Tuesday, November 26, 2013

National Black Catholic History Month: Dr. Diana L. Hayes

While I was a student at Georgetown, I had the pleasure of taking a class -- just one, sadly -- with Dr. Diana L. Hayes.

It was just a 'Intro to the Bible' class (I got an 'A,' because, obviously), but she was a revelation, so dynamic, so knowledgeable. I hadn't known anything about her before I took the class, and when I went on to do a little surreptitious research, I was incredibly impressed by her body of work and her focus on the experiences of black Catholics. I went on to read everything I could find that she's published. I sincerely regret that I didn't have a chance to take more classes with her -- and that I didn't keep up with her after the class (and it would probably seem creepy and fangirlish if I contacted her today to tell her how her example influenced me, right?).

She is the first black American woman to earn a Pontifical doctorate in theology (Catholic University of Louvain), and also holds law and doctor of sacred theology degrees.

Dr. Hayes has also written books with Fr. Cyprian Davis, about whom I wrote earlier this month. Her books include Taking Down Our Harps: Black Catholics in the United States, Hagar’s Daughters: Womanist Ways of Being in the World, And Still We Rise: An Introduction to Black Liberation Theology and -- a Lenten favorite in my household -- Were You There?: Stations of the Cross.

Dr. Hayes has since retired from Georgetown, but has lectured throughout the world on subjects including black theology, womanist theology and black liberation theology.

Follow my National Black Catholic History Month tag for more information on black Catholic notables.

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