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.


Nick De Los Reyes - Tucson

Nick De Los Reyes
Priest 1973
Received into RCWP 2020

Nick De Los Reyes is a licensed clinical psychologist. He currently resides in Tucson, Arizona and is a member of the RCWP-USA, Inc. Board of Directors.


Rose Marie (Ree) Hudson
Womanpriest 2007

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 website:


Barbara Mattus
Womanpriest 2010

Barb Mattus first heard the call to priesthood at age nine. Her spiritual journey began at even a younger age through a profound attraction to the Liturgy and especially to the Eucharist. This desire only deepened through many years of questioning and longing for a relationship with Jesus. Barb was ready to enter a religious community of sisters in 1959 but it just didn’t seem like the right ‘fit” so she delayed entering the convent. Later, she married in 1962 and she and her husband entered the world of the United States Air Force, started their family with two wonderful and caring children, and lived mostly in the Western USA. Barb became involved in religious ed in 1967 when she began ministering in the military chapel youth program. She has spent almost a lifetime of travel. She holds a B.A. Degree in Theology and a Master’s Degrees in Religious Education with a focus on Christian Spirituality and Counseling. She continued as the Diocesan Director of Religious Education and as a Catholic Youth Worker at an Arizona detention center near Tucson and over 28 yrs. as Director of Detention Ministry for the Diocese of Tucson. Her current ministry is in Tucson, AZ, where she presides at a monthly gathering with the “Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community.” Contact:




Victoria Rue
Womanpriest 2005

Victoria Rue, M.Div. Ph.D. was ordained a Roman Catholic woman priest on the St. Lawrence Seaway, between Canada and the U.S. July 25, 2005. She was previously ordained a deacon in 2004 on the Danube River in Austria. Dr. Rue is a Fulbright Scholar and her ministries include: teaching religion and theater at Dar Al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Israel, also at San Jose State University, San Jose CA. She founded Sophia in Trinity Catholic Community in San Francisco. She is married to Kathryn Poethig, M.Div, Ph.D. Victoria’s website is:

PAT SANDALL - Carlsbad

Patricia Sandall
Womanpriest 2010

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

SUZANNE DUNN - Carpenteria

Suzanne Dunn
Womanpriest 2008

Suzanne Dunn, sfcc (Sister for Christian Community) is Pastor Emerita of the Catholic Church of the Beatitudes. The Church of the Beatitudes meets every Saturday evening at the First Congregational Church-United Church of Christ – at 2101 State St., Santa Barbara, Ca. at 4:30pm. Suzanne leads a contemplative Eucharist on the second Saturdays of each month. Suzanne was ordained a deacon on April 27, 2008 and a Roman Catholic Woman Priest on September 7, 2008. Currently, Suzanne serves as a spiritual director, and as a co-facilitator of the Santa Barbara/Ventura Chapter of the Contemplative Ministry Outreach. She is a trained presenter of the Introductory Workshop in Centering Prayer and conducts Silent Saturdays and three and five day retreats in Centering Prayer. Suzanne holds an MA in Religious Studies from Seattle University and a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology from The Fielding University. Suzanne lives out her religious life with a member of her own community, Jeannette Love who is also a RCWP priest. Together they demonstrate for peace every Friday evening from 5.m. to 6 p.m. at the corner of a busy street in Carpinteria, Ca. To view her ordination to priesthood and her Mass of Thanksgiving please click on Dunn’s Ordination and Mass of thanksgiving.

JEANETTE LOVE - Carpenteria

Jeannette Bertalan Love
Womanpriest 2010

Jeannette B. Love was ordained a deacon on Aug 28, 2010 and a Roman Catholic Womanpriest on September 12, 2010. During her years of study as a religious sister for nineteen years she was trained in theology. In addition studied a year of theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Darlington School of Theology in New Jersey. She was previously ordained in the Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch (not under Rome) and served the Archbishops and the development of the Church for eleven years. Jeannette attended the University of Creation Spirituality founded by Matthew Fox in Oakland, CA and received a Masters degree awarded by Naropa University in Boulder, CO. Since 2012 she reentered religious life as a Sister for Christian Community founded after Vatican II. At present Jeannette serves as Pastor of the Catholic Church of the Beatitudes in Santa Barbara and works part time for the church as a Marketing and Membership Consultant. She also offers spiritual direction, facilitates a weekly Centering Prayer Group, and is commissioned to give the Centering Prayer introductory workshop. She volunteers at Laundry Love for the Homeless, helps with Safe Parking activities and assists when other needs arise. Jeannette resides in Carpinteria, CA.


