history of speaking out for justice, she took a stand for women’s equality in the Catholic Church. She followed deeply held beliefs of conscience and became a spokeswoman and member of a worldwide movement to ordain women. it is for this reason that Archbishop Daneil Pilarczyk issued an ultimatum to her in 2009. he told Akers to remove her name and picture from the main website, advocating ordination of women, and ordered her not to speak out, teach, or participate in dialogue about women’s ordination.
She agreed to take her name and picture from the website, but as a matter of conscience, she refused to silence herself on matters of women’s equality as members of the clergy.
For this action, she is officially silenced, barred from teaching at any Catholic Church, school, or college in Cincinnati. What did she do to merit this ultimatum?
Since her silencing by local church officials, Sister Louise has been compared to Mohandas K. Gandhi and to Dr. Martin Luther King. Her prophetic voice, like theirs, cannot be silenced.
MUSE stands with Sister Louise Akers. When she asks us to sing out against injustices, we have joined her wholeheartedly. We joined her in Glendale when men and women gathered, after her banning, to support her. We sang in solidarity with her courageous stand. We sang most recently when she asked us to sing for the Stopping Violence Against Women Conference at Seton High School. As she opened the conference, Akers said, “Violence against women in a global issue, and it is a local issue. I’ve met women at shelters with powerful stories and frightening experiences…”and she got those women to share their experiences at the conference.
Withe deepest respect, admiration, and love, MUSE awards Sister Louise Akers the Enduring Spirit Award. When brave souls stand up for what is right and just, we are inspired. One person indeed makes a difference. We also know that when one woman stands up for justice and peace, the multitudes are empowered by her actions. We are witness to what makes change, and this i the social change we mean in our mission when we speak out for musical excellence and social change. MUSE will join Sister Louise Akers whenever and wherever. We who believe in freedom
“In 2009 Akers joined a long line of intelligent, articulate Catholics who have been officially silenced by Church leaders. Cincinnati archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk barred Akers from teaching or speaking in any institution related to his archdiocese, where she had served and taught for decades. His reason? She refused to publicly renounce her belief that women should be allowed to become priests…” See: Sun Magazine.org