Date of Award


Access Restriction

Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts



School or College

Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Cecilia González-Andrieu


In the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the wives of the married applicants, aspirants and candidates to the permanent diaconate are required to accompany their husbands during the process of formation. Currently, the formation program does not engage them fully. Since women cannot be ordained as deacons, they are not perceived as the intended recipients for the formation offered by the program.

This study proposes an alternative vision and theological framework. The study affirms the full dignity of women as human beings created in the image and likeness of God and therefore, perfectly well suited to be icons of God as they minister to the Christian community and to the world. The study explores the ministry of notable women mentioned in the New Testament, particularly Mary the mother of God; Mary Magdalene; Mary of Bethany; the foreigner woman identified as a Syrophoenician in the Gospel of Mark and as a Canaanite in the Gospel of Matthew; the Samaritan woman at the well; Phoebe, introduced by St. Paul to the Romans as a Deacon and the women mentioned in the First Letter to Timothy in the middle of the author’s list of requirements for deacons.

While remaining open to the possibility of women being admitted to the ordained permanent diaconate, this study aims at providing a theological and practical framework to make the diaconate formation program more meaningful and fruitful for the women in it. The ministry of women is as important and valuable as the ministry of men and formation for ministry is a good that ought to be made available to those who seek that formation.

This proposal includes the modification of the vision, policies, procedures and curriculum of diaconate formation to make the formation of women an explicit and integral part of the program.