Inside the Core this week, we are excited to celebrate an important publication by one of our Core faculty members, Sister Mary John Bosco Amakwe. Her chapter, entitled "African Catholicism and the Place of Women: Research and Advocacy," appears in Handbook of African Catholicism, edited by Stan Chu Ho (Orbis Books, 2022). Her text focuses on the many contributions of women in the African church and examines how Vatican II, with its emphasis on the laity, paved the way for women to play an important role in the Church as a whole, and in Africa specifically.
This book has been enormously well-received, with comments such as the following appearing on the jacket: "…This volume by a younger generation of African scholars is a welcome contribution to knowledge and Catholic intellectual tradition" (Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Bishop of Sokoto and author of Witness to Justice). Musa W. Dube, Professor of New Testament at Emory University, notes that the volume "fills an important theological lacuna in the African theological landscape and is a must-read for students, scholars, and lovers of African God talk…." Furthermore, Caroline N. Mbonu, HHCJ, of the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, says, "Contributions to this momentous interdisciplinary volume capture the religious imagination of Catholicism grounded in Africa's rich cultural diversity." In her chapter, Amakwe (Sister Bosco, as she likes to be called) closes with the anticipation of more research in this area of inquiry: "Research on the subject of African women should continue until their full potential is achieved, their dignity and freedom promoted and protected, and their persons respected, appreciated, and celebrated…. Long live women and long live the continent of Africa."
Sister Mary John Bosco E Amakwe (Sister Bosco) is a member of the Holy Family Sisters. She earned her Ph.D. in Communication/Sociology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, her MA in Communication from Pontifical Salesian University, and her BA in Missionary Spirituality from Pontifical Urban University. In 2017 she earned another MA in Post-Conflict State Reconstruction and a Graduate Certificate in the Studies of the United Nations from Seton Hall School of Diplomacy and International Relations. She joined the Seton Hall community in 2008 and taught Oral Communication in the Department of Communication and the Arts till 2018. In the academic year of 2018/2019, she taught CORE I – Journey of Transformation and now teaches CORE II – Christianity and Culture in Dialogue. She is the author of The Factors Influencing the Mobility of Women to Leadership and Management Positions in Media Industries in Nigeria (her dissertation and potential book). She has also published book chapters and many articles on Africa, especially on women, communication/media, Church, and society. Having traveled with her to Nigeria (with my daughter as well) in 2019, I saw that her colleagues in the Holy Family Seminary we visited refer to her as "a walking encyclopedia." The rector wanted her to help in the preparation of the young men being ordained that week, and she enthusiastically took on this task. Clearly, she both loves and is loved by the members of her order.
Here at Seton Hall, Sister Bosco is equally passionate about her classes in the University Core, and she sees an important connection between her scholarship and the Core itself. She says, "The CORE is about students' integral development as promoters and defenders of human dignity. By doing so, the CORE teaches how to transmit and translate the Catholic Intellectual Tradition in a multicultural way. This is what I try to do with this book chapter for women in my beloved African continent." We are so grateful to have an international scholar like Sister Bosco among our teaching faculty in the University Core.