Divinely Empowered, Spiritually Gifted: Women in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement in Trinidad

By Charisa - marie Alexis.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: October 16, 2014 $US5.00

Roman Catholic teaching developed since Vatican II (1962 – 1965) enunciates that Jesus Christ established and ordained a male clergy through his appointment of twelve male disciples. Predicated on this, Roman Catholic women have been denied ordination and access into positions of spiritual authority. In the island of Trinidad however, it has been observed that women have created a unique space for agency that has been seldom a focus of theoretical inquiry. This has been achieved through the emergence of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement (1971), a spirit filled upsurge that revived the entire Church. Through the establishment of powerful prayer ministries, women were the initiators of a new “female centred” spiritual wave; they were all pioneers establishing their own Renewal Communities, and in many instances singlehandedly administering spiritual affairs. These meetings were the perfect environment for God’s visitation, which eventually resulted in the bestowal of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of Glossolalia (speaking in tongues) upon all attendants. Inevitably, this phenomenon couldn’t be contained; the meetings soon expanded throughout the island, and as the years progressed, specific women saw it fit to establish Renewal Communities that would be the mechanisms used to make Renewal a more visible movement. This paper is a subset of a larger research entitled “Zelophehad’s Daughters,” which is focused on addressing the experiences of female leaders within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement in Trinidad. Using Feminist Theology as its theoretical foundation and the Interpretative Phenomenological Methodological Approach, this research will attempt to examine the relationship between spiritual experiences and female leadership within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement.

Keywords: Agency, Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement, Glossolalia, Feminist Theology, Interpretative Phenomenology

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 11, Issue 4, October 2014, pp.57-68. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: October 16, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 387.187KB)).

Charisa - marie Alexis

PhD Candidate, Department of Cultural Studies, University of the West Indies, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago