Meet the Ordained
The mission of the RCWP movement is to prepare, ordain in apostolic succession and support primarily women who are called to the priesthood in an inclusive Church.
Statement of Apostolic Succession
The ordinations of Roman Catholic Womenpriests are valid because of our apostolic succession within the Roman Catholic Church. The principal consecrating Roman Catholic male bishops who ordained our first women bishops are bishops with apostolic succession within the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, our bishops validly ordain deacons, priests and bishops. Consequently, all qualified candidates, including baptized ministers and priests from other Christian traditions, who are presented to our bishops for ordination are ordained by the laying on of hands in apostolic succession in the Roman Catholic Church.
DENISE BERNT - Sutton
Denise Bernt. I was not raised Catholic but had very strong ties growing up in the Presbyterian Church. A move to Alaska and the need for me to assist with my music abilities and guitar at a Dominican Brothers mission at the local Catholic Church, opened the door and awakened in me gradually my call to priesthood. As I grew to learn and love more about the Catholic Church and the Sacraments, I became very involved in my parish not only with music ministry but on the pastoral council and liturgy committees. When in Alaska and due to the priest shortages there, Bishop Michael Kinney was looking for people to lead the local parishes for weeks on end when we would be without a priest. When he asked me to consider being one of those people I hesitated because I saw myself as just a convert and someone who used her gift of music at Mass. Now as I look back to the late 1980s, he was truly calling me to priesthood, and I’m delighted to say that his prophetic voice came to fruition on September 10th 2022 when I was ordained a Roman Catholic woman priest. After years in Oregon, raising our family of six kids and now 19 grandchildren and one great grandchild with my husband, Larry, we have now moved back to Alaska. I believe my music ministry, will again be the open-door gift to developing a new faith community here. She is currently offering a sunday service bi-monthly in a retirment community in Palmer. May the Divine One bless the work of our hands to serve.
REE HUDSON - Sedona
Rose Marie (Ree) Hudson
Rose Marie (Ree) Hudson, womanpriest, is co-pastor of Therese of Divine Peace Inclusive Community. Ree has many years of ministerial experience beginning in the Methodist Church and continuing in the Roman Catholic Church. Ree has theology degrees from Scarritt College for Christian Workers, was certified in Pastoral ministries by the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and received a Masters of Pastoral Studies from Loyola of New Orleans. Ree is the regional administrator of the Great Waters Region in RCWP. She is a certified minister in the Federation of Christian Ministries, a member of CTA-USA, of WOC, and is involved with women’s groups and ecumenical groups. Ree is married to Bob Hudson, has four children and 11grandchildren. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.thereseofdivinepeace.org
MARILYN VanVEERSEN - Tucson
PAT SANDALL - Carlsbad
Pat Sandall’s ministry as a Roman Catholic Womanpriest has evolved into what she calls an “itinerant priesthood.” Over time Pat has made herself available to groups in the western region who truly want to celebrate Eucharist with a womanpriest but do not have a womanpriest in their area. Upon request, she will travel to celebrate liturgy with these communities. Pat is a member of the national media committee and she hosts the national and international group communications networks. Pat holds a master’s degree in Religious Studies from Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles. She also holds a doctorate in Theology from Barry University in Miami Shores. She served the Roman Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for more than twenty years as a catechist, religious education director and pastoral associate. Her areas of interest and activism include social justice issues and feminist studies. She and her husband, Joe, have four adult children and two grandchildren. They divide their time between Carlsbad and Santa Barbara California. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
CHRISTINE HAIDER-WINNETT - Davis
Christine Haider-Winnett holds a Masters in Divinity from Pacific School of Religion, a BA in Peace and Global Studies from Earlham College and a Certificate in Women’s Studies in Religion from the Graduate Theological Union. She is a former Co-President of the Women’s Ordination Conference and currently serves as Communications Manager for Call To Action. She also presides, preaches and offers spiritual direction throughout Northern California and online. Christine lives in the Sacramento area with her spouse, toddler, and two cats. To contact her or learn more about how she lives out her priestly ministry, go www.viasophiaministry.com
BERTHA POPENEY - La Mesa
Bertha Popeney felt God calling her to priesthood in early childhood. It is a call that was expressed in a lifetime of service to others. She is a native of San Diego, California, and was born the eldest of six siblings. She has an M.A. in Education, and completed her theological studies in local universities. Both her family and her education instilled in her the importance of love, service and honor, and of protecting and teaching those with whom she came in contact. She taught in the San Diego Unified School District for 25 years. Bertha also engaged in ministry within the Diocese of San Diego and is a recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the USCCB. She is currently Secretary of San Diego Call-To-Action. Bertha lives in San Diego with her beloved husband Tom.
