Message from the Chair

This past year I have had the privilege of working with a talented group of women in organizing this women’s day event. Their dedication to the committee and their creativity and spirit is commendable. It was with regret that I had to put my foundation on hold and step down as Chair of the committee in early January due to health reasons. The committee subsequently decided to cancel the event for this year. I apologize for any disappointment this cancellation may cause you. Over the next few days you will receive a refund for your ticket(s), if you have purchased any. Additional communication about future events will be posted on our website as it becomes available. Thank you for your enthusiastic support of this event and of women in theology.

Claudia Miatello – Chair, Celebrating Women in Theology Committee


Inviting inspiration…

On March 8, 2017, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, you are invited to be inspired and to inspire others.

Join us in celebrating a century of women in theology (WIT) in the Great Hall at Hart House!

Events include:

A panel discussion with: 

Joshna Maharaj, Activist, Chef
Ronda Nychka, Former dancer with the National Ballet of Canada; Anglican Priest
Roshni Jayawardena, Trinity College MDiv Student


Interactive art exhibition

Robin Pacific, Artist


Award Ceremony honouring:

Mary Jo Leddy, PhD, CM, Author, Professor, Theologian, Social activist


Gala dinner

Menu created by our panelist Joshna Maharaj, Activist Chef and nominee for the prestigious Basque Culinary World Prize.


Participate in our Be Inspired Program. Notable women in theology will be paired with female theology students of a different denomination or faith for one day. Students (mentees) will receive:

  • a free admission ticket to the celebration, paid for by her mentor;
  • a one day coaching opportunity to talk to a woman in theology about her experiences in theology;
  • personalized advice on the different career options and the strengths needed to perform well; and
  • the support and confidence to persevere in theological endeavours.

Mentors will receive:

  • the opportunity to make a difference to a new generation of women;
  • to help build up and encourage the presence and voices of women in academia, the church and the world;
  • to foster a sense of ecumenism.

Click here for ticket information.

Check back with us as photos and bios of women in theology will be added as we count down to the event.

Living Her Yes! Celebrating Women Driven By Love

Inspiring courage

Robin Pacific, Artist

“I think I inspire courage in people I meet and work with in various capacities. In Northwest Coast indigenous stories, the raven is the only creature who has the courage to fly into the darkness, and he returns carrying the sun in his beak. I think I inspire people to go into the dark places of life and the soul, and to return with the light.” – Robin Pacific

Robin Pacific is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work encompasses painting, drawing, installations, video, web-based art and community art. She has initiated many large scale participatory art projects over her twenty odd years working as an artist. She is a co-founder of Arts Starts Cultural Centre, now in its 23rd year programming community art in all media, in five neighbourhoods across the GTA.

Robin also has a practice as a Spiritual Director. See more about her Spiritual Direction and her art at

She holds a PhD in English Literature from York University and a Masters in Theological Studies from Regis College.

Inspiring originality

Katharine Lochnan, Senior Curator, Art Gallery of Ontario

“I hope to have inspired others to find meaning and purpose by engaging passion and spirituality in the creation of vision, and by conveying through collections, exhibitions, publications and lectures the vital interconnections between artistic creativity, faith and vision.” – Katharine Lochnan

Born in Ottawa and raised in London, England, Katharine’s love of art began early in life and blossomed. From copying Egyptian wall paintings at the British Museum as a child, to internships at the National Gallery of Canada, British Museum and at the Art Gallery of Ontario under the aegis of the legendary director Mario Amaya, Katharine has curated numerous exhibitions through negotiating loans with the Art Institute of Chicago, the Louvre in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City – all while simultaneously embarking on her PhD at the Courtauld Institute.

Her current exhibition at the AGO, “Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh & More”, is heralded by the Globe and Mail as “A feast for the senses and the soul”. The exhibition runs from October 22, 2016 – January 29, 2017. Visit for details.

Meet Katharine, an M.T.S. Graduate from Regis College and a mentor at our 2017 event.


Inspiring love

Josephine Lombardi, Associate Professor, Pastoral and Systematic Theology, Professor of Field Education, and Director of Lay Formation, St. Augustine’s Seminary

“I inspire people to believe that God is love (1 John 4:8).” – Dr. Josephine Lombardi

Dr. Lombardi has worked as a parish minister, university campus minister, high school chaplaincy leader, teacher educator through O.E.C.T.A., professor of Religious Education, Brock University, retreat facilitator, faith formation consultant, and program coordinator in the Diocese of Hamilton. Presently, she is Associate Professor of Pastoral and Systematic Theology, Professor of Field Education, and Director of Lay Formation for St. Augustine’s Seminary in Scarborough, Ontario. She has done media work in radio and television and has been an advisor to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in the area of doctrine and Catholic-Muslim relations. Her book, On Earth as it is in Heaven, has been featured on CTS and Salt and Light Television.