Christine Haider-Winnett
Womanpriest 2018

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


Rod Stevens
Priest 1974
(Received into RCWP 2008)

Rod Stephens was ordained a Roman Catholic priest on May 25, 1974 for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and later was a priest of the Diocese of Orange when it split from LA in 1976. He was welcomed as a member of RCWP in 2008. Rod is Co-Founder and Co-Pastor with Jane Via of Mary Magdalene Catholic Community in San Diego, CA. Along with Jane, Rod is also member of the Immaculate Heart Community of Los Angeles and the Founder and Director of SACRA FORMA, a design studio since 1974 for architecture, graphics, and liturgical consultation. Rod is also one of the founding members of The Catholic Worker in Orange County which feeds and houses 125 homeless people a night and the Development Chair of Housing Works, a non-profit established to create housing options that promote, with respect and dignity, sustainable, environmentally sensitive, affordable communities that provide equal and fair access to housing and human services for people with limited income. Rod lives in Irvine with his partner of twenty five years, Howard Seller, Professor Emeritus at Cal State University, Fullerton.

JANE VIA - Jamul

Jane Via, IHM
Womanpriest 2006
Bishop 2017

Jane Via was born in St. Louis, Mo. in 1947. She has a B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from Purdue University, a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Marquette University, and a J.D. from the University of San Diego. She was a county prosecutor in San Diego, California and a former professor of Religious Studies. Jane was ordained a deacon in 2004 on the Danube River and a priest in June of 2006 on the Bodensee off Swiss shores. Jane and friend, Rod Stephens, founded the first RCWP “parish” in November 2005. Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community meets weekly in San Diego, Ca. with an average attendance of 75. Jane is also the convener of a small church community, whenever possible a participant in Call To Action, and is active in an ecumenical Christian Community. She shares her life with her husband of many years and their 2 college aged sons. You can contact Jane through the “Contact US” link at the MMACC website:


Bertha Popeney
Womanpriest 2011

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.


Jennifer O’Malley
Womanpriest 2012

Jennifer O’Malley holds a Masters of Pastoral Studies from Loyola University of Chicago, a Masters of Special Education and Certificate in Educational Leadership. She is currently a Director of Special Education. Jennifer previously worked as a Coordinator of Youth Ministry at a parish in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and was a Program Director for a national catholic service learning program. Jennifer is committed to social justice, she has traveled throughout central and south America meeting with local community leaders and union groups. She is currently working with local community groups to promote the rights of hospitality workers and is the pastor of Holy Wisdom Catholic Community in Long Beach. Jennifer lives in Long Beach with her wife, Elizabeth Carlin.


Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM
Womanpriest 2017

Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM is a mother and grandmother, a member of the Immaculate Heart Community, a Roman Catholic deacon and a candidate for priestly ordination through Roman Catholic Womenpriests. She is a member of MountainTop, a multifaith movement for justice sponsored by Auburn Theological Seminary. Rosa is a member of the Vision Board of Call to Action and also a speaker for A La Familia, a project of the Human Rights Campaign that promotes the inclusion of the LGBT community within the Latino community.


Juanita Cordero
Womanpriest 2007

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:


Penny Donovan
Womanpriest 2016

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
Womanpriest 2016

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:

OLIVIA DOKO - Pismo Beach

Olivia Doko
Womanpriest 2006
Bishop 2010
(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:


Christine Fahrenbach
Womandeacon 2011
Womanpriest 2014

Educated at the University of Notre Dame, the Jesuit School of Theology Berkeley and the California School of Professional Psychology, Christine Fahrenbach has participated in ministry for over 30 years, and is a practicing professional psychologist. She has worked as a campus minister, high school religious studies teacher, liturgist, liturgical musician and spiritual director. Chris provides leadership for a house church in Santa Cruz, CA and participates in social justice and homeless ministry through a local parish. She continues to weave together the common threads of psychology, theology and spirituality in all aspects of her work. Chris and her life partner Helen Mayer, were married in 2007 and make their home in Aptos CA