JUANITA CORDERO - Los Gatos
Juanita Cordero has an MA in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College, a Masters in Theology and a Doctor of Ministry with an emphasis in Feminist Pastoral Studies from Global Ministries University. She retired from teaching at De Anza College in Cupertino, California in the Child Development/Education Department, and served as a nurse for the Children’s Center. Her present ministries includes teaching scripture to children and adults in her parish, visiting the sick, administering the sacraments, serving the homeless at Showers for the People, and attending conferences as the outreach person representing for RCWP. She pastors a house church, the Magdala Catholic Community, in Los Gatos, CA. She and her husband Don (a former Jesuit, and a married priest who passed away in 2007) raised five children and were involved in liturgy and music planning for more than 30 years at Santa Clara Mission Church. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
PENNY (HELEN) DONOVAN - Los Gatos
Penny Donovan first experienced her call to priesthood as a young girl growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. But, as with so many, she soon learned that the Vatican still frowns upon some of God’s choices! She is a previous member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, was a teacher, assistant principal and principal. She loves science and was worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to develop “cutting edge” science curriculum in the field of Astrobiology. This powerful, evolution of the universe discipline has served to deepen her prayer and her appreciation of the incredible creativity of God. She currently serves as co-pastor for the Magdala Catholic Community and assists with the “Showers to the People” program serving the homeless in downtown San Jose. She states that: “Discovering RCWP in 2012 began an unbelievable journey, and I relish the challenges and blessings as the path opens before me.”
DONNIEAU SNYDER - Modesto
Donnieau Snyder, PhD is a member of New Spirit Rising, an inclusive Catholic faith community located in Fresno, CA. She loves and is deeply devoted to the various facets of her ministry which includes serving her faith community, religious education, working with homeless veterans dually diagnosed with mental health needs and substance abuse issues, as well as working with homeless teens and young adults. Her ministry work stretches across California’s central valley and the San Francisco bay area. She has a deep passion for social justice which includes advocating for women’s leadership across all faiths, community outreach to assist with appropriate access to mental health services and providing education about mental health. Dr. Snyder was ordained a deacon on September 06, 2014. Email: Donnieau@gmail.com
OLIVIA DOKO - Pismo Beach
(Bishop Emerita 2017)
Olivia Doko, MA, OSB, Cam. Oblate, is the founder and director of Olive Tree Ministries through which she provides spiritual retreats and workshops. She has a private Holy Listening practice, offering directed retreats and spiritual direction, with a focus on contemplative prayer, to individuals and small groups. Qualified as a pastoral consultant through Loyola University, New Orleans, Olivia holds and MA in Theology (with an emphasis in Adult Christian Community Development) from Regis University, Denver. She has served the Western Region of RCWP-USA, Inc. as Administrator and as Program Coordinator; and currently, she is serving that regional community as its bishop. She and her husband, Slavo, have been married 53 years. They have two married sons and three grandsons. email: email@example.com
MICHAEL TOMPKINS - San Diego
Michael Tompkins Like many of my women peers, I have felt called to the priesthood since early childhood. Unlike them, I was accepted into Roman Catholic seminaries—three of them before I was twenty-six years of age. I failed to thrive in all three, the fault always being mine. I was haunted by “many are called, but few are chosen.” At fifty-six years of age, RCWP gave me the opportunity to explore and discern this calling. I have been wholeheartedly encouraged by my religious community, The Immaculate Heart of Mary. I have studied for three years and worked under the mentorship of woman priest, Suzanne Dunne. I had the luxury and privilege to serve as deacon in Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community, pastored by Jane Via, Rod Stephens, Nancy Corran, and an active community of Christians committed to a church that strives to include everybody. I believe I am taking my place among the church we are all called to be. Please, pray for me.
