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Mary Novak, J.D., M.A.P.S. NETWORK Executive Director

Mary J. Novak is the sixth Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, and the first lay leader to guide the organization, which was founded by Catholic Sisters 50 years ago.  She is an Associate Member of the Congregation of St. Joseph.

Mary’s experience as an organizer and activist as well as a trauma-informed lawyer, educator, chaplain, and restorative justice practitioner, informs her ability to integrate all aspects of the organization to advance NETWORK’s mission. These experiences have also inspired her to initiate a shared leadership model for the first time in NETWORK’s history. Together, the leadership team is positioning NETWORK for the future, strengthening relationships with partners who serve the common good, and ensuring that the NETWORK community flourishes in the shared pursuit of justice.

A graduate of Santa Clara University Law School and Washington Theological Union, Mary also studied theology and spirituality at Santa Clara University. Prior to leading NETWORK, Mary served as Associate Director of Mission Integration and law professor at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. Mary served as the founding Chair of the Board of the Catholic Mobilizing Network and is currently Chair of the Advisory Board of the Initiative on Restorative Justice and Healing at the University of St. Thomas Law School. 

Please join us for the Rev. Francis L. Markey Women in Ministry Speaker event on Tuesday, April 23rd at 7:00pm.

The link for the Livestream of this panel event is here. 


Mary Novak smiling portrait

The link for the Livestream of this panel event is here.  

Elsie Miranda, Ph.D. 

Dr. Elsie Miranda was named director of accreditation for the Association of Theological Schools 2018 and added director of diversity to her portfolio in 2022. She began her work at ATS after 22 years at Barry University's Department of Theology and Philosophy, serving as associate professor of practical theology and director of ministerial formation. As a Cuban American and practical theologian, Elsie has focused her research interests on the intersection of faith, socio-cultural, and socio-political realities and how these impact intellectual, human, and spiritual formation. Her most recent interests consider the renewal of Christian anthropology as integral to safeguarding the sacredness of creation and the dignity of all persons, regardless of race, gender, sexual identity, or status, in applying Catholic Social teaching, as foundational to lived faith. Additional details of Dr. Miranda can be found at Elsie Miranda | ATS Staff 

Dr. Elsie Miranda

Rachel Bundang, Ph.D. 

Dr. Rachel Bundang is a Catholic feminist ethicist. Based in the Bay Area, she teaches on the Religious Studies faculty at Sacred Heart Preparatory in Atherton and is part of the faculty team piloting a program at the Franciscan School of Theology for those seeking training and certification in lay ministry in Asian/Pacific Islander communities. She also teaches occasionally in the Graduate Program for Pastoral Ministries faculty at Santa Clara University. Alongside a steady stream of workshops, retreats, and written works, recent projects include team research into theological responses to COVID among Filipino healthcare workers, engagement on the latest waves of anti-Asian violence, and wrestling with questions of moral formation in digital life. Her areas of interest lie at the intersections of race, feminism, technology, inequality, the arts, and Catholic social teaching. As a liturgist, she preaches and leads music regularly at her local parish.

Rachel Bundang, Ph.D. headshot

C. Vanessa White, D.Min.

Dr. Vanessa White is a tenured Associate Professor of Spirituality and Ministry at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and Director of the Certificate in Black Theology and Ministry. She holds a dual appointment as Associate Director of the Th.M. Program (Master of Theology) at Xavier University’s Summer Institute for Black Catholic Studies. She is a member of the Catholic Theological Society of America, the American Academy of Religion (AAR), the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, the Black Catholic Theological Symposium, and the National Black Storyteller Association.

A womanist practical theologian, her research is focused on the intersections of spirituality and praxis and is attentive to issues of discernment, health, racial justice, diversity/intercultural dialogue, women’s spirituality, leadership development, spiritual and ministry formation, spiritual practices, lay ministry, adult faith formation and issues pertinent to the life of Black Catholics. Her full bio can be found at C. Vanessa White | Catholic Theological Union (

C. Vanessa White, D. Min. headshot

Elyse Raby, Ph.D.

