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Teresa Forcades

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Teresa Forcades

Teresa Forcades i Vila
Forcades in 2015
Born
Teresa Forcades i Vila

1966 (age 57–58)
Alma mater
OccupationBenedictine nun
Known for

Teresa Forcades i Vila[a] OSB (born 1966) is a Catalan physician, Benedictine nun and social activist. Forcades i Vila is known for her outspoken and sometimes controversial views on the church, public health and Catalan independence, and for her vaccine skepticism.

Education

Born in Barcelona in 1966, Forcades grew up in a home where her parents rejected religion. She was sent, however, to the private Sacred Heart school, where she discovered religious faith through the study of the Bible given by the religious sisters who ran the school.[1] She went on to study medicine at the University of Barcelona. In 1992 she moved to the United States, where in 1995 she completed a residency at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine, specialising in internal medicine. After obtaining a scholarship, she moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she gained the degree of Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in 1997.

As the result of a stay in order to prepare for some examinations which Forcades made at the Monastery of St. Benedict in Montserrat, Spain, founded in 1952,[2] and connected to the famed Abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat, she received a call to monastic life.[1] In September 1997, she entered the monastery, where she follows the Benedictine pattern of life, while still working in the fields of religious study, theology and medicine. In 2004 she obtained a doctorate in public health from the University of Barcelona.[citation needed] In 2005, she obtained a degree in theology. After four years, in 2009 she received a doctorate from the School of Theology of Catalonia.

Political positions

Feminism

Forcades understands feminism as a form of liberation theology. Forcades has openly criticised the Catholic church as "misogynist and patriarchal in its structure".[3] She has developed her thoughts on this in the light of liberation theology.

Catalan independence

In 2013, Forcades co-authored the Manifesto for the Convening of a Constituent Process in Catalonia with economist Arcadi Oliveres. In it they proposed achieving independence for Catalonia through new political and social model based on self-organisation and social mobilisation.[4] Her political activism resulted in The Guardian labelling her as "one of the most outspoken ... leaders of southern Europe's far left".[3]

In 2015, as another major vote for Catalan independence approached, Forcades received permission from her superior and the Holy See to set aside her habit and don secular attire, entering the political arena to lead the leftist Procés Constituent movement. She remarked, "Criticisms are to be expected. I follow somebody called Jesus and he had a lot of that."[5][6] In 2018, she returned to the monastery of Sant Benet in Montserrat to resume her life as a contemplative nun.[citation needed]

Vaccination

Since at least 2009, Forcades has espoused views about what she says are the dangers of vaccines.[7] A 2009 article in El País criticized Forcades' stance on the reliability of influenza vaccines.[8] The critical stance taken by the article was later defended by the newspaper's public editor Milagros Pérez Oliva [es].[9] In 2021, the New York Times criticised her for her vaccine skepticism in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.[10]

Writings

Forcades has written three books:

  • La Trinitat avui (The Trinity Today) (Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, 2005)
  • Els crims de les grans companyies farmacèutiques (The Crimes of Big Pharmaceutical Companies) (Cristianisme i Justícia, 2006)
  • La teologia feminista en la història (Feminist Theology in History) (Fragmenta Editorial, 2007)

Recognition

She was recognized as one of the BBC 100 Women of 2013.[11]

Notes

  1. ^ Catalan pronunciation: [t(ə)ˈɾɛzə fuɾˈkaðəs].

References

  1. ^ a b "Charlas con Teresa". Benedictinos de Catalunya (in Spanish).
  2. ^ "Monastir". Monastir de Sant Benet.
  3. ^ a b "Keeping up with Teresa Forcades, a nun on a mission". The Guardian. 17 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  4. ^ "Teresa Forcades i Arcadi Oliveres promouen un manifest 'per un procés constituent a Catalunya'". VilaWeb.cat. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Teresa Forcades, del convento a la asamblea, y del hábito a la "estelada"". El Diario (in Spanish).
  6. ^ Kassam, Ashifa (7 June 2015). "Homily to Catalonia: the nun entering Spain's regional politics". The Guardian.
  7. ^ "Keeping up with Teresa Forcades, a nun on a mission". The Guardian. 17 May 2013.
  8. ^ MARÍA R. SAHUQUILLO / EMILIO DE BENITO (1 November 2009). "Desmontando a la monja-bulo". El País (in Galician). Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  9. ^ Milagros Pérez Oliva (8 November 2009). "La monja y las teorías de la conspiración". El País. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  10. ^ Casey, Nicholas (23 April 2021). "A Nun and a Doctor, She's One of Europe's Longstanding Vaccine Skeptics". The New York Times.
  11. ^ "100 Women: Who took part?". BBC News. 20 October 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2022.
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