KATHLEEN KUNSTER - Santa Rosa
Kathleen Kunster, M.Div., M.A., Psy.D., was ordained a priest in Pittsburgh in 2005, having been called to priesthood as a child. She lived in the greater Los Angeles Area in California most of her life. She served in her local parish as an adult and began an M.A. in Ministry at Loyola Marymount, Los Angeles. Kathleen moved to Berkeley in 1995 to earn her Master of Divinity at the Franciscan School of Theology, GTU. She then earned a doctorate in clinical psychology at California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco. She has served as a priest in a small house church. Kathleen now serves as a licensed psychologist (CA) in a rural community mental health clinic, and in private practice. Her priestly ministry is interwoven into sessions with clients. Kathleen delights in her daughter, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Kathleen can be reached at Katknst@sbcglobal.net.
DONNA SHAW - Simi Valley
Donna Shaw Born a cradle Catholic in Chicago, Illinois, Donna felt a call to the priesthood from the time she was a child. She has been active in supporting equal rights, renewal in the Church, civil rights and LGBTQIAK rights. She raised two sons and a daughter, and is now a proud grandmother. While serving as a registered nurse for over 25 years, she incorporated holistic and evidence based methods of health care into her service. Active in promoting and caring and respect for the environment and for the dignity and personhood of all creation, she is also learning ASL and goes to Renaissance Faires. She presides at Catholic Church of the Beloved in Simi Valley, CA. Donna can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
KARLA JENSEN- Napa Valley
I live in the beautiful Napa with my wife Gloria. We have lived together for 38 years. In 2013 we were married in the sanctuary of Grace Episcopal. In St. Helena.
I have had several careers: Licensed Nursed with the Army, senior Human Resources Specialist, and college instructor. Notice the pattern of service which has guide my journey.
My education includes Bachelor of History, MBA, and Doctor of Education. I just love to learn.
For as long as I can remember I desired to a priest. That spark never died and thankfully, several years ago I was accepted as a candidate in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests organization.
I look back at all the people and events and life and know that Wisdom Sophia nudged in the direction towards fulling my dreams.
PUANANI LALAKEA - Honolulu
(Linda Kapuannaniokalaniakea Lalakea)
Puanani was born and raised in Hawai’i and is the proud mother of four adult children whom she raised in Portland,Oregon. In 2016, Puanani received her Master of Divinity from Marylhurst University. She has worked as a pastry chef, a domestic violence advocate, an intern pastor and a Chaplain.
Puanani recently returned home to her roots in Hawai’i where she works as a Chaplain in Honolulu and is enjoying reconnecting with the culture and traditions of her childhood.
Puanani’s faith is her compass and her Hawaiian heritage is her touchstone. She believes we are each the physical embodiment of Divine creation and lives in the spirit of aloha.
TERESA GREGORY - Bellevue
Teresa Gregory states, “My life-long passion is to serve. This was instilled in me by the example of my parents. Growing up, our table and home were never too crowded that one or more could not be added. Our doors and hearts were always open to the needs of others. I am happy to continue this way of life in central Idaho.” Teresa ministered in the Roman Catholic Church as a lay- person for 30 years. She received her Masters of Divinity from Seattle University in 1991 and has served in both the Archdiocese of Seattle and the Diocese of Boise. From 2002 to 2011 she served as a Parish Life Director for Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church in Sun Valley, Idaho in the Boise Diocese. After many years of discernment, she followed her heart and decided to pursue ordination with the RCWP. Teresa was ordained a deacon on September 6, 2014 with six other incredibly gifted and compassionate women. “I hope to help form and reform the Church by responding to the desires of people, especially Catholics, who long for a Church welcoming to all people.” Teresa was ordained a priest on August 1, 2015. She with several others from her area have formed the Wood River Inclusive Catholic Community. She works for the Blaine County School District and manages the Community Campus, a center for the arts, education and recreation. She lives in Bellevue, Idaho with her wife MaryAnn.