Dr. Elyse Raby is an assistant professor in the religious studies department at Santa Clara University. Her research focus is on the study of the church, and especially how embodiment, gender, and the church intersect. As a Catholic systematic theologian, her research is in the areas of ecclesiology and theological anthropology. Her secondary research interests are in feminist theology and issues of gender and sexuality. As a teacher, she invites her students to encounter the sacramental worldview of Catholicism, explore Christianity’s relevance for contemporary life, and critically analyze the church from the perspective of its own stated ideals.

Long educated in the Jesuit tradition, Dr. Raby holds a Ph.D. from Boston College, a Masters in Theological Studies from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, and a Bachelors in Religious Studies from Fairfield University (CT). Her full CV can be found at Elyse Raby | Santa Clara University.

Elyse Raby, Ph.D. headshot

Sister Nancy Schreck

Sister Nancy Schreck explored with us the challenge of making a difference in our neighborhood, church, civic community, and the world in a time unlike any other! She highlighted that it all begins with a commitment to do the inner work which is as large and necessary as the outer work. To do so takes energy, courage, and big dreams. As Lisa Haish says “Leadership is not about the role, it's always about the goal.

We invite you to watch Sr. Nancy's inspiring and hope-filled message for transformational leadership.

Sister Nancy Schreck headshot

Meghan J. Clark, Ph.D.

Meghan J. Clark, Ph.D. amazed us as she shared from her personal experiences as a Moral Theologian who lives out her baptismal promises in the field in parts of Africa and the Middle East and in the classroom as a Catholic Theologian. If you were unable to be with us for the Rev. Francis L. Markey Women in Ministry Speaker Series event on May 13, 2021, a recording of the event is available below by clicking the image. Please feel free to share it with your friends.

We invite you to watch Dr. Clark's captivating presentation.

Meghan Clark Head shot

Sr. Carol Keehan

Sister Carol Keehan, DC, revealed several initiatives by the Vatican for global pandemic relief among other inspirational insights at the Rev. Francis L. Markey Women in Ministry Speaker Series event on April 12, 2021. If you were unable to be with us a recording of the event is available below by clicking the image.

We invite you to watch Dr. Keehan's informative presentation.

Sister Carol Keehan, DC

Diana Butler, Ph.D.

We were enlightened and enlivened by Diana Butler Bass, Ph.D., and the sharing of the group on 12/17/2020 during our annual Rev. Francis L. Markey Women in Ministry Speaker Series event. If you were unable to be with us a recording of the event is available below by clicking the link. Please feel free to share it with your friends.

We invite you to watch Dr. Bass' heartfelt presentation.

Diana Butler Bass closeup

Edwina Gately

Edwina Gateley captivated all at the Rev. Francis L. Markey Women in Ministry event on 10/22/19. She spoke to the hearts as she recounted in her talk, "A Journey of Faith and Ministry from the African Bush to the Bars and Brothels of the City" If you were unable to be with us a recording of the event is available below by clicking the link. Please feel free to share it with your friends.

Edwina Gateley

Professors Gary Macy, Ph.D. & Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D

Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future with Distinguished Professors Gary Macy, Ph.D. and Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D., moderated by Paul Crowley, S.J., Ph.D., S.T.L. on Monday, March 25th in the Music Recital Hall was a revealing and thought-provoking exchange that kept an audience of about 150 interested people in their seats for two hours.

Please click here for the recording of this stimulating conversation.  

Women Deacons Past, Present, Future

Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, Ph.D.

Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ launched the inaugural Rev. Francis L. Markey Women in Ministry Speaker Series lecture, on November 6, 2018, in the Mission Church at Santa Clara University with an inspiring and riveting talk entitled, “Your One Wild and Precious Life: Women On The Road of Ministry.  Click here for the recording of this stimulating conversation. 

Elizabeth Johnson Head shot