MARIA EITZ - San Francisco

Maria Eitz
Womanpriest 2013

Maria Eitz was ordained a Roman Catholic Woman Priest in 2013 in San Francisco. Born in Germany during World War ll, Maria emigrated to the United States in 1963. Being called to the priesthood, according to Maria, is “a challenge, an honor, a mission , a responsibility; it is speaking for all the women throughout history who were denied by the institutional church, the hierarchy, to serve at the Table of God.” Maria converted to Catholicism as an adult after Vatican ll, that “wonderful awakening” as Maria calls it. She earned a Masters in Theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee, a Catholic Jesuit institution. Two Jesuit theologians influenced Maria deeply, Karl Rahner and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Maria was called to the priesthood out of her worship community Sophia in Trinity in San Francisco. Click here to learn more about Sophia in Trinity:


Kori R. Pacyniak
Candidate 2018
Priest 2020

Kori joined the pastoral team of Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community (MMACC) in San Diego, California in January of 2017 and became a candidate in the RCWP process in March of 2018. Coming from a background in academia and non-profit work that focused on queer and trans theology, work with veterans and survivors of trauma, and church communications, Kori holds a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Harvard Divinity School with a concentration in queer theology and a Master of Sacred Theology (STM) from Boston University School of Theology with a concentration in Trauma and Theology. Kori’s scholarly work has focused around issues of identity construction within queer and trans religious communities and the ways in which we process trauma. Born and raised in Chicago, Kori was bitten by wanderlust at a young age and spent time studying in Rome, Poland, and Brazil and participated in multiple social justice trips and pilgrimages to Israel and Palestine. Before coming to Mary Magdalene, Kori served as parish intern at St. Luke’s and St. Margaret’s in Boston, assistant interfaith chaplain at Suffolk University, scholar in residence at the Religious Institute and social media strategist for TransEpiscopal. As pastor of a progressive catholic community in San Diego, Kori’s ministry focuses on advocating for social justice, particularly around areas of LGBTQ issues, immigration, and racial justice.


Michael Thompkins
Priest 2011

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.


Mary Alice Nolan
Womanpriest 2016

Mary Alice Nolan, is the 4th child of six, raised in Denver Colorado and educated by the Sisters of Loretto. Attending daily Mass she was frustrated by not being able to serve as an acolyte and being relegated to the choir loft to play the organ. She felt keenly the denial to serve at the Table of God. Attending the movie Pink Smoke Over the Vatican with her husband was a defining moment where she realized that women were being ordained as Roman Catholic priests. She enrolled in the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley to complete her graduate seminary degree side-by-side with her Jesuit classmates who were also pursuing the priesthood. She was ordained in 2016 in San Francisco. She has worked as an Oncology nurse manager for most of her career. Her ministry includes not only end of life care, but, the opportunity to officiate at weddings and celebrate baptisms. She is co-presider with Rev. Maria Eitz at Sophia in Trinity in San Francisco, CA.


Maureen Mancuso
Womanpriest 2013

Maureen Mancuso received her M.Div. from the Jesuit School of Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. In addition she holds a teaching credential in English and is working on her Ph.D. in World Religions. Maureen felt called to priesthood at an early age though she tended to dismiss the idea, for as a cradle Catholic it seemed an improbable path. Active in parish ministry as parish council president, a member of peace and justice, a musician and a member of the St. Vincent DePaul society the call to priestly ordination was re-illuminated. Maureen has been the Director of RCIA, a hospital chaplain, a retreat director, liturgist, and has lead workshops at the diocesan and national levels. As a Christian feminist Maureen actively supports equality for women in the Roman Catholic Church and is a member of CTA, WOC, and the Women of Magdala. Presently, Maureen teaches high school English full-time. In addition she continues with her PhD studies. The focus of her research for her dissertation is an interfaith exploration of religious empowerment of women in the Abrahamic tradition. Currently she pastors the St. Hildegard Catholic Community in Berkeley, California.


Kathleen Kunster
Womanpriest 2006

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

DONNA SHAW - Simi Valley

Donna Shaw
Womanpriest 2016

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


Joanna Truelson
Womanpriest 2016

Joanna Truelson began her spiritual life on the East Coast in a Polish Catholic Church. She expressed her faith first in her work as a RN and Mental Health Administrator. Her curiosity and need to continually grow lead her to start her own real estate business then return to graduate school where she received a MA & D-Min in Creation Spirituality. Her interfaith work and world travels led her to be ordained an Interfaith Minister. After 15 years of doing international mission work she returned “Home” to her “roots” the catholic faith, and was ordained at RCWP. She is a founding member of Namaste Inclusive Catholic Community at Rossmoor in Walnut Creek, CA. Her life journey culminates through the transformation of service and giving–back.



(Linda Kapuannaniokalaniakea Lalakea)
Womandeacon 2018
Priest 2020

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
Womanpriest 2015

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.