More recently, she has been appointed Series Theologian for the new Religious Education curriculum for grades 1 through 8, “Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ” for Catholic School Boards in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Visit Josephine’s website at:

Inspiring service


Christine Way-Skinner, Catechist, St John Chrysostom Parish

“There is a quote from Rabindranath Tagore posted on my bulletin board which  reads, “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was  service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”  I live in constant gratitude  that my vocation in life has been to minister to people in their times of  greatest joy and suffering and to bring theological insights which help give  meaning to their lives.  There are days in which I think about the  particular path of service that I have been allowed to travel and this sense  of gratitude is overwhelming.  I hope that the joy I feel in living out my  vocation to serve, inspires others to serve in their own unique and  marvellous ways.” – Christine Way-Skinner

Christine Way Skinner is a catechist at St. John Chrysostom Parish in Newmarket, Ontario.  She received a Bachelor of Arts from St. Francis Xavier University and a Masters of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School.  She would probably have finished the doctorate in theology she began years ago if she and her husband Michael had not begun raising a houseful of children while working as full-time in parish ministry.  When she is not driving her children to activities, she is trying to find inclusive, compelling and creative ways to pass on the church’s 2000 year old traditions.  Christine has a special interest in sacraments and liturgy, inclusive catechesis, the neuroscience of ritual, and the use of art in religious education.  Most recently she has published a  series of children’s books with Novalis.

Inspiring humour

Leanna Cappiello, Social & Community Coordinator, St. Basil’s Parish

“Sometimes people let fear get in the way, me included. But is this the way we want to live and love? Or should we imagine a better life full of things better than we imagine? The word “courage” comes from the Latin word Cor, which refers to the heart. I think a big part of courage is joy and laughter. Humour is not always “funny” but “lighthearted” and “open”. We all need to laugh at ourselves sometimes.” – Leanna Cappiello

Leanna Cappiello holds her Bachelor in Drama in Education & Community, went on to complete her Bachelor of Education at Queen’s University, and is currently pursuing her M.T.S. at Regis College. Leanna’s work has landed her in classrooms, hospitals, theatres and campuses. She has been an intern with Salt+Light Media, which led her to an internship in New York City at the United Nations with the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See. As a freelance writer, Leanna and has been published in both secular and religious media, including CBC’s Generation Why Magazine, Salt+Light Blog,, The Catholic Register, and Busted Halo. As the Social & Community Coordinator at St. Basil’s Parish, Leanna’s work centres around building community through education, relationship, and hospitality.



Inspiring initiative

Fiona Li, Th.M student, St. Michael’s College


Christine Way-Skinner, Catechist, St John Chrysostom Parish

“I think I inspire initiative. When I meet people, I take the initiative to get to know the other person, and to make sure that he / she feels welcomed. It is my hope that through this initiative to establish a relationship with the other person, he / she will feel empowered and will take the initiative  to do the same with other people.” – Fiona Li

Fiona Li graduated with an M.T.S. degree from the University of St. Michael’s College in November 2015. She is now completing her Th.M. degree at St. Michael’s College, focusing on Feminist Theology. She hopes that one day, God-willing, she will enter the Ph.D program, graduate and become a professor.

Inspiring beauty

Ronda Nychka, Former Soloist, The National Ballet of Canada; Anglican priest

Ronda Nychka trained at Canada’s National Ballet School. She was a Principal Ballerina with the Deutsche Opera in Berlin and a Soloist with The National Ballet of Canada. She has danced on stage with Karen Kain, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rex Harrington O.C. and Frank Augustyn O.C. in various roles in The Nutcracker, Giselle, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet and La Ronde. In 2009, she was ordained an Anglican priest.

Ronda has filled rooms with her charm, beauty and grace. Hear her life story on March 8th.

Inspiring mission

Margaret Lavin, Former Vice-President  & Professor Emerita, Regis College

“The woman who most inspires me in scripture is the woman at the well.  I love her sassiness.  She took Jesus on, and I think we have to be that bold. In the end, He sent her out to be a disciple.  – Be a disciple!. Go out and inspire!” – Margaret Lavin
Dr. Margaret Lavin earned her Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from the Faculty of Theology at the University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto.  She also received a Master of Religious Education from this same institution. Further, while attending Regis College, the Jesuit Faculty of Theology at the University of Toronto, Margaret completed a Bachelor of Sacred Theology and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (Summa Cum Laude). Her undergraduate degrees include an honours Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from York University, Toronto, and a Bachelor of Education from St. Andrew’s College in Glasgow Scotland.
She is currently working on her third book that explores how religious belief is affected by language and culture.