Phyllis Zagano

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Phyllis Zagano
Born (1947-08-25) August 25, 1947 (age 70)
Queens, New York[1]
Residence United States
Nationality United States
Alma mater
Occupation Researcher and adjunct professor
Employer Hofstra University

Phyllis Zagano (born August 25, 1947)[1] is an American author and academic. She has written and spoken on the role of women in the Catholic Church and is an advocate for the ordination of women as deacons.[2][3][4] [5]

Early life and education[edit]

Zagano was born in Queens, New York.[1] She graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in 1965. She has a BA from Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York (1969); master's degrees in communications from Boston University (1970), in literature from Long Island University (1970), and in theology from St. John's University (1991); and a PhD from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1979.[1]


Zagano was program officer at the National Humanities Center from 1979-1980, and taught at Fordham University from 1980 to 1984.[1] She was a researcher at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York from 1984 to 1986 and a Coolidge Fellow at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1987.[1] She taught at Boston University from 1988 to 1999.[1]

Since 2002, Zagano has taught at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, where she is senior research associate-in-residence and adjunct professor of religion.[1] In 2005 she held a visiting professorship at the Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut. In 2009, she was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Limerick's Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland, where she was a lecturer.[1] In 2015 she was a Fulbright Senior Specialist at the Waterford institute of Technology, in Waterford, Ireland.

Zagano received the 2012 Catherine of Siena Award from Voice of the Faithful [6]

She received the 2014 Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice from the Paulist Center of Boston.[7][8]

In 2016, Pope Francis appointed Zagano to the Papal Study Commission on Women in the Diaconate.[9][10] The Commission's first meeting was held November 25-26, 2016. [11]

Her papers are archived by the Women and Leadership Archives of Loyola University Chicago.[1]


Zagano's publications include:

  • Woman to Woman: An Anthology of Women's Spiritualities Edited, with an introduction, 1993.[12]
  • On Prayer, 1994, 2001.
  • Ita Ford: Missionary Martyr, 1996.
  • The Exercise of the Primacy: Continuing the Dialogue. Co-edited, with an introduction and afterword, with Terrence W. Tilley, 1998.
  • Things New and Old: Essays on the Theology of Elizabeth A. Johnson. Co-edited, with an introduction, with Terrence W. Tilley, 1999.
  • Twentieth-Century Apostles: Christian Spirituality in Action, 1999.
  • Holy Saturday: An Argument for the Restoration of the Female Diaconate in the Catholic Church, 2000; Catholic Press Association Book Award; 2002 College Theology Society Book Award.[citation needed]
  • Dorothy Day. Edited, with an introduction, 2003.
  • Called to Serve: A Spirituality for Deacons, 2004.
  • The Dominican Tradition: Spirituality in History. Co-edited, with an introduction, with Thomas McGonigle, OP, 2006.[13]
  • Women & Catholicism: Gender, Communion, and Authority, 2011; Catholic Press Association Book Award in category B15, "Gender issues".[14]
  • Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future. With Gary Macy and William T. Ditewig, 2011.[15]
  • Women in Ministry: Emerging Questions about the Diaconate, 2012.
  • Mysticism and the Spiritual Quest: A Crosscultural Anthology, 2013.
  • Ordination of Women to the Diaconate in the Eastern Churches: Essays by Cipriano Vagaggini. Editor and translator, 2013.
  • Sacred Silence: Daily Meditations for Lent, 2014.
  • In the Image of Christ: Essays on Being Catholic and Female, Editor and translator, 2015.
  • Women Deacons? Essays with Answers, 2016. Catholic Press Association Book Award in category B15, "Gender issues".[16]
  • The Light of the World: Daily Meditations for Advent, 2016.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Maria L. Wagner (2011). "Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D., Papers 1958-2011, n.d." (PDF). Archived from the original on 2015-06-23.  Archived 23 June 2015.
  2. ^ "A Woman on the Altar". US Catholic. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Seeking Larger Role for Women in the Church". Newsday. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  4. ^ ""Essays boost case for women deacons"". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 1 September 2017. 
  5. ^ ""Witness Interview: Phyllis Zagano"=". Salt & Light TV. Retrieved 4 September 2017. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Zagano accepts social justice award, National Catholic Reporter (January 28, 2014).
  8. ^ Dennis Coday, Zagano honored with Paulist justice award, National Catholic Reporter (January 23, 2014).
  9. ^ "Pope institutes commission to study the diaconate of women". Vatican Radio. August 2, 2016. 
  10. ^ Laurie Goodstein, Pope Francis Appoints Panel to Study Women Deacons: Q&A With a Member, New York Times (August 2, 2016): "Pope Francis has created a commission to study the possibility of ordaining women as deacons in the Roman Catholic Church. On Tuesday, he named 12 experts — six men and six women — to serve on the panel. ... Phyllis Zagano, a professor of religion at Hofstra University ... was appointed by Francis to the commission."
  11. ^ "Vatican commission on female diaconate holds first meeting". Vatican Radio. 2016-11-25. 
  12. ^ "Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D.". Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "Book Review: The Dominican Tradition". Spiritualwoman.Net. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "2012 Catholic Press Association Book Awards" (PDF). Book Award Winners. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  15. ^ "It's Time to Ordain Women (Again)". Religion Dispatches. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  16. ^ "2017 Catholic Press Association Book Awards" (PDF). Book Award Winners. Retrieved 4 September 2017.