Nancy Corran
Womanpriest 2010

Nancy Corran holds a Diploma in Theology from Oxford University and a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from San Francisco Theological Seminary of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. She received scholarships to continue studies in biblical languages at the GTU and to continue theological and pastoral formation at the Université de Neuchâtel in Switzerland. Certified for Ordination by the PC(USA) in 2004, Nancy has worked in many churches with children, youth, and adults. She served Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community (founded and convened in 2005 by two RCWPs) in San Diego, CA from 2007-2016. Nancy was ordained a Roman Catholic woman priest in 2010 and incardinated into RCWP in 2015. Nancy is married with two young children, and currently resides in Omaha, NE.


DIANE O'DONNELL - Albuquerque

Diane K. O’ Donnell
Womanpriest 2012

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



Helen Moorman Umphrey
Womanpriest 2013

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.


DENISE BERNT - McMinnville

Chiara Denise Bernt
Candidate 2015

Denise Bernt is on a journey working on her preparation program toward ordination to the priesthood. It has been a journey with a lot of wonderful support from my faith community of Lumen Christi and the wonderful women of our priest circle as I finish up needed schooling, and work on my units of study. She has a life long ministry in music and her thesis work has been to take the psalms we use in the lectionary and use inclusive language with a simpler singing response format. Her hobbies are sewing and quilting, raising and showing Havanese dogs for over 20 years and spending time in the garden.

She is married to her husband Larry for 41 years and has raised 6 wonderful children They are blessed with 17 grandchildren and one great grandchild. Denise says, “Life is a journey and I choose to travel it with joy in my heart and a song on my lips.”


Sandra DeMaster
Womanpriest 2009

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
Womanpriest 2008

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 Avison Thiel
Womanpriest 2008
Bishop 2017

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.


Toni Tortorilla
Womanpriest 2007

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.



Lisa Gosiaco
Support member 2017

Lisa Gosiaco is a support member for RCWP in the Western Region. She is a Certified Spiritual Director and works in non-profit administration.


Kathleen Bellefeuille-Rice
Womanpriest 2014

Kathleen Bellefeuille-Rice has felt called to the priesthood since she was seven years old. She received her early formation in radical Catholicism from being a Catholic Worker, from working in her large vegetable garden, and from raising her two children. Years of training as a catechist, specializing in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, strengthened her love of scripture, liturgy, sacraments, and celebration. In 2013 she received her Masters in Religious Education from Graduate Theological Foundation. Currently, she is with Holy Wisdom Inclusive Catholic Community in Olympia, WA. She spends her free time doing foot care with the homeless, cooking dinners at a local soup kitchen, and hanging out with her husband Dave.


Donna Marie Johnson-Smith
Deacon 2021


Donna Marie Johnson-Smith entered the religious community of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia at the age of 19, her first response to her sense of call to serve.  During the next 15 years, she completed her undergraduate degree and went on to receive her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University.  She ministered in a number of settings throughout the Northwest, until she felt she no longer belonged in religious life.

Donna worked for Catholic Community Services in Tacoma, WA, for the next 8 years, from 1985 to 1993, when she returned to school for a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.  She met her life-partner, Joy, in 1987 and was in this loving relationship until Joy’s death in 2014.  After receiving her doctorate, she opened a private practice in Elma, WA, and spent the next 10 years working with individuals, families, and sexually abused women.  She then went on to work for the next 10 years in the Washington State Prison System with incarcerated men, retiring in 2017.

Shortly after retirement, Donna was introduced to the Roman Catholic Womenpriests by Diane Whalen.  She became a member of Holy Wisdom Inclusive Catholic Community in Lacey, Washington, where both Diane and Kathleen Bellefeiulle Rice served as priests.  It was not long before she again felt the call to serve the people of God through ordination with RCWP.  In 201

9 she met her wife-to-be, Janis Johnson, who was a retired Episcopal priest.  Janis was very supportive of her efforts toward ordination.  They were married on September 13, 2020.

Donna completed her Master of Theology from Global Ministries University.  She was ordained a Deacon on May 2, 2021 and continues on her journey to priesthood.  She hopes to be of service to Holy Wisdom Community, and to find a way to reach out to the LGBTQ Community, offering a safe place to worship and explore their rightful place amongst the people of God.


Diane Smith Whalen
Womanpriest 2010

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



  Regina Nicolosi
Womanpriest 2006
Bishop 2009
(Retired Bishop 2014)
RIP 12-19-2018

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.