Queer and Catholic: An Oral History Interview with Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL

Click here to view a video recording of this CLGS Queer and Catholic Oral History Interview!

Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL

Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL (she/her) is a Sister of Loretto and a pioneer in ministry and outreach to and with LGBTQ+ Catholics. She was born in Philadelphia in 1942 and entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1960. She attended the University of Notre Dame and the University of Pennsylvania, where we received education through her PhD.

At the University of Pennsylvania, Sister Jeannine met a gay Catholic man, Dominic Bash, with whom she coordinated masses in homes and apartments in the area, which soon evolved in the Dignity chapter of Philadelphia. Along with Father Robert Nugent, a priest who was also involved in Dignity of Philadelphia and who has passed away in 2014, founded New Ways Ministry, an educational and pastoral ministry focused on welcome and support LGBTQ+ Catholics and their friends and families, in 1972.

Sister Jeannine’s work with the ministry received support and positive feedback from across the United States but also received backlash from bishops and cardinals in the U.S. In this interview, Gramick shares the story of her life and ministry, along with the support and challenges accompanying her work with LGBTQ+ Catholics. 

Click here to access a written transcript of this CLGS Queer and Catholic Oral History Interview!

This Oral History Interview was conducted on 17 August 2022

Queer and Catholic, an Oral History Project of the CLGS Catholic Roundtable, interviews:

  • People who identify as LGBTQIA+ and Catholic (in the past or present);
  • People who are ordained and/or vowed members of religious communities who identify as LGBTQIA+;
  • People who were raised within Catholic communities or come from families where Catholicism has a dominant and discernable presence on their lives;
  • People who were raised in ethnically Catholic communities, particularly in immigrant communities; and
  • People who identify as culturally Catholic, in any manifestation that this culture takes form.

Founded in 2022, The CLGS Catholic Roundtable brings together leaders (lay and ordained), scholars, artists, educators, and activists to engage in strategic thinking with the goal of creating culturally-appropriate programs and coalitions that affirm the dignity and human worth of LGBTQ Catholics and our allies. Rooted in a variety of Catholic traditions, the Catholic Roundtable promotes LGBTQ Catholic leadership; develops educational, spiritual, and liturgical resources for Catholic individuals and communities; and fosters the exchange of best pastoral care practices with Catholic and allied faith communities.