Sr. Jamie (aka “Sr.-Dr.” in some university contexts) has been a member of the Adrian Dominican Sisters since 1959. Currently Sr. Jamie is a freelance Theologian, lecturer and a facilitator for Bible study at St. Ambrose and St. Thomas the Apostle parishes in Chicago and a lecturer for Pax Christi’s “Communities of Color Mobilizing for Peace” weekends. Prior to this, Sr. Jamie served as the Director of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies and the Katherine Drexel Professor of Systematic Theology of Xavier University of Louisiana from 2003-2011. Additional ministerial appointments included being a member of the theological faculties of the Catholic Theological Union (1986 ‑1998) and Loyola University (1998- 2003), both in Chicago, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Theology in the Religious Studies Department at the University of Dayton, Dayton Ohio (January-May, 2003). She most recently completed a one-year visiting professorship in the Theology in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame (2012-2013). She had previously taught at the University of Notre Dame as a visiting professor during the 2005-2006 academic term
Dr. Phelps holds a B.A. in sociology from Siena Heights University, Adrian Michigan (1969), an M.S.W. in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago (1972); a M.A. in Theology from St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota (1975) and a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC (1989) and an honorary doctorate from Aquinas Institute (2016). Her formal education has been augmented by participating in national and international seminars and conferences in the United States as well as Puerto Rico; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Jamaica; Toronto, Ottawa & Nova Scotia, Canada; Enugu, Nigeria; Johannesburg, Praetoria and Capetown, South Africa; Zimbabwe; and Rome, Italy.
She has edited two books Black and Catholic: The Challenge and Gift of Black Folk and coedited with Fr. Cyprian Davis, OSB Stamped in the Image of God: African Americans as God’s Image in Black. In addition, she has published more than fifty theological articles on issues of the mission of the Church, evangelization, inculturation, Christology, and spirituality. These articles have appeared in scholarly books and journals including The Bible Today, Missiology, New Theology Review, Theological Studies, U. S. Catholic Historian, Spiritual Traditions for the Contemporary Church edited by Gabriel O’Donnell and Robin Mass, A Troubling in My Soul: Womanist Reflections on Evil and Suffering edited by Emilie M. Townes, Taking Down Our Harps: Black Catholics in the United States edited by Diana Hayes and Cyprian Davis, and Black Faith and Public Talk, edited by Dwight N. Hopkins, The Spirit in the Church and the Word edited by Braford E. Hinze and the 2008 Advent Meditation Booklet for Pax Christi.
Her most widely read article is “Communion Ecclesiology and Black Liberation Theology” Theological Studies, Vol. 61 #4 December, 2000. Currently she is in the process of research and writing a theological book on the local and global mission of the church in a multicultural society.
Theological Teaching Fields
Primary Areas-Systematic Theology: Ecclesiology (nature and mission of Church including evangelization, social justice, inculturation, communion etc.,) Trinitarian Theology, Christology, Theology of Grace, Pneumatology, Spirituality, Faith and Revelation, Liberation Theologies Secondary Areas—Sociology, Culture and Race Theory
Sr. Jamie believes in developing institutions to ensure the on-going growth and development of theology and ministry in the Catholic and Black Catholic Community. She was a founding member of the Washington-based National Black Sisters Conference in 1968; a major consultant for the founding of The Institute of Black Catholics Studies in 1982; the inaugurator and founding director of the Catholic Theological Union’s Augustus Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program which prepares Black Catholic laypersons for ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago inaugurated in 1990 and the re-founder of The Black Catholic Theological Symposium , a national inter-disciplinary theological society for Black-Catholics holding doctoral degrees in theology and related fields in 1991.
Currently Sr. Jamie is a freelance Theologian, lecturer and a facilitator for bible study at St. Ambrose and St. Thomas the Apostle parishes in Chicago and a lecturer for Pax Christi’s “Communities of Color Mobilizing for Peace” weekends. During the past 55 years she has devoted her life to public church ministry. She has served the church and society as an educator, professional psychiatric social worker, community organizer, (Hansberry Parenting Project, Mercy Hospital and Chicago Child Care Society) pastoral minister, consultant, lecturer, liturgist, spiritual director, preacher, retreat director, administrator, scholar, theologian, author, editor and radio commentator and editor for NewYork’s Radio Solidarite.