Dr. Diana Hayes at the Mount

“Difference is not dangerous; difference is Divine,” began Dr. Diana Hayes, featured speaker for the Erie Benedictines’ recent community weekend. “Our differences come from God; God created all in God’s image.”

Throughout her career, Dr. Hayes has lectured extensively on issues of race, class, gender and religion, womanist and Black theologies, women in the Catholic Church, and African American Religions. In her time with the community and its oblates she shared her insights on the challenge of racism today by exploring the history of racism in the United States, including Christianity’s role in its evolution, its persistent presence today, and white privilege and its ongoing impact.

On behalf of the community, Sister Stephanie Schmidt, Director of Ongoing Formation expressed gratitude to Dr. Hayes: “Thank you for sharing your stories, experiences and perspectives on the challenge of racism in 2017. By walking us through history you have made us more aware and reminded us that there is only one race—the human race.”

Diana L. Hayes is Emerita Professor of Systematic Theology at Georgetown University (retired). She holds the Juris Doctor (Law), PhD (Religious Studies) and Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD) degrees and is the first African American woman to earn a Pontifical Doctorate in Theology (Catholic University of Louvain). Hayes is the author of 7 books as well as over 85 articles and book chapters. She has received numerous awards including the Elizabeth Seton Medal for Outstanding Woman Theologian and the US Catholic Award for Furthering the Role of Women in the Church as well as three honorary doctorates.