DIANE O'DONNELL - Albuquerque
Diane O’Donnell lived her entire life in Minnesota. In 2006 she retired to New Mexico. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she taught school then joined the Flurochemistry laboratories at 3M for 10 years as scientist, followed by becoming the first female purchasing agent at 3M. She then branched out to her own financial planning business receiving many decrees and licenses beyond a “financial planner”. During her time prior to retirement, she performed many ministries in the various Catholic parishes of which she was a member. Diane states that “Even though I was successful in my various careers and my church ministries, I still felt I was a round peg in a square hole. Now, in RCWP, I feel completed.” She can be reached at email@example.com
HELEN UMPHREY - Dayton
Helen Umphrey is a farmer’s daughter from Ohio. In her early teens she entered the Sisters of the Precious Blood in Dayton, Ohio, and was a member for 26 years. She served as a teacher, principal, parish music minister, and in administration for the community. She was married to Frank Umphrey for 32 years, and lived in Battle Ground, WA where she has served in the parish as a Director of Religious Education and Pastoral Associate for 25 years. After her retirement, she continued many Catholic/Christian group processes, gathering in her home. Her husband died in 2012, and she was ordained in 2013. The Living Spirit community formed and met in the Umphrey home for three years, until Helen sold the property and returned to her roots in Ohio. The community in Battle Ground is an Intentional Eucharistic Community, continuing to celebrate Mass on the first and third Sundays of the month, without and ordained priest. Helen continues to assist the community, overseeing the planning of the liturgies, visiting it about twice each year. She presently lives in a Retirement Community in Dayton, Ohio where she does pastoral ministry. She also tutors adults, especially those who wish to learn English as a second language, and those incarcerated, and are required to get a GED. Helen tutors through the Brunner Literacy Center. She has a BA in Education from the University of Dayton, and an MA in Pastoral Ministry from St. Mary’s University in Winona, WI.
SANDRA DeMASTER - Newberg
Sandra DeMaster is the facilitator of “Bridges,” an interdenominational ministry with the mission of providing opportunities for women and men to deepen their spirituality through spiritual direction, study groups and directed retreat experiences. Although she has earned an M.Div. degree and served for several years as a pastoral associate for two priestless parishes, Sandra counts as her most valuable preparation for pastoral ministry her 40 years of service as a Minister of Domestic Affairs. She lives with her husband in McMinnville, OR on a country acre where she delights in welcoming friends old and new, her six grown children and a growing brood of grandchildren. Her leadership of “Bridges” is inspired and renewed by engagement with gardening, reading, writing and contemplative prayer.
RUTH BROESKI - Portland
Ruth Broeski takes the Spirit seriously. As often happens when the Breath of God is in control, this has led to many different turns on the path of her life. When young, Ruth committed for a time to convent life in Los Angeles. Later, motivated by an abiding desire to serve people, she studied psychology and theology, worked as a high school teacher, as a deputy sheriff, and sojourned for a few years on an island in Washington state. Most recently, Ruth received an MA in spirituality, which included study of everything from Christian mystics to mandalas to new consciousness. Ruth lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is a spiritual director.
