Rita is a member of Ascension parish in NY, NY. She had a 32+ year career at IBM, in sales and Change Strategy Consulting. She is on FutureChurch’s Board of Directors and is committed to restoring our historical memory of early Christian women leaders with a special advocacy for Mary Magdalene.
From 2015-2020 Rita has researched the questions, “What happened? Why, in 591, did Pope Gregory I distort Mary Magdalene by conflating her with Luke’s unnamed sinner (7.36-50) and Mary of Bethany?” “Why do so many still believe the legends, versus the scripture today?” She is documenting answers to those questions in the “Reclaim Magdalene Statement” and is working to share the history of the conflation and of its effects with all.
Rita commissioned the sculpted relief – “Mary Magdalene Proclaims the Resurrection” (Margaret Beaudette, SC, 2014) and has sponsored lectures at Boston College and Fordham University. (Links below.) In June 2015, working with a small group, she requested that Pope Francis issue a corrective teaching and elevate Mary Magdalene’s memorial to a Solemnity. A year later (June 3, 2016), the Vatican changed her mass to a Feast (a level below a Solemnity) and issued a decree declaring her an apostle and evangelizer. She and Mary, the mother of Jesus, are the only women saints with Feast designations. These are great steps, but more needs to be done to fully restore Mary Magdalene and other New Testament women to their rightful places in our liturgies and imaginations. One vehicle for those changes, the “ReclaimMagdalene” project, was launched in 2018 with FutureChurch’s support. The objectives are to share the research on “What happened to Mary Magdalene?” and promote new, scripture-based art about her. Please spread the word on the real Mary Magdalene – Without her Resurrection Witness, where would we be?
Rita has a BA in Psychology and Philosophy (Newton College of the Sacred Heart, now Boston College) and an MA in Educational Psychology from NYU.
Links to videos of the lectures, BC’s new online Mary of Magdala course and the Vatican’s 2016 Decree elevating her memorial to a Feast:
We must preserve and pass on Mary Magdalene’s pivotal role in bringing the story of the Resurrection to us. If our bishops, cardinals, priests and pope cannot see her, can they see me, can they see you? Without her witness, where would we be?VIEW
We adults need to be this woman of worth and integrity more than ever today. Imagine if all our daughters and sons saw themselves in her and imagine if they received the “Torah of kindness” from our lips.VIEW