Jeannine Gramick


Jeannine Gramick, a Roman Catholic nun, was born in 1942 and educated in Catholic grade and high schools in Philadelphia. She moved to Baltimore in 1960 to join the School Sisters of Notre Dame, until her transfer to the Sisters of Loretto in 2001.

Sister Gramick taught in junior and senior high schools in Baltimore. In 1971, while engaged in graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Jeannine Gramick became involved in a pastoral outreach to the lesbian/gay community. She continued this pastoral ministry as a co-founder and chaplain of the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. chapters of Dignity, a national organization for Catholic lesbian and gay people, while teaching mathematics at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

In 1977, along with Fr. Robert Nugent, she co-founded New Ways Ministry, a national, Catholic social justice center working for the reconciliation of lesbian/gay people and the church. She engaged in writing, research, lectures, retreats, and consultation on lesbian/gay issues and Catholicism. She traveled throughout the United States and abroad to educate Church personnel and other interested persons. For approximately 20 years, the School Sisters of Notre Dame assigned her to this church ministry.

She has written and edited numerous articles and books, including "Homosexuality and the Catholic Church," "Homosexuality in the Priesthood and Religious Life," and "The Vatican and Homosexuality." Her two books, Building Bridges: Gay and Lesbian Reality and the Catholic Church and Voices of Hope: A Collection of Positive Catholic Writings on Lesbian/Gay Issues, were the subject of a Vatican investigation. Building Bridges was translated into Italian and published as Anime Gay: Gli omosessuali e la Chiesa cattolica (Editori Riuniti, Rome, 2003).

In 1999, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith permanently prohibited her from any pastoral work with lesbian or gay persons. In 2000, the School Sisters of Notre Dame ordered her to cease speaking about the Vatican investigation and about homosexuality in general. In conscience, she chose not to collaborate in her own oppression and continues to engage in lesbian/gay ministry. In 2001, she transferred to the Sisters of Loretto.

Sister Gramick has been recognized for her work in this pioneer ministry by many Catholic Church groups, including the National Coalition of American Nuns, the Loretto Community, the Paulist Community in Boston, Call to Action; and GLBT groups such as Dignity USA and various Dignity chapters, the Gay and Lesbian Alumni of the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College, Pridefest America, Washington P-FLAG, and Division 44 of the American Psychological Association. She is the subject of a documentary film, In Good Conscience: Sister Jeannine Gramick's Journey of Faith.

Sister Gramick holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Pennsylvania (1975) and an M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Notre Dame (1969). She was an Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Education at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, the University of Maryland and the University of California at Los Angeles.

She is vitally interested in religious life and in promoting the recognition of women's ministries. She served on the national boards of the National Assembly of Women Religious, the Religious Network of Equality for Women, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Women's Ordination Conference. She co-chaired the board of the National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN) from 1995 to 2000 and is currently a member of the NCAN Executive Committee. She is strongly committed to a justice agenda.

(This biographical statement provided by Jeannine Gramick.)

Biography Date: March, 2004

Additional Resources

Sister Jeannine participated in the Rolling the Stone Away: Generations of Love & Justice Conference in early November 2017 and wrote this article that appeared in the Global Sisters Report of the National Catholic Reporter:  http://www.globalsistersreport.org/column/equality/lgbt-people-sisters-are-our-side-51096


Oral Histories:

Online Exhibits:

Archival Collections:


Catholic (Roman) | Nugent, Robert | New Ways Ministry | Activist (religious institutions) | Author/editor | Church Trials | Women and Religion | Gramick, Jeannine | EXHIBIT Rolling the Stone Away


“Jeannine Gramick | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed July 21, 2024, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/jeannine-gramick.


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