SUZANNE (SUZ) THIEL - Portland
Suzanne Thiel (Suz) is a woman of actions not words and in her prior experience was an associate of a religious womens congregation, Eucharistic minister, author of the Inventory of Habilitation Programs for Mentally Handicapped Adults, a Portland State University educator, developed and managed the Teen Parent Program for Roosevelt High School, and was a board member of several non-profits organizations serving: the mentally ill, dyslexic children, catholic schools, developmentally disabled adults, to name a few. She is also currently a neighborhood emergency (disaster response) NET team member. As a native Oregonian, she has been married to Bruce for 43 years where they raised their three adult sons and now enjoy five grandchildren. Suzanne has a MA in Education and 50+additional graduate hours in counseling and psychology and was Jesuit-trained in theology and philosophy from the University of Santa Clara. She was ordained a priest on April 9, 2008 in Stuttgart Germany and a bishop for the RCWP Western Region on October 1, 2018 in Aptos, California. Her current ministries include: hospital chaplaincy, volunteer ministry at three assisted living facilities, home visits to the sick and elderly, providing the sacraments and serving in ministries of weddings, funerals, baptisms and the shared leadership ministry of RCWP. firstname.lastname@example.org
TONI TORTORILLA - Portland
Toni Tortorilla is a psychotherapist and spiritual director in Portland, Oregon with an MDiv from a Jesuit theological school. She has been in the counseling field for 30 years, landing there originally in an attempt to pursue the calling to ordination that had seemed to pursue her relentlessly since she was 5 years old. She completed a B.A. in Theology just after the conclusion of Vatican II, and worked as a DRE during the early transition years. She taught high school religion, got fed up with the hierarchy and its position on women, followed other wise and transformative spiritual paths for 20 years, then came around full circle to the heart of the RC tradition once again. After returning, Toni soon found herself in a parish working with a team of people interested in reaching out to disenfranchised and alienated Catholics. When anti-gay initiatives came before the voters of Oregon she approached a sympathetic priest with the idea for an outreach ministry to the gay and lesbian community. He was enthusiastically receptive, and this pastoral experience became the launching pad for her application and acceptance into seminary. email@example.com
LISA GOSIACO - Lacey
DIANE WHALEN - Olympia
Diane Whalen loves people and finds great joy serving Holy Wisdom Inclusive Catholic Community in Olympia, WA. She experienced a call to priesthood when she was very young and answered that call in whatever ways were available to her in parish ministries, as a Jesuit Volunteer, social worker, spiritual director and teacher/ supervisor of spiritual directors. She completed a BA in Religious studies, Masters in Social Work, MA in Ministry and D. Min in Spiritual Direction and continues her work of spiritual direction. She and her husband, Bill have been happily married 42 years and have two adult daughters. Diane enjoys singing, traveling, cooking, taking walks and spending time with family and friends. She believes passionately that all Christian ministry flows from baptism and that her ordained priesthood is the way she has been invited to express that baptismal call to service. Diane invites you to visit their community’s website to meet the wonderful people she gets to do life with at www.holywisdomicc.org.
(Retired Bishop 2014)
Regina Nicolosi, MA, was born in a small town on the Rhine River. She was a teacher in Germany. 1969 she came to the USA to marry the love of her life, Charles, a radiologist and deacon. Together they raised four children, one of them from Colombia and one from Korea. Regina participated fully in Charles’ preparation to the diaconate. She earned her Masters Degree in Pastoral Studies. Regina worked as a housing manager for seniors, as a chaplain in a correctional facility for boys, in a drug and alcohol recovery unit and in a nursing home. She helped prepare women for ordination and celebrated Eucharist with Dignity and other small faith-communities.
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This website was created and is maintained by Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc. (RCWP-USA, Inc.), a California 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, as an educational and informational service to the public. RCWP-USA, Inc. promotes and supports the ordination of women and men in a renewed priestly ministry in the Roman Catholic Church. This website provides information about the Western Region of RCWP. Every ministry convened by a RCWP member operates separately and independently from Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc. RCWP-USA, Inc. disclaims any responsibility for the operation of these ministries. The biographical information and descriptions of the ministries are for informational purposes only. This website also contains links to third party sites. Such links do not constitute or imply an endorsement and/or sponsorship by RCWP-USA, Inc. RCWP-USA, Inc. is not responsible for such third party websites and is not liable for the contents